The Branford Team Has Received Many Industry Awards

  • 2020 M&A Advisor’s 11th Annual Emerging Leaders Award – Ceon Francis
  • 2020 Global M&A Network Rising Star Dealmaker – Ceon Francis
  • 2019 M&A Private Equity International Deal of the Year ($10-100 million)
  • 2012 M&A Deal of the Year ($50-75 million)
  • 2010 M&A Deal ($30-50 million)
  • 2010 M&A Environmental Deal of the Year (up to $100 million)
  • 2001-2010 M&A Deal of the Decade ($30-50 million)

Highlights

May 15, 2024

Eric R. Korsten Rejoins Branford Castle Partners

NEW YORK, May 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Branford Castle Partners today announced that Eric R. Korsten is rejoining the firm in the role of Senior Managing Director and Investment Committee Member.

John S. Castle, President and CEO, said, “Eric is a proven leader in private equity, and we are delighted that he has returned to Branford. We welcome Eric back with open arms and look forward to working closely with him.”

Mr. Korsten has been in the middle-market private equity industry for close to 20 years, including over a decade at Branford Castle. Korsten has spent that time identifying, investing in, advising and growing middle-market companies, and has deep relationships across the private equity industry.

When asked for the reason for his return to Branford Castle, Korsten said, “I like the people whom I have known for decades. I like the work environment, which is always warm, welcoming and focused on outstanding investment performance. And, most of all, I have long admired and respected the firm’s high standards of professional excellence. In short, I’m very happy to be home again,” he declared.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor focusing on lower-middle-market investments, with a more than 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with up to $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products, business services, and logistics.

October 12, 2023

Branford Rides the Tide! Fund II Invests in Leading Marina Services Business

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Branford Castle Partners, the New York City and Boca Raton, FL-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate Branford Castle Partners II, L.P. has made a strategic investment in Marine Floats, a specialty marine contractor providing environmental and regulatory advisory services, marina and floating dock design, construction and installation services, for commercial and residential customers in the Pacific Northwest. Marine Floats is the fifth portfolio company for Branford’s second fund, which had its final close in 2021.

Based in Tacoma, Washington, Marine Floats designs, secures necessary permits for, and manufactures custom marinas, dock systems, covered moorage, and other waterfront structures in compliance with a rigorous regulatory environment. The Company’s comprehensive model provides start-to-finish services for recreational marine-oriented construction projects, including biological evaluations, consulting, engineering, management of federal, state and local permitting processes, project design and management, fabrication and installation. The Company was founded in 1976 and serves residential and commercial customers including marinas, yacht clubs, ports and industrial facilities in both salt and fresh water.

Branford has teamed up with existing Owner and President Logan Brown to help the Company grow. Mr. Brown noted, “In partnership with Branford Castle, we are excited to expand our offerings and our reach, to provide even more high-quality services to our customers.”

“The Branford team looks forward to partnering with Logan to continue to expand the breadth and reach of Marine Floats’ services. We believe the Company’s unique, integrated engineering and environmental consulting expertise delivers exceptional value to its customers,” said Marilyn Yang, Principal.

“Branford and its affiliates have been successful investors in specialty marine businesses for decades, and we’re eager to support Marine Floats on its voyage,” said David Castle, Managing Partner.

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel Akerman LLP. Logan Brown was advised by Alexander Hutton, and by legal counsel K&L Gates. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor focusing on lower-middle-market investments, with a more than 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with up to $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products, business services, and logistics.

January 30, 2023

Branford Seals the Deal!
Fund II Invests in Leading Pipeline Safety Supplier

New York City / January 30, 2023 – Branford Castle Partners, the New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate Branford Castle Partners II, L.P. has acquired GPT Industries, a leading manufacturer of critical pipeline sealing and electrical isolation products. GPT is the fourth platform acquisition for Branford’s second fund, which was closed in 2021.

Based in Denver, Colorado, GPT produces critical-service flange isolation kits (FIKs) and monolithic isolation joints (MIJs) for oil, natural gas, and water pipeline applications globally. Prior to Branford’s acquisition, GPT was an operating division of EnPro Industries (NYSE:NPO). GPT’s patented, highly engineered products help prevent the leading causes of pipeline failures and protect against potential explosions, fires and pollution. GPT’s “Pikotek“ brand is known as the pioneer of the flange isolation gasket industry and is recognized as the original brand to have introduced FIKs to the broader market in the 1980s.

Branford has teamed up with existing management, including President Darin Lane, to build the newly independent company.

“We are excited to partner with Darin and the GPT leadership team and help them expand their products into new markets and geographies. We believe the Company’s technological leadership and established reputation of quality and reliability makes it well-positioned for future growth,“ said David Castle, Managing Partner.

“We are also excited to support GPT as they continue to develop new innovative products and solutions to enhance pipeline safety,“ said Marilyn Yang, Vice President.

“We look forward to our next stage of growth in partnership with Branford Castle,“ said Darin Lane. “With Branford’s support, we are ready to hit the ground running with our growth initiatives.“

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. Seller EnPro Industries was advised on the sell-side by Capstone Partners, and its legal counsel, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, PA. Capital Southwest Corporation and IBC Funds are providing the debt financing for the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor focusing on lower-middle-market investments, with a more than 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products, business services and logistics.

