WestView Buys Bell and Howell from Versa

WestView Capital Partners has acquired Bell and Howell, LLC, a provider of maintenance services to complex automation equipment.

Bell and Howell, LLC is one of the remaining entities of Bell & Howell Company which was founded in 1907 as a manufacturer of motion picture machinery. The company has had a number of owners over the years and its base imaging and media equipment operating businesses were long ago spun off. In September 2001, the remaining businesses, along with the Bell & Howell name were sold to private equity firm Glencoe Capital. The company was acquired by Böwe Systec in 2003. It was known as Böwe Bell & Howell until 2011, when Versa Capital Management bought the company out of bankruptcy and renamed the company Bell and Howell, LLC (B&H).

Today, B&H provides outsourced maintenance services to complex automation equipment across a variety of end markets, including retail, e-commerce, digital print, logistics, robotics, and production mail.

The company has more than 800 service engineers, 24/7/365 customer service and technical support centers, as well as remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. The company is led by CEO Larry Blue and is headquartered in Durham, NC (www.bellhowell.net).

“Over the last few years Bell and Howell has invested heavily in the tools, technology, and training to develop one of the most extensive service organizations in North America,” said Mr. Blue. “We have vastly expanded our capabilities and solution portfolio, which has allowed us to develop partnerships with leading enterprises at the forefront of technology and automation. We are excited to have partnered with WestView, whose deep experience with outsourced services companies will help us capitalize on the numerous opportunities we see in front of us.”

“Technology and automation are significant strategic priorities for enterprises across all industries and the corresponding service, support, and ongoing monitoring of such equipment is becoming even more mission-critical to the operations of these enterprises,” said Carlo von Schroeter, Managing Partner at WestView, who will join Bell and Howell’s Board of Directors along with WestView colleague Kevin Twomey. “The company is poised for significant growth and we look forward to partnering with Bell and Howell’s management team to help them realize the opportunities in front of them.”

WestView makes majority and minority investments of $10 million to $60 million in lower middle market growth companies.  Sectors of interest include business services, software and IT services, consumer, healthcare technology and outsourcing and growth industrial. Target companies will have operating profits between $3 million and $20 million. WestView manages approximately $1.7 billion in capital across four funds and is headquartered in Boston (www.wvcapital.com).

Versa Capital Management, the seller of B&H, invests in special situations involving middle market companies with revenues in the $50 million to $1 billion range or assets of $25 million to $500 million. The firm is based in Philadelphia (www.versa.com).

Capstone Headwaters (www.capstoneheadwaters.com) was the financial advisor to B&H on this transaction.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | December 4, 2018

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