High Road Closes First Add-On for JHFoster

JHFoster, a portfolio company of High Road Capital Partners and a distributor of automation and motion control products, has acquired the assets of the distribution business of Motion Tech Automation.

The distribution segment of Motion Tech (MTD) is a distributor of automation, motion control and sensor products to an array of end markets. The buy of MTD is the first add-on acquisition completed by JHFoster since being acquired by High Road through its second fund in May 2019.

Motion Tech’s other operating segments, including electromechanical assembly, precision machining, sensor manufacturing (sold under the Lion Precision brand), and product development and prototyping services, remain with the company.  Motion Tech is headquartered near St. Paul in Oakdale, Minnesota.

JHFoster is a value-added distributor of motion control parts and accessories, compressed air systems, collaborative robots, industrial robotics, and electrical automation products. The company’s customers are Upper Midwest-based manufacturers that are active in the industrial, food and beverage, healthcare, and consumer goods sectors.

The company’s value-added capabilities include installation, integration, maintenance and repair services. JHFoster, led by CEO Nick Martino, was founded in 1938 and is headquartered near Minneapolis in Eagan, Minnesota with an additional facility in Fargo, North Dakota and Hiawatha, Iowa.

With the close of this transaction last month, MTD has begun relocating its operations to JHFoster’s Eagan facility. “We are excited to add MTD to the JHFoster family.  MTD’s product breadth and depth will complement the well-established lines we already provide,” said Mr. Martino. “This acquisition strengthens JHFoster’s position as a supplier of choice for our customers’ automation and motion control needs.”

“MTD’s strong relationships with premier motion control and automation OEMs broaden JHFoster’s product offering and positions JHFoster for continued growth,” said Ben Schnakenberg, a partner at High Road. “In addition, MTD brings an experienced and highly knowledgeable team, and we look forward to supporting them to continue offering our customers industry-leading products and services.”

JHFoster’s acquisition of MTD was led by Mr. Schnakenberg, with assistance from Principal Eojin Lee, Senior Associate Tom Cassidy, 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 61 transactions – 20 platform investments, 33 add-on acquisitions and 8 exits – since its founding in 2007.

Hennepin Partners was the financial advisor to Motion Tech on this transaction.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | January 12, 2021

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