June 2, 2022

Branford Castle Carves Handi Quilter from Blue Point’s Premier Needle Arts

The sale to Branford Castle adds to Handi Quilters private equity lineage and follows ownership by Blue Point, High Road, Hanover Partners and Tuckerman Capital

By John McNulty, June 23, 2022 – Branford Castle has acquired Handi Quilter, a manufacturer and designer of quilting machines, from Premier Needle Arts, a portfolio company of Blue Point Capital.

Handi Quilter sells both branded and private label longarm quilting machines. The company also produces quilting tables and frames as well as quilting accessories including replacement parts, scissors, rulers, templates and patterns.

Read the full article in Private Equity Professional.

Download the full article as a PDF.

June 2, 2022

Branford Makes a Blanket Statement!

Fund II Invests in Market-Leading Quilting Machine Company

New York City / June 2, 2022 – Branford Castle Partners, the New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate Branford Castle Partners II, L.P. has acquired Handi Quilter, the world’s leading manufacturer and designer of longarm quilting machines, products, and associated software, from Premier Needle Arts, a platform of leading brands in consumable crafts that are sold primarily direct to consumer. Handi Quilter is the third platform acquisition for Branford’s second fund which was closed in 2021. As a result of the investment, roughly 30% of Fund II has been allocated.

Branford Castle Partners I, L.P. which closed in 2016 and has completed its platform investing, is a top quartile fund for its vintage year, as measured by Preqin, with Gross IRR’s of 47% and Net of 30%.

Based in North Salt Lake , UT, Handi Quilter, has been providing leading consumer friendly technology and feature-rich machines and products to the quilting market for 25 years. Dedicated to designing, educating and inspiring the more than 15 million quilting enthusiasts worldwide, Handi Quilter is recognized for its world-class education and high-touch consumer engagement in support of its simple to use, feature-rich longarm quilting machines. Handi Quilter machines and technology can be found in more than 1,000 worldwide locations and strengthens the quilting industry by utilizing and partnering with local independent retailers throughout North America, key international distributors worldwide, and OEM partners. Handi Quilter’s diverse product portfolio is focused on the passionate, dedicated quilt maker, with the company providing industry leading support through a vibrant e-commerce platform, hundreds of local consumer events annually, and also through sponsoring and participating at national and international consumer shows, including providing machines for educational classrooms.

Branford has teamed up with existing management including CEO Mark Hyland, and President & COO Darren Denning, who will be investing in the transaction as well.

“We are excited to partner with Mark, Darren and the Handi Quilter leadership team, honoring the joy and passion of quilting across the globe. The Company’s position as the leader in the longarm quilting market, along with their customer-oriented focus and approach, make it an exceptional platform for continued growth,” said Vice President, Ceon Francis.

“It is important to find financial partners who have the same core values as Handi Quilter,” said Darren Denning “Branford Castle aligns in every way with the Handi Quilter values and will continue to support and provide resources as Handi Quilter continues its growth in the coming years.”

Mark Hyland, further said, “Every day our team is focused on listening to and working with passionate makers from around the world. This allows us to live up to our founder’s philosophy -“designed by quilters for quilters.” Handi Quilter supports its local retail partners to provide world class education, best of class products, and feature rich technologies, for all quilt makers. Having a partner in Branford Castle that understands the passionate enthusiast market, is critical. We are excited for the next stage of the Handi Quilter journey”.

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. Handi Quilter was advised on the sell-side by Stifel Nicolaus. Apogem Capital is providing senior debt financing and Siguler Guff & Company, LP is providing mezzanine debt financing for the transaction. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor focusing on lower-middle-market investments, with a more than 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products, business services and logistics.

February 2022

Branford Forms New Filtration Platform

Branford’s Clean Solutions Group will consolidate its investments in Fibrix Filtration, acquired in August 2020, and its new acquisition of Americo

By John McNulty, February 9, 2022 – Branford Castle Partners has formed Clean Solutions Group (CSG) as a new platform to consolidate its ownership of Fibrix Filtration, acquired in August 2020, and its new acquisition of Americo Manufacturing Company. Branford acquired Americo from Blue Sage Capital which invested in the company in December 2017 in partnership with the founding Rones family.

Americo is a manufacturer of synthetic and natural fiber floor pads, hand pads, utility pads and floor matting. The company sources one hundred percent of its polyester fiber raw materials from recycled post-consumer and post-industrial waste. The company’s products are sold throughout the United States and worldwide in over 70 countries.

Americo was founded in 1969 as the American Manufacturing Company by Jim Rones. The company changed its name to Americo Manufacturing Company in 1984 and today is headquartered northwest of Atlanta in Acworth, Georgia.

Fibrix Filtration is a manufacturer of nonwoven filtration materials used in HVAC, paint collection, liquid, evaporative cooling, and specialty applications. Fibrix has more than 300 employees and operates 4 facilities – two in both Texas and North Carolina – with headquarters north of Charlotte in Mooresville, North Carolina. Fibrix is led by CEO Keith White who is also the president and CEO of Clean Solutions Group.

“The transition to a greener and cleaner environment is a monumental challenge for this generation,” said Mr. White. “The combination of Fibrix Filtration’s and Americo’s people, technologies, and assets creates a formidable nonwovens manufacturing platform focused on innovative clean solutions for home and work environments using environmentally sustainable practices.”

“We are enthusiastic to be joining Clean Solutions Group as we continue growing our business by delivering innovative, environmentally friendly products with an unparalleled customer experience,” said Lenny Shutzberg, the CEO of Americo. “The combination of these two great companies makes us stronger, more adaptable and better positioned to leverage our resources for sustainable, future growth.”

