Gridiron Closes its Largest Fund

Gridiron Capital has held a hard-cap and oversubscribed closing of Gridiron Capital Fund IV LP, and affiliated funds (Gridiron IV), with $1.35 billion of capital.

Limited partners in Gridiron IV, the largest fund ever raised by Gridiron, include pension funds, insurance companies, family offices, endowments, and foundations.

“With the closing of Gridiron IV, we are grateful to our investors for their partnership and support,” said Tom Burger, a co-founder and managing partner at Gridiron. “Despite navigating a unique and challenging year, we are excited to celebrate the closing of our largest flagship fund to date as well as our 15-year anniversary and look forward to strategically deploying this fund.”

As with its earlier funds – Gridiron III closed in October 2016 at its hard cap of $850 million – Gridiron will make control equity investments in North America-based manufacturing, service, and specialty consumer companies with enterprise values from $75 million to $575 million and EBITDA from $8 million to $50 million. Sectors of specific interest include branded consumer, business-to-business and business-to-consumer services, and niche industrial.

Gridiron’s new fund is already 50% deployed and has invested in five platforms and completed six add-on acquisitions.

The five portfolio companies are Good Sportsman Marketing Outdoors, a Texas-based provider of accessories used in the hunting, sport shooting, and outdoor enthusiast markets (November 2020); Cubii, a Chicago-based maker and marketer of compact seated elliptical exercise equipment and accessories (October 2020); AML RightSource, a Cleveland-based provider of Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and other financial crimes regulatory compliance services (September 2020);

Colibri Group, a St. Louis-based provider of online learning services for professionals operating in regulated end markets (acquired in May 2019 from Quad-C); and Dealer Tire, a Cleveland-based provider of automotive aftermarket services, replacement tires, and parts to automotive dealerships, rental car companies, auto auctions, OEMs, consumers, and insurance companies. Gridiron holds a minority position in Dealer Tire in partnership with majority shareholder Bain Capital. In February 2020, after just under a five-year hold, Gridiron sold Dent Wizard, a St. Louis-based provider of automotive reconditioning services, to Dealer Tire. As part of this transaction, Gridiron made a new investment in the combined platform alongside Bain Capital.

“We are extremely proud of the year we have had at Gridiron,” said Kevin Jackson, a managing partner at Gridiron. “We have kept our businesses healthy, in many cases accelerated growth, generated significant liquidity across multiple investments for our limited partners, invested in four fantastic platform companies with talented management teams, and completed our oversubscribed fundraise for Gridiron IV— all during a global pandemic. We are thankful for the steadfast confidence and long-term commitment of our investor partners who have remained supportive over the last 15 years and during this unprecedented year.”

With the closing on Gridiron IV, New Canaan, Connecticut-based Gridiron now has approximately $5 billion in assets under management and has invested in over 100 companies, including 28 platform investments, since its founding in 2006.

“At Gridiron we are passionate about what we do each day and never lose sight of the people who are counting on us to deliver outstanding results – from our management teams and their employees, to our investors and their underlying constituents including retirees, children in hospitals, and students relying on financial aid,” concluded Mr. Burger. “Our ‘Winning Together’ culture is an important part of who we are.”

Ropes & Gray provided legal services to Gridiron on this fundraise.

Private Equity Professional | December 18, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email