GTCR Returns to Cole-Parmer
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GTCR Returns to Cole-Parmer

Golden Gate Capital has agreed to sell Cole-Parmer Instrument Company, a designer, manufacturer, and distributor of specialty lab equipment, to GTCR. Golden Gate and the company’s management will retain a minority stake in the business.

Cole-Parmer is a supplier of more than 150,000 SKUs of laboratory and industrial fluid handling products, instrumentation, equipment, and supplies that are used in the life sciences, healthcare, environmental, and industrial markets. The company’s products are sold via catalogs, phone, fax, a suite of eCommerce sites and through a network of international dealers. Company-owned brand names include Masterflex, Environmental Express and Traceable.

Cole-Parmer was founded in 1955 by Jerome Cole and John Parmer and was acquired by Thermo Fisher in 2001. GTCR carved Cole-Parmer out of Thermo Fisher in August 2014 to create a standalone company and then sold the business to Golden Gate in March 2017. Today, the company is led by CEO Bernd Brust with a headquarters near Chicago in Vernon Hills, IL (www.coleparmer.com).

“Bernd and the entire Cole-Parmer team have done an exceptional job transforming the business since the carve-out from Thermo Fisher. They have a track record of success and we are excited to once again partner with them to invest in the long-term growth of the company,” said Dean Mihas, a managing director at GTCR.

Since GTCR’s sale of Cole-Parmer to Golden Gate in 2017, the company invested in its cloud-based technology infrastructure and closed several add-on acquisitions that expanded its product portfolio, global operations, and exposure to new and growing end-markets. Going forward, GTCR and Golden Gate intend to grow the business both organically and by continued add-on acquisitions in the fragmented life sciences and laboratory products sectors.

“We have enjoyed a very successful partnership with Bernd and the Cole-Parmer team over the last few years,” said Jim Rauh, a managing director at Golden Gate. “We are proud to have helped Cole-Parmer continue to develop into a premier life-sciences platform and become the acquirer of choice in a fragmented market. We look forward to supporting Cole-Parmer’s continued growth alongside the company’s management team and GTCR.”

“We are grateful to Jim Rauh and the Golden Gate Capital team for their collaboration and are very proud of the strategic and operational progress we have made,” said Mr. Brust. “Together, we have been able to execute on numerous growth initiatives, including a deepened focus on product innovation, establishing us at the forefront of our industry. We are delighted to be renewing our successful partnership with GTCR and look forward to working with both firms, who share our vision and commitment to continuing Cole-Parmer’s evolution into a diversified products company focused on the life sciences, healthcare and environmental end-markets.”

Golden Gate invests in companies across a range of industries and transaction types, including going-privates, corporate divestitures, recapitalizations, and public equity investments. Sectors of specific interest include software, semiconductors and IT hardware, consumer, industrials, IT and business services, and financial services. The firm has approximately $15 billion of capital under management and is based in San Francisco (www.goldengatecap.com).

Since its founding in 1980, GTCR has invested more than $15 billion in over 200 companies. Sectors of interest include business services; technology, media & telecommunications; healthcare, and financial services & technology. GTCR is based in Chicago (www.gtcr.com).

Jefferies was the financial advisor to Cole-Parmer and Baird was the financial advisor to Golden Gate Capital.

This transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2019.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | September 26, 2019

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