NEP Adds Operating Partner

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) has expanded its executive team with the addition of Tony Armand as an operating partner.

Mr. Armand has had a past relationship with NEP during his career. Beginning in May 2010 he was the CEO of NEP portfolio company Shock Doctor Sports, a provider of protective and performance sports equipment, which was sold in March 2014 to United Sports Brands, a platform acquisition company of Bregal Partners. Mr. Armand became the CEO of United Sports Brands.

During Mr. Armand’s term as CEO of Shock Doctor under NEP ownership, the company’s revenues grew by 7.5x and employee headcount doubled. Prior to his time at Shock Doctor, he was CEO of Bravo Sports, a prior portfolio company of Bregal Partners that manufactured pop-up tents and other sporting goods products.

Mr. Armand was also a past board member of Momentum Group, a distributor of textiles to the commercial interiors industry, which was owned by NEP from August 2011 to April 2016.

“After spending over 20 years on the operating side of a business with private equity investment partners, I am excited to help create value across an entire portfolio rather than in just one business,” said Mr. Armand. “NEP was a solid partner during the critical stages of growth at Shock Doctor, and when the opportunity was presented to work with them to build out a more extensive consumer product investment platform, it made perfect sense for me. The firm has established a terrific track record over the years, and I’m excited to work together again. NEP is the natural home for me.”

At NEP, Mr. Armand will focus on sourcing and evaluating consumer, sports, and outdoor product investment opportunities and play an active role in strategic planning, business growth, and corporate governance for the firm’s portfolio companies.

“Tony is a terrific addition to our operating partner group and consumer platform. NEP’s strategy is to buy and build companies, and having Tony on board to help us continue to bring this strategy to life is a huge win and helps position us for future success. His industry experience is tremendous,” said Tim DeVries, NEP Managing Partner.

“Tony’s experience will help us attract great investment opportunities and drive strong investment results,” said Tim Kuehl, a Partner at NEP. “Having an operating partner like Tony provides us more flexibility and competitive advantages when seeking investment opportunities. He is also going to be a great resource for our portfolio at large, providing meaningful business experience to help position our companies to be better, stronger, and more successful.”

Mr. Armand has already joined the board of directors of NEP portfolio company Christy Sports, a Lakewood, CO-based specialty retailer of ski and snowboard equipment, which the firm acquired in October 2015.

NEP makes equity investments of $30 million to $250 million in companies that have more than $10 million in EBITDA. Sectors of interest include agriculture, business services, consumer, distribution, diversified industrials, energy, and healthcare. In April 2015, NEP closed Norwest Equity Partners X, LP, a $1.6 billion fund and Norwest Mezzanine Partners IV, LP, an $800 million fund formed by NEP’s affiliated mezzanine investment firm, Norwest Mezzanine Partners. Norwest Equity Partners is headquartered in Minneapolis (www.nep.com).

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | April 17, 2018

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