Lincolnshire Signs On Another –

In a move that continues its consolidation play in the sign and display industry, Lincolnshire Management has acquired Transworld Signs through its $300 million Lincolnshire Equity Fund II, for an undisclosed amount.

Transworld is a manufacturer of exterior and interior signs. Among its client base are the U.S. Postal Service and Shell.

The Transworld deal does not mark Lincolnshire’s debut investment in the sign industry. In October, Lincolnshire acquired Fallon Luminous Products and Visual Products Corp., and subsequently grouped them into a new company called Fallon Visual Products. Combined, the companies with generate about $80 million in revenue, said Jeff Muti, a managing director at New York-based Lincolnshire. (Fallon Visual Products generated approximately $60 million in combined revenue for 1999.)

Fallon Luminous Products manufactures shippable neon lighting products for the advertising, retail and decorative markets. Visual Products manufactures exterior and interior signs that are used for brand identification of retail outlets, including Sam’s Club, Carl’s Jr./Hardees and Jiffy Lube.

As for Transworld, the strategy is “to provide customers (i.e., retailers) with the capability to use one supplier. They want to deal with fewer vendors,” Muti said.

He said acquiring Transworld gives Lincolnshire more physical capacity to service larger companies.

He went on to say that the sign and display industry is “still a fragmented market,” and that his firm “is looking for companies with strong product offerings.”

And it is today’s retailer that is driving manufacturer consolidation, said Muti, who added this recent acquisition is part of Lincolnshire’s consolidation effort already in place and not a new platform.

Lincolnshire has actually been involved in the sign and display industry since 1997 when, through its first fund, the firm acquired Gordon Sign Co. Lincolnshire completed the add-on acquisition of Signage in 1999, and sold the entity to its second fund this year, placing it under the Fallon Visual Products umbrella.

Muti said his firm sees “multiple opportunities for exits,” not only in the sign industry, but also in lighting and image management.