New York City-based Branford Castle invests in companies that have enterprise values of up to $100 million and EBITDA of less than $15 million. Sectors of interest include consumer products and services, commercial distribution, industrials and specialty manufacturing, business services, and logistics.

Byline Bank and Brookside Capital Partners provided financing to support the buy of Americo by Clean Solutions Group.

Visit Private Equity Professional for this article on their website.

October 2021

Branford Castle gallops ahead with winning transaction!

New York, October 1, 2021 – Branford Castle Partners announced that it has completed the sale of its portfolio company Pulse Veterinary Technologies to Zomedica Corp., for $70.9 million in an all-cash transaction.

PulseVet is the leading global manufacturer and supplier of veterinary shock wave therapy systems, stimulating enhanced healing of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, primarily for the performance horse market. The company is based in Alpharetta, GA, and sells worldwide. Notably, PulseVet recently launched a new companion-animal device, optimized for the treatment needs of dogs and cats. This takes the company’s growth prospects substantially beyond its historic equine market.

During Branford’s two-year ownership, PulseVet grew significantly via organic growth and two acquisitions. The first acquisition was NeoPulse, a leading Swiss-based shock wave therapy device manufacturer. The second acquisition brought in-house North American distribution of the NeoPulse line. During the past two years, PulseVet has also established advisory boards related to equine and small animal medicine, each with key opinion leaders in PulseVet’s industry.

“We greatly value the excellent partnership that we had with Branford,” said Adrian Lock, Founder and CEO of PulseVet. “It was a great “ride” and they were instrumental in helping us grow to our fullest potential, well beyond our initial expectations.”

Akerman LLP provided legal services and Cowen provided investment banking services to PulseVet.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor with a more than 30-year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products and services, commercial distribution, business services and logistics.

April 2021

Branford Castle Cannot Tell a Lie:
Fund II Invests in Market-Leading Lie Detection Company

New York, April 7, 2021 – Branford Castle Partners, LP, a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate has purchased Lafayette Instrument, manufacturer of scientific instruments, including their market-leading polygraph systems, as well as a suite of proprietary neuroscience equipment.

Based in Lafayette, IN, the Company sells its polygraph products to most federal law enforcement and government security agencies, as well as to state and local law enforcement agencies. Lafayette’s neuroscience equipment is sold to neuroscience research laboratories at the most prestigious universities and research institutes around the globe.

Branford is joining forces with existing management, including CEO Jennifer Rider, who is the current owner and who will be investing in the transaction as well. This investment represents the second transaction for Branford Castle Fund II.

“We are pleased to work once again with Byline Sponsor Finance, a division of Byline Bank, which is providing senior debt financing, and Brookside Capital Partners, which is providing mezzanine debt financing for this transaction,” said Vice President, Ceon Francis.

Jennifer Rider, CEO, further said, “Steve and I are proud of our family’s leadership of Lafayette over the last 25 years. We are excited about this new chapter of the Company’s development as we work with Branford Castle to provide the best service to our customers and achieve new levels of growth.”

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. Lafayette Instrument was advised on the sell-side by Dinan Capital Advisors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor focusing on lower-middle-market investments, with a more than 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, business services and logistics.

Read more in Private Equity Professional.

January 2021

Branford Castle Shocks Equine Veterinary World with New Acquisition

New York, January 28, 2021 – Branford Castle, a New York-based private equity company, today announced that its portfolio company, Pulse Veterinary Technologies LLC (PulseVet), has acquired NeoPulse GmbH from Switalis, a leading Switzerland-based shock wave therapy device manufacturer.

PulseVet (https://www.pulsevet.com/) is the leading United States manufacturer and supplier of veterinary shock wave therapy systems. Their ProPulse and previous generation VersaTron systems are the most peer-reviewed, clinically validated veterinary shock wave systems available and are utilized in most veterinary teaching hospitals. NeoPulse, which makes the NeoVet family of shock wave devices, also has an established position in various markets globally.

“The combination of the two companies extends our international reach, our research and development capabilities, and our ability to better serve our veterinarian customers and their clients and patients around the world,” said Adrian Lock, Founder and CEO of PulseVet. “Together with PulseVet’s recent regulatory approval for ProPulse use in Japan, we have created a better platform for supporting scientific research and the overall positive impact of shock wave therapy in the equestrian community and other veterinary markets.”

PulseVet is the official shock wave therapy supplier of the US Equestrian Team veterinarians and a sponsor of the National Cutting Horse Association, the National Snaffle Bit Association, and most recently the National Reined Cow Horse Association. It is supported by an Equine Advisory Board (https://www.pulsevet.com/equine-advisory-board/) of prominent equine veterinarians.

“PulseVet and NeoPulse are an excellent strategic fit and complete the electro-hydraulic shock wave family with the acquisition of the NeoVet Brand,” said Ralph Brinkmann, founder and CEO of Switalis.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Akerman LLP provided legal services. Siguler Guff provided follow-on credit support for the transaction.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor with a more than 30-year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products and services, commercial distribution, business services and logistics.

December 2020

Ceon Francis of Branford Castle Recognized as a Private Equity Rising Star

December 9, 2020 – Branford Castle Partners is pleased to announce that its colleague, Ceon Francis, has been recognized as one of 2020’s Rising Star Dealmakers by the Global M&A Network. Additionally, he has been selected as one of the winners of the M&A Advisor’s 11th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards.

“Ceon Francis’s recent promotion to Vice President, along with winning these prestigious awards, are clear acknowledgments of his status as a rising star in the private equity industry,” said Branford Castle CEO, John S. Castle. “In a relatively short period of time, Ceon has become an integral part of the Branford Castle team.”

