“Berlon is a 63-year-old company with a very high quality, yet affordable product line that has enabled it to build a strong brand reputation and serve a niche customer base. Our goal is to build on this foundation by equipping them with the resources they need to grow, but that can be difficult for small companies like Berlon to access,” said Steve Balistreri, a Blackthorne Partners principal.
Berlon Industries is a manufacturer of buckets and attachments for tractors, skid loaders, telehandlers and compact utility tractors. The company serves customers in the agricultural, construction and landscape management industries. Berlon markets its products through dealers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Outside of these states the company sells through a combination of dealer, distributor and direct sales. Berlon Industries is based in Hustisford, WI (www.berlon.com).
In conjunction with the acquisition, Mike Ebben, an experienced manufacturing industry leader, has been hired to serve as Berlon’s president. Lon Berndt, Berlon’s current owner, will work closely with Mr. Ebben to ensure a smooth transition.
“As the longtime owner of Berlon Industries, I was determined to make sure the next chapter of this company takes good care of our customers as well as our employees,” said Mr. Berndt. “The team of Blackthorne and Mike Ebben offer the experience and commitment it will take to grow the legacy we’ve built over the years.”
Blackthorne Partners invests in small, niche companies across an array of industries. Investments targeted by the firm typically have less than $1 million in EBITDA and $2 million to $10 million in revenue. Blackthorne Partners is based in Mequon, WI (www.blackthornepartners.com).
“We believe there are many companies in our market, like Berlon, whose future can be brighter with the right ownership transition,” said Mr. Balistreri. “By focusing on companies with earnings of approximately $1 million, we not only serve an unmet need in the marketplace but have an opportunity to help these smaller businesses become the mid-market companies that are the future of Wisconsin.”
© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 11-15-12