IOP Steps Up with Buy of Little Giant

Industrial Opportunity Partners has acquired Little Giant Ladder Systems in partnership with the company’s management team and its owners.

Little Giant is a designer, marketer and manufacturer of ladders, stepladders and stepstools, extension ladders, and safety cages.

Little Giant’s products are used by do-it-yourselfers and professional customers and are sold through brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and industrial distribution channels. The company, led by its chairman and Art Wing and CEO Ryan Moss, is headquartered near Provo in Springville, Utah and has approximately 250 employees. Little Giant was founded in 1972 by the Wing family.

IOP is partnering with Mr. Wing and Mr. Moss on this transaction and they will retain an ownership interest in the company and remain in their current management roles. At closing, Alberto Satine, an operating principal at IOP, was named co-chairman of the company alongside Mr. Wing.

“On behalf of Little Giant and the Wing family, we are excited to partner with IOP and continue to execute on the various growth opportunities ahead of us,” said Mr. Wing. “Little Giant’s strategic alignment with IOP is a compelling development that we believe will benefit all of our stakeholders including our community, our customers, our suppliers, and importantly, our employees.”

“We have chosen to partner with IOP to provide both capital and a valuable operating perspective that will allow us to continue expanding our reach with new customers, geographies and products. Management is excited to begin this new stage in the company’s history,” said Mr. Moss.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the shareholders and management team of Little Giant, a business whose branded product and reputation for safety, quality and premium design has been recognized by IOP for many years,” said Dave Dorfman, a director at IOP. “We look forward to supporting Little Giant and continuing the company’s impressive growth trajectory.”

The buy of Little Giant is the seventh platform investment for IOP’s third fund, Industrial Opportunity Partners III LP, which closed in July 2017 with $450 million of committed capital. The six earlier Fund III portfolio companies are

  • PolyVision (acquired in February 2020), a Georgia-based manufacturer of ceramic-coated steel used in whiteboards, chalkboards, and architectural cladding;
  • Creative Foam (acquired in October 2017), a Michigan-based manufacturer of die-cut, formed foam, nonwoven, and other components used in automotive, medical, and wind energy applications;
  • SignResource (acquired in July 2018), a Tennessee-based designer and manufacturer of exterior and interior signage for retail fuel/convenience store chains;
  • Royston (acquired in March 2018), a Georgia-based designer, manufacturer and installer of check out and merchandising fixtures and equipment;
  • United Poly Systems (acquired in June 2019), a Missouri-based manufacturer of made-to-order high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe; and
  • Midwest Paper (acquired in January 2020), a Wisconsin-based maker of recycled containerboard and white paper for book publishing and printing/writing applications.

IOP focuses on acquiring middle-market manufacturing and value-added distribution businesses, typically with revenues between $30 million and $450 million. The firm targets businesses with strong product, customer, and market positions and provides both management and operational resources to support sales growth and operational improvements. IOP is headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Evanston.

Wells Fargo was the financial advisor to Little Giant and PNC Business Credit provided financing for the acquisition.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | January 8, 2021

Print Friendly, PDF & Email