Kinderhook Closes Sixth Bestop Add-On

Bestop, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, has acquired Softopper. This is the sixth add-on acquisition completed by Bestop since being acquired by Kinderhook in August 2015.

Softopper is a designer, manufacturer and distributor of 38 different models of convertible soft tops for light-duty pickup trucks and SUV’s.The company’s products can be fitted to GM, FCA, Honda, Ford, Isuzu, Mazda, Toyota and Nissan vehicles. Softopper was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Boulder, CO (www.softopper.com).

According to Kinderhook, Bestop is the world’s largest manufacturer of soft tops and fabric accessories for Jeep and UTVs (Utility Task Vehicle or Utility Terrain Vehicle). The company has been the sole supplier of factory soft tops on all Jeep Wranglers since 1986 and is a major supplier of tonneaus, lock boxes, lighting and fabric caps to the pickup truck market. Bestop, led by CEO John Larson, was founded in 1954 and is headquartered near Denver in Louisville, CO (www.bestop.com).

“With the ability to outfit over 95% of trucks on the road with quality product, Softopper is a perfect addition to the Bestop family,” said Mr. Larson. “Bestop has placed an emphasis on growing in the light-duty pickup truck space, and Softopper will be a great compliment to Bestop’s Supertop for Truck product line.”

“The acquisition of Softopper will continue Bestop’s “buy-and-build” strategy of acquiring premium brand names in niche categories serving the automotive aftermarket,” said Tom Tuttle, a managing director of Kinderhook. “Softopper also enhances Bestop’s growing suite of premium products designed specifically for light-duty pickup trucks.”

The five other add-ons completed by Kinderhook for Bestop were the buys of Bull Accessories, a Boerne, TX-based maker of tie-down anchors and ratchet straps for light-duty pickup trucks (February 2019); Kamm Industries (DBA PRP Seats), a Temecula, CA-based maker of custom seats, harnesses, storage bags, and accessories for off-road vehicles such as UTVs, Jeeps and trucks (February 2018); Tuffy Security Products, a Cortez, CO-based maker of storage products – such as steel consoles, drawers, glove boxes, and trunks – that are used in Jeeps, trucks, and SUVs (August 2016); Baja Designs, a San Marcos, CA-based provider of off-road lighting products sold to the automotive aftermarket (June 2016); and Morris Motor Company, a Pompano Beach, FL-based online retailer of more than 40,000 automobile parts and accessories to Jeep and 4×4 enthusiasts (January 2016).

Kinderhook makes control investments in companies with transaction values of $25 million to $150 million in which the firm can achieve financial, operational and growth improvements. The firm makes investments in non-core divisions of public companies, management buyouts of entrepreneurial-owned businesses, troubled situations, and existing small capitalization companies lacking institutional support. Sectors of interest include healthcare services, environmental/business services, and automotive/light manufacturing. Kinderhook was founded in 2003 and is based in New York (www.kinderhook.com).

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | June 4, 2019

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