Mr. Francis joined Branford Castle as an Associate in 2018 and is actively involved in the sourcing, analysis and execution of new portfolio company investments. Additionally, he is engaged in Branford’s fundraising efforts and has played an important role in the firm’s ongoing growth over the past few years. Mr. Francis received his B.A. in Economics from Wesleyan University and earned an M.B.A. from ESSEC Business School in France. He started his career in management consulting before transitioning to Macy’s, where he was a Director focused on Strategy & Marketing.

About Branford Castle Partners

Branford Castle is a private market investor with a more than 30-year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products and services, commercial distribution, business services and logistics.

About Global M&A Network

It recognizes brilliant and exceptional young dealmakers from the private equity, M&A and restructuring industries for their talents for closing value creating transactions from the North and South Americas. The award validates their individual success as well as taking on the leadership role for years to come.

About M&A Advisor

The M&A Advisor was founded in 1998 to offer insights and intelligence on M&A activities. Over the
past 22 years it has established the premier global network of M&A, Turnaround and
Finance professionals.

November 2020

Drew Foam Switches Sponsors

Wynnchurch Capital has acquired Drew Foam, a maker of
expanded polystyrene foam products, from Branford Castle.

Click here to read the full article.

November 2020

Branford Castle Partners Sells Drew Foam

(Drew) Foam rises to the top for Branford!

NEW YORK, Nov. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Branford Castle Partners has sold its portfolio company Drew Foam to Wynnchurch Capital. Drew is the Southeast’s leading custom fabricator of expanded polystyrene foam used in packaging and building products. Acquired in 2018, Drew’s earnings nearly doubled under Branford’s ownership mainly through organic sales growth.

John S. Castle, CEO of Branford, said, “We are delighted with this highly successful investment for Branford and our limited partners.”

“During our partnership with Branford, Drew Foam has achieved the highest record performance in our 50-year history,” said Bill Givens. “We are looking forward to the company’s next chapter with Wynnchurch Capital and capitalizing on further growth opportunities in the market.”

Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC served as financial advisor and Akerman LLP served as legal counsel to Drew Foam. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Branford Castle Partners (https://www.branfordcastle.com/)

Branford Castle is a private market investor with a more than 30-year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products and services, commercial distribution, business services and logistics.

Additional Drew Foam Information (http://www.drewfoam.com/)

Headquartered in Monticello, AR, Drew Foam has manufacturing facilities in Portland, TN, Anderson, SC and Cave Spring, GA and offers a differentiated “Just-In-Time” delivery platform to its customers.

August 2020

Branford Castle buys Fibrix, concluding prolonged process for air filtration company

The private equity firm has clinched its first investment out of Fund II, which held a first close late last year.

Branford Castle Partners has acquired Fibrix Filtration, a filtering component manufacturer that had paused its sale process during March and April at the height of the pandemic.

Click here to read article PDF.

August 2020

A Breath of Fresh Air: Branford Castle Invests in the Air Filtration Sector

First investment for Branford Castle Fund II

NEW YORK, Aug. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Branford Castle Partners, LP, a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate has purchased Fibrix Filtration, a leading provider of specialized high loft and pleat media air filtration products. The Company sells its products to many of the large, brand name filter manufacturers throughout the United States. Branford is teaming up with existing management including CEO Keith White, who is one of the current owners and who will be investing in the transaction as well. This investment represents the first transaction for Branford Castle Fund II, which had a first close in late 2019.

Based in Charlotte, NC, Fibrix Filtration has been manufacturing air filtration media products for over 50 years. With four facilities located in North Carolina and Texas, the Company’s products are pivotal in optimizing the performance of commercial and industrial HVAC systems, leading to enhanced system efficiency, lower energy costs and improved air quality. Fibrix’s air filtration media products are designed to meet specific technical standards related to particle capture, pressure drop and dust collection.

“We are excited about the Fibrix opportunity and believe the company is well-positioned to grow through a number of organic initiatives under the direction of its excellent management team,” said Branford Senior Associate, Ceon Francis. “We are especially pleased to work on this investment with Byline Sponsor Finance, a division of Byline Bank, which is providing senior debt financing, and Brookside Mezzanine Partners, which is providing mezzanine debt financing.”

Keith White, CEO, further said, “The team and I are very proud of all that we’ve accomplished over the last few years at Fibrix. We look forward to working closely with our partners at Branford Castle in the next stage of growth of our business.”

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. Fibrix was advised by Alantra LLC and Adams & Reese provided legal counsel to the sellers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Branford Castle Partners (https://www.branfordcastle.com/)
Branford Castle is a private market investor focusing on lower-middle-market investments, with a more than 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers. Branford has particular expertise in industrials/specialty manufacturing, consumer products, business services and logistics.

March 2020

Fancy cars, dream vacations: GPs get creative rewarding advisers for finding great deals

PE firms like Branford Castle, Trivest ans Shoreline Equity entice buy-side advisors with unique incentives ranging from airline points to Mercedes Benzes.

Click here to read article PDF.

December 2019

Castle Harlan and Branford Castle Looking Great

Castle Harlan and Branford Castle Partners have acquired Sunless, a maker of spray tanning equipment and supplies, from The Riverside Company which acquired the company in July 2011.

Sunless is a manufacturer of spray tanning booths, airbrush equipment, proprietary tanning solutions, and professional-grade retail products used in the sunless tanning segment of the indoor tanning industry. Company-owned brands include MysticTan, VersaSpa and Norvell.

