Audax Buys Glove and Boot Ops from Boss

Protective Industrial Products, a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity, has agreed to acquire the glove, boots, and rainwear operations of Boss Manufacturing Company.

Boss Manufacturing Company (Boss) is a subsidiary of Boss Holdings and is the oldest US work glove company with operations dating back to 1893. Boss supplies work gloves and personal protective gear to both the consumer and industrial markets, including CAT branded work gloves and safety products. Boss is headquartered 150 miles west of Chicago in Kewanee, Illinois.

Protective Industrial Products (PIP) is a provider of hand protection products, specialty work apparel, cleanroom and electrostatic discharge apparel, rainwear and other consumable personal protective equipment (PPE). The company’s products are sold under an array of brands including G-tek, Bouton Optical, Safety Works, Ambi-dex, Assurance, Falcon, Kut-Gard, Maximum Safety, Brahma, Mud, West County Gardener, Hearos, and Uniform Technology.

PIP has more than $600 million in annual revenues, more than 800 employees, and 1 million square feet of facilities. The company was founded in 1984 and is led by CEO Joe Milot and is headquartered near Albany in Latham, New York.

The buy of Boss, PIP’s fourth add-on since being acquired by Audax in February 2018, furthers its position as a leader in hand protection and general safety products. The three earlier add-ons were:

  • West Chester Protective Gear, a Cincinnati-based provider of industrial hand protection products and protective apparel including high visibility clothing, disposable clothing, aprons and sleeves, and rainwear (acquired in February 2019);
  • Worldwide Protective Products, a Buffalo-based maker of industrial hand protection products, protective sleeves and other garments (acquired in May 2019); and
  • Uniform Technology, a Longmont, Colorado-based manufacturer of specialty work apparel, including cleanroom and electrostatic discharge apparel, used in the semiconductor, electronics, pharmaceutical, biotech and aerospace industries (acquired in November 2019).

Upon closing of this transaction, which is expected by year-end, Boss and Boss Holdings will retain their Kewanee, Illinois headquarters, warehouse facilities and most of its operating staff. Proceeds from the sale of the glove, boots, and rainwear business assets will be used to pay down a portion of Boss Holdings’ existing debt and provide capital for its remaining businesses which include: PetEdge, an Ohio and Massachusetts-based distributor of pet toys and pet supplies to retailers and an e-commerce marketer of pet grooming products to pet groomers, boarders, veterinarians and consumers; Galaxy Balloons, a Cleveland-based supplier of imprinted balloons, sport balls, ornaments and drinkware to the promotional products industry; and Boss Tech Products (DBA Aries Manufacturing), an Illinois-based distributor of cell phone accessories, including CAT branded (under a licensee from Caterpillar, Inc.) chargers, power packs, cords and speakers.

Audax invests in middle-market companies that have from $8 million to $50 million in EBITDA and enterprise values of $50 million to $400 million. Sectors of interest include business and consumer services; energy; healthcare; technology, media and telecom; and industrials including chemicals, infrastructure, and building materials. Audax has offices in Boston, New York, and San Francisco.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | November 26, 2019

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