High Road Adds Garden Weasel to General Tools

General Tools & Instruments, a portfolio company of High Road Capital Partners, has acquired Garden Weasel from privately-owned Faultless Brands.

Garden Weasel’s products include a range of cultivators, weeders, edgers, nut gatherers and hand tools including Garden Weasel, Garden Claw, and WeedPopper tools. The company’s products are sold primarily in hardware stores, farm and fleet stores, home improvement centers, and big-box retailers. Garden Weasel was founded in 1975 and is based in Kansas City, Missouri.

The buy of Garden Weasel is the second add-on acquisition by General Tool since being acquired by High Road in February 2014. In November 2017, General Tool acquired PacTool International, a designer and manufacturer of a range of siding tools, specialty hand tools, cutting tools and blades used in construction, renovation and remodeling jobs. PacTool’s products include the Gecko Gauge, Snapper Shears, and the Roof Snake.

General Tools & Instruments is a designer and developer of specialty hand tools and handheld test instruments for consumers and professionals. GTI has more than 1,200 products that are sold through big-box and specialty retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, Ace Hardware and True Value Hardware stores, and through industrial distributors such as Grainger, MSC Industrial Supply and McMaster-Carr. The company, led by CEO Ralph Mallozzi, was founded in 1922 and is headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey.

“Garden Weasel is known for premium quality and durable products, which complement our portfolio of award-winning products,” said Mr. Mallozzi. “We see a tremendous opportunity for the company by enhancing marketing, developing innovative new products and line extensions, and broadening distribution.”

“General Tools’ addition of Garden Weasel extends the company’s leadership in the specialized hand tools market and expands its reach into lawn and garden products,” said Jeffrey Goodrich, a partner at High Road. “The current stay-at-home environment is contributing to a surge of interest in gardening and Garden Weasel, as a familiar and trusted brand, is well suited for the times.”

Mr. Goodrich led the acquisition of Garden Weasel and was assisted by Principal Eojin Lee and Associate Austin Arnold.

High Road invests in manufacturing, service, or value-added distribution businesses with revenues of $10 million to $100 million and EBITDA of $3 million to $10 million. The New York-based firm has completed 60 transactions – 20 platform investments, 32 add-on acquisitions and 8 exits – since its founding in 2007.

Twin Brook Capital Partners, the middle-market direct lending arm of Angelo Gordon, provided financing to support the buy of Garden Weasel by General Tools. Chicago-based Twin Brook focuses on loans to private equity-owned companies with EBITDA between $3 million and $50 million, with an emphasis on companies with $25 million of EBITDA and below. The firm targets senior financing opportunities up to $200 million, with hold sizes across the platform ranging from $25 million up to $150 million. Twin Brook’s products include opportunistic investments in second lien, mezzanine, and equity co-investments.

Kansas City-based Faultless Brands, led by CEO Sean Williams, manufactures and markets a range of products including starches, cleansers, and candles that are used in the consumer and commercial fabric, fragrance and home care sectors. Company-owned brands include Faultless Starch, Niagara Starch, Bon Ami Cleanser, and Trapp Candles. Faultless Brands was founded in 1887 by Major Thomas Beaham and continues to be owned by the Beaham family.

Private Equity Professional | May 8, 2020

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