Sunless’ booths are installed in thousands of tanning salons, fitness clubs, beauty salons and other retail channels, and are responsible for more than 12 million spray tans per year. The company is also a leader in handheld spray tanning equipment and solutions used by airbrush artists to manually apply full-body spray tans.

Sunless is headquartered in Macedonia, OH (www.sunlessinc.com). “Spray tanning is quick, easy, and allows people to look awesome,” said John S. Castle, president and CEO of Branford Castle. “Branford’s deal team has been looking especially great since due diligence started. Further, we are very excited to work closely with the company’s customers to best address their needs and grow the industry as a whole.”

New York-based Branford Castle invests in companies that have enterprise values of up to $100 million and have from $1.5 million to $15 million of EBITDA. Sectors of interest include industrials, consumer goods & services and transportation & logistics industries. Between its founding in 1986 (by John K. Castle who also founded Castle Harlan) to 2016, Branford Castle operated as a family office. In October 2016, Branford Castle held a final close of its first fund that was open to outside investors and the investment in Sunless is the eleventh transaction for this fund.

In July 2016, Branford Castle invested in a similar company to Sunless when it acquired Earthlite, a Vista, CA-based manufacturer of massage tables, beauty and wellness equipment, supplies and accessories, oils and creams, manicure and pedicure equipment. The company’s most prominent products are its massage tables, which have an estimated 20% global market share.
“Sunless is an excellent opportunity to acquire the leader in a growing and recurring consumer market,” said Eric Schwartz, a managing director of Castle Harlan. “Demand for spray tanning is strong. It is amazing how quickly consumers who try spray tanning become regular adopters, and we expect this trend to continue in the coming years.”

Castle Harlan makes control investments in middle-market companies in North America, Europe and Australia. The firm has raised eight private equity funds – five in the United States and three in Australia – totaling more than $6 billion in capital commitments. Castle Harlan was founded in 1987 and is based in New York.

The Riverside Company, the seller of Sunless, is a global private equity firm focused on investing in and acquiring growing businesses valued at up to $400 million. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 600 transactions and its portfolio includes more than 90 companies. The firm is headquartered in New York.

Click here for the article in Private Equity Professional.

November 2019

Branford Castle Rumbles Along

Announces Sale of Surface Preparation Technologies

New York, November 14 – Branford Castle Partners has sold its portfolio company Surface Preparation Technologies (“SPT”) to Dominus Capital. SPT is the nation’s number one provider of rumble strips and related roadway safety services. SPT has installed hundreds of thousands of miles of rumble strips, in almost every state, helping to keep motorists safely on the road and preventing head-on collisions. Branford acquired SPT in February of 2017. During Branford’s ownership period, SPT significantly expanded its geographic reach and fleet of proprietary equipment. In June of 2018, SPT acquired the rumble strip division of Diamond Surface Inc., which dramatically expanded its scale and ability to service customers on a national basis.

David Castle, Managing Partner for Branford, said, “We are delighted with the outcome. We believe SPT has been a highly successful investment for Branford and its limited partners.”

“In partnership with Branford, SPT has grown its operations to become a true national service provider. We are very much looking forward to our next chapter with Dominus Capital, where we will leverage our capabilities and fleet for further growth both organically and through acquisitions in the US and beyond,” said Steve Burke, President & CEO of SPT.

Stifel served as financial advisor to SPT. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

September 2019

Branford Castle Partners hits stride with acquisition of Pulse Veterinary Technologies, an industry-leading provider of products to the global horse and house pet healthcare markets

12th Acquisition for 2016 Vintage Fund

New York, September 9th – Branford Castle Partners, a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced the acquisition of Pulse Veterinary Technologies, LLC. This is the twelfth acquisition overall for Branford’s fund, which closed in late 2016, and its eighth platform investment.

Headquartered in Alpharetta, GA, with subsidiary operations in Japan, PulseVet is the veterinary industry’s leading provider of shock wave therapy devices.

Founded in 2009, PulseVet has a large installed base of equipment worldwide, and serves most leading equine veterinarians in North America plus many veterinary schools.

“With three great platform acquisitions since August 1 – a Triple Crown if you will – we have completed platform investing from our current fund at a gallop,” said David A. Castle, Managing Partner of Branford Castle Partners.

PulseVet is led by CEO Adrian Lock, a 25-plus-year industry veteran. He is supported by a strong team of tenured executive leaders. “We are excited to partner with Branford to accelerate new geographic and customer expansion and potential acquisitions,” said Lock.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

August 2019

Branford Castle Delivers Fresh Air with a Deal for ABC Industries, a Leading Ventilation and Technical Fabrics Company

10th Acquisition for 2016 Vintage Fund

New York, August 5th – Branford Castle Partners, LP (“Branford Castle”), a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced the acquisition of ABC Industries, Inc. This is the 10th transaction overall for Branford Castle’s fund, which closed in late 2016, and its sixth platform investment.

Headquartered in Warsaw, IN, ABC is a niche market leading manufacturer and distributor of high-quality flexible ventilation solutions and technical fabrics. Its products are essential for industrial ventilation, industrial textiles, underground mining and tunneling. While highly durable, its products are often replaced regularly.

ABC owns and operates two manufacturing plants, one in Warsaw, IN, and the other in Grand Junction, CO, that are strategically located to provide customers with optimal service. Founded in 1926, ABC’s customers have, in many cases, been with the company for decades. Its customers are often leaders within their respective industries.

“We are continuing our rapid pace of acquisitions for the fund,” said David A. Castle, Managing Partner of Branford Castle. “We look forward to partnering with management on their next phase of growth.”

The company is led by CEO Steven Fleagle, a 40-plus year industry veteran. He is supported by a strong team of tenured executive leaders. “We are excited to partner with Branford Castle to accelerate new product development, production and process efficiencies, geographic and customer expansion and potential acquisitions,” said Fleagle.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

7/23/18

Branford Castle Rumbles Again, Carving Out the Rumble Strip Division of Diamond Surface

Strengthens Its Leading Position As A Highway Safety Services Provider

New York, July 23 – Branford Castle Partners, the New York private equity firm, through its portfolio company Surface Preparation Technologies (SPT), has purchased the rumble-strip division of Diamond Surface, Inc.

These personnel and proprietary assets will be integrated with SPT’s existing operations under the ongoing leadership of SPT’s President and CEO, Steve Burke. SPT is the nation’s number one provider of rumble strips and related roadway safety services. SPT has cut over 175,000 miles of rumble strips, in almost every state, combating lane drift-off and preventing innumerable head-on highway crashes. The combined operations will significantly enhance national equipment availability and responsiveness. In conjunction with the acquisition, SPT completed a full recapitalization.

Proprietary equipment enables SPT to perform high-speed installation of these life-saving safety devices on concrete or asphalt roadways. Rumble strips are a proven, cost-efficient means to keep travelers safer by reducing crossover risks and run-off traffic accidents. The combined SPT business also offers a unique, quieter “sinus” rumble strip option for certain areas where roadside noise may be a concern. In the world of autonomous-friendly infrastructure, rumble strips also provide valuable functionality – both for high detection by lane departure technology and as a system fail-safe due to the near-permanence of the rumble strip.

Terms of the current transaction were not disclosed.

6/29/18

Branford Castle Invests in Titan Production Equipment

5th Platform Transaction For Late 2016 Vintage Fund

NEW YORK, June 29 – Branford Castle Partners, the New York private equity firm, has made a significant investment in Titan Production Equipment, a leading manufacturer of oil and gas production equipment. Titan is a carve-out of the North American oil and gas production equipment assets of Exterran Corp. (NYSE: EXTN)

Titan is the fifth platform acquisition for the Branford Castle Fund, which had its final close in October 2016. “While we have been investing for 30 years, Branford has grown rapidly since forming our first institutional fund a little over a year ago,” said John S. Castle, President and CEO of Branford Castle Partners. “We are committed to generating superior returns for our investors by making disciplined investments and working alongside management teams to further develop great companies.”

Titan is a market leader in the design, engineering and manufacturing of oil and gas production equipment used to separate, process and treat hydrocarbon streams at the wellhead, gathering and processing stages of production. Former and current managers of Titan’s operations under Exterran, led by CEO Chris Werner and Senior Vice President Michael Collins, are investors in Titan and will operate the new business going forward. Titan is differentiated by its strong in-house design and engineering capabilities and its ability to produce and deliver high volumes of large, complex and customized products.

“Titan is Branford’s second platform acquisition this month. We continue to move rapidly to deploy investors’ capital to grow our portfolio of dynamic companies,” said David Castle, Managing Partner of Branford Castle Partners. “Titan is a particularly attractive investment because of the recent recovery of North American oil and gas drilling activity and the need for Titan’s equipment in its markets. As part of the transaction, Titan will become Exterran’s preferred supplier of production equipment for its U.S. and Canadian operations.”

Werner said, “Exterran’s production business developed a powerful market reputation over the years, largely because of the strong local workforce in Columbus, Texas. We are going to maintain this continuity in both labor and experience as the business escalates production.”

The purchase of Titan follows Branford’s acquisition of:

  • Drew Foam Companies, Inc., a leading provider of custom-fabricated expanded polystyrene foam (“EPS”) products serving the packaging, building products and consumer end-markets, primarily in the Southeastern United States;
  • Vitrek, a leading manufacturer of sophisticated electrical safety test and measurement equipment;
  • Surface Preparation Technologies, the leader in cutting rumble strips for roadway safety;
  • Earthlite Massage Tables, the world’s No. 1 brand of products for the spa, massage and wellness industries; and
  • Continuum Foot Spas, LLC, a leader in the premium pedicure chair market and a highly complementary bolt-on acquisition for Earthlite.

Terms of the Titan transaction were not disclosed. Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York private equity and investment firm, arranged and managed the transaction, which was first announced in April 2018.

6/4/18

Branford Castle Acquires Drew Foam Companies, Inc.

Southeast regional leading fabricator of foam packaging and building products

New York, June 4, 2018 – Branford Castle, a New York-based private equity firm, today announced the acquisition of Drew Foam Companies, Inc., a leading provider of custom-fabricated expanded polystyrene foam (“EPS”) products serving the packaging, building products and consumer end-markets, primarily in the Southeastern United States. The acquisition is the 5th for the Branford Castle Fund which had its final close in late 2016.

Headquartered in Monticello, Arkansas, the company has three operating facilities, in Monticello, Portland, Tennessee, and Anderson, South Carolina. The company, founded in 1965, offers quick turnaround for customers who often demand just-in-time (“JIT”) delivery for products. Most competing EPS suppliers require long production (high-volume) runs to create manufacturing efficiencies. Drew offers customers flexibility. It processes more than 100 different orders per day, with an estimated 80% of its orders manufactured and shipped on company trucks within 24 hours of receipt and 95% shipped within 48 hours. Drew has more than 700 customers, with no single customer accounting for more than 5% of sales, and its customer retention rate is in excess of 97%.

“Drew’s logistical capabilities and ability to deliver low-volume custom products on a just-in-time basis are unique competitive advantages,” said John S. Castle, President and CEO, of Branford Castle Partners. “We are looking forward to enhancing the company’s packaging-industry growth, extending its customer base, innovating new products and entering new regions.”

The purchase of Drew follows Branford’s acquisition of Vitrek, a leading manufacturer of sophisticated electrical safety test and measurement equipment; Surface Preparation Technologies, the leader in cutting rumble strips for roadway safety; Earthlite Massage Tables, the world’s No. 1 brand of products for the spa, massage and wellness industries; and Continuum Foot Spas, LLC, a leader in the premium pedicure chair market and a highly complementary bolt-on acquisition for Earthlite.

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. TCF Capital Funding provided senior debt financing and Siguler Guff & Company, LP provided mezzanine debt financing and made an equity co-investment for the transaction.

1/9/18

Branford Castle Acquires Vitrek, LLC

New York, January 9, 2018 – Branford Castle, a New York-based private equity firm, today announced the acquisition of Vitrek, LLC, a leading manufacturer of highly sophisticated electrical safety test and measurement equipment based near San Diego, CA. The acquisition is the fourth for its fund that closed in late 2016.

“We are moving rapidly to deploy our investors’ capital, and Vitrek represents an exciting growth opportunity,” said David Castle, Managing Partner of Branford Castle Partners. “We are especially pleased to be partnering again with Don Millstein, who is taking over as Operating Executive and Chairman of Vitrek. Don previously partnered with Branford Castle as President of E-Mon, a leading manufacturer of electrical sub-metering equipment that Branford sold for an 11x return.”

The transaction follows Branford’s acquisition of Surface Preparation Technologies, the United States’ leader in cutting rumble strips for roadway safety, Earthlite Massage Tables, the world’s No. 1 brand of products for the spa, massage and wellness industries, and Continuum Foot Spas, LLC, a leader in the premium pedicure chair market and a highly complementary bolt-on acquisition for Earthlite.

Vitrek, founded in 1990, is known for its line of high potential (hipot) testers, high voltage meters and power analyzers. These products measure electrical safety, power consumption, and other characteristics of electricity in the context of the development, testing and manufacture of a wide variety of consumer and industrial products. Vitrek has significant US market share with most of its competitors manufacturing overseas.

Kevin Clark, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vitrek, said the company serves a diverse group of customers, including premier brands in the electrical, electronics, medical, cable, power, lighting and consumer appliance sectors. “Customers use our equipment to test their electrical products during the development stage and also in mass production. Vitrek’s power analyzers aid design engineers in improving the power efficiency of their products. At the mass production stage, Vitrek’s electrical safety testers confirm that end-users will be protected from “electrical shock” when using that product,” he said.

Millstein has created a strategic plan to grow Vitrek through multiple avenues. “We plan to establish a comprehensive sales and marketing program to begin to access or further penetrate growth markets and to formalize OEM program opportunities,” he said. “We also want to expand the product line and launch an electronic component distribution program.” Millstein will take over as CEO when Clark retires after an appropriate transition period.

Led by John S. Castle and David Castle, Branford Castle is a recently formed lower-middle market investment fund. Between 1986 and 2016, Branford operated as an award-winning family office. Building from its significant investment successes, Branford recently raised its first fund open to outside investors. With each new investment, Branford builds on its 30+ year history of helping to grow businesses. The firm typically makes control investments in companies with less than $15 million of EBITDA and a leadership position in a niche industry. Branford is particularly keen on the strong relationships it develops with its portfolio company managers.

Branford has particular expertise in consumer products and services, commercial distribution, business services and logistics. Branford also brings the expertise from its affiliation with the management at the leading middle-market investment firm Castle Harlan.

For more information, contact us.

9/14/17

Branford Castle’s Portfolio Company Earthlite Acquires Continuum Footspas

New York, September 11, 2017 – Branford Castle Partners, LP (“Branford Castle”), a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its portfolio company, Earthlite LLC (“Earthlite”), has acquired Continuum Footspas, LLC (“Continuum”) from Joe Galati and the other founders of the company.

Based in New Berlin, WI, Continuum is a leader in the premium pedicure chair market. The Company’s end-customers include many international luxury hotel chains and high-end day spas. Continuum was founded by the inventors of the modern pedicure chair.

“We are delighted to add this leading brand to Earthlite’s already strong pedicure product offering,” said Earthlite CEO, Jim Chenevey. “We have long admired Continuum’s quality products and reputation for excellent service, and look forward to continuing to build this great brand.”

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. TCF Capital Funding provided financing for the transaction, with the company’s mezzanine lender Siguler Guff supporting the transaction as well. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

7/11/17

Lunch with John S. Castle

Published in PE HUB WIRE

Salad dominated my first lunch with John S. Castle, a managing partner of Branford Castle Partners. “The lines are out the door,” said Castle, who had to push his way through a crowd of people to meet me.

Why were a group of well-dressed executives queued up outside in the heat Monday? To buy a salad. I won’t disclose which fast food chain it was. Castle and I tallied up the various salad-related establishments that are seemingly gobbling up Manhattan. There’s Just Salad, sweetgreen, Essen Slow Fast Food and, of course, Chop’t. I confessed I’m a Just Salad member.

Castle, who said he has no vested interest in salad, said it was Chop’t that started the craze. He wondered if the lines outside were really just a matter of getting customers out the door faster. “It’s clear that [Chop’t] created a real category here. This is just an observation,” he said.

For lunch, since we were focused on it, we both had chopped salads (but not from Chop’t). We finally talked about what we were meant to discuss: Branford Castle Partners, the former family office that chose in 2015 to morph into a private equity firm. Castle, who joined in 2002, said the firm decided to make the switch because it “wanted more.”

The GP combined its own money, along with family office and institutional funding, to raise its first pool. In October, Branford Castle Partners announced the final close of its $116 million debut fund. “We wanted to take the next step,” Castle said of the switch to PE. “We wanted more.”

The lower-middle-market PE firm, a generalist investor, has done two deals so far: Surface Preparation Technologies in February and Earthlite Massage Tables last year. Branford Castle Partners will invest up to $20 million to $25 million in companies with EBITDA between $1.5 million and $15 million.

The biggest difference between a family office and a PE firm? You have to put money to work, said Castle.

Castle wouldn’t say if he was interested in investing in a salad chain.

2/16/17

Branford Castle Acquires Surface Preparation Technologies

The nation’s leading provider of rumble strips

Branford Castle Partners, L.P. (“Branford Castle”), a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate has purchased Surface Preparation Technologies, LLC (“SPT”), the nation’s leading provider of rumble strips and related roadway safety services. The existing SPT management team invested in the transaction alongside Branford Castle’s affiliate Fund and will continue to lead the company.

“Rumble strips are vital highway and roadway safety features that alert inattentive drivers of potential danger, and are a proven and cost-efficient measure to keep travelers safer by reducing the risks of crossover and run-off traffic accidents,” said Steve Burke, CEO of SPT.

Based in Mechanicsburg, PA, SPT has garnered its leading market position through a unique combination of roadway infrastructure expertise and its extensive fleet of proprietary equipment. SPT designs and manufactures its high-performance, patented rumble strip machines, or “mills”. SPT’s mills run significantly faster and are more durable than competitors’ machines. (www.rumblestrips.com)

The Company, founded in 1988, is considered a pioneer in the roadway safety industry and has installed more than 150,000 miles of rumble strips across 49 states. The ultimate customer for SPT’s services is typically a state’s Department of Transportation.

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

7/26/16

Branford Castle Acquires Earthlite Massage Tables

A leading global brand in health and wellness

Branford Castle Partners, LP (“Branford Castle”), a New York City-based private equity firm, today announced that its affiliate has purchased Earthlite Massage Tables (“Earthlite”), a pre-eminent manufacturer and supplier of health and wellness equipment. The sellers were the company’s founders.

The company offers over 300 active SKUs of massage tables, alternative beauty and wellness equipment, supplies and accessories, oils and creams, manicure and pedicure equipment and medical exam equipment. Earthlite serves a diverse customer base of more than 3,700 customers in over 120 countries. The existing Earthlite management team invested in the transaction alongside Branford Castle’s affiliate and will continue to lead the company.

Headquartered in Vista, CA, Earthlite’s most prominent products are its massage tables, which garner 20% global market share. The company has a family of six proprietary brands of massage tables that are among the longest-standing and most-respected in the market, including Living Earth Crafts, Stronglite, Earthlite and Inner Strength. (www.earthlite.com)

Across the company’s wide spectrum of products, end-customers include most leading international hotel chains, many of the leading brands in the fast-growing franchised day spa segment and thousands of individual massage therapists. Earthlite has received American Spa Magazine’s Professional’s Choice Awards in the following distinguished categories: “Favorite Treatment Table Manufacturer” every year from 2010 through 2015, “Favorite Nailcare Furniture Manufacturer” in 2014 and 2015, and “Favorite Company for Manufacturer Support.”

“We look forward to working closely with Branford Castle in the next stage of growth of our business,” said Chenevey. “The health and wellness market is expanding globally, and Earthlite is in an excellent position to take advantage of the growth opportunities.”

Branford Castle was advised by its legal counsel, Akerman LLP.

Stout Risius Ross, Inc. served as financial advisor to Earthlite and TroyGould PC served as their legal advisor. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

6/2/16

John S. Castle, Managing Partner, provides insights in the Axial Network Forum on the role of the board of directors for private equity-owned businesses.

Click here to learn more.

4/18/16

John K. Castle participates in The M&A Advisor’s Stalwarts Roundtable.

Click here to download the report.

5/18/15

John K. Castle – 2015 Peter Hilton Founder’s Award Recipient
5th Annual Champion’s Awards

Click here to learn more.

1/21/14

Branford Castle wins M&A Advisor Deal of the Year $50 million to $75 million. Click here to learn more.

11/25/13

Branford Castle has acquired a leading Florida based chain of company-owned deli restaurants. The transformative acquisition will allow a co-founder to retire and help position the company for future growth. The Branford Castle/Castle Harlan team has decades of experience in growing restaurant concepts including being the control owners of Morton’s of Chicago Steakhouses, McCormick & Schmick’s, Brio Tuscan Grille, Bravo! Cucina Italiana, and the exclusive Burger King Puerto Rico franchise, amongst many others.

Branford is excited to help existing management realize their goal of creating a national chain of restaurants.

11/25/13

Branford Castle’s John S. Castle on new investments, European spillover

1/21/13

Branford Castle wins M&A Advisor Deal of the Year $50 million to $75 million.

Click here to learn more about M&A Advisor.


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