Blue Wolf Buys Caster Maker from Sentinel

Blue Wolf Capital Partners has acquired the Colson Group, a maker of caster and wheel products from Sentinel Capital. Sentinel acquired Colson from various Pritzker family trusts in April 2012. Jay and Bob Pritzker originally acquired Colson in 1953.

Colson Group is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of casters and wheels in the world. The company, led by CEO Tom Blashill, has 25 facilities in 15 countries and ships more than 192,000 casters every day.

Colson’s caster and wheel products have load capacities ranging from 40 lbs. to 100,000 lbs. and are used in a variety of applications in numerous end-markets including medical, industrial, logistics, retail and e-commerce. Company-owned brand names include Colson, Albion, Shepherd, Jarvis, Rhombus, MedCaster, Revvo, Pemco, Faultless, and Bassick.

Colson’s most recent add-on acquisition was the October 2020 buy of Vulcan Industries, a California and Massachusetts-based distributor of light and medium capacity casters used in foodservice and medical applications. Today, Colson has more than 1,600 employees and is headquartered near Chicago in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.

“With its global scale and long-standing roster of blue-chip customers, Colson is the global leader in the highly stable and growing casters and wheels market,” said Aakash Patel, a principal at Blue Wolf. “In addition, Colson’s large domestic manufacturing footprint combined with its impressive product portfolio uniquely positions the company to serve the U.S. market. Over the next few years, we intend to invest significant capital to further enhance Colson’s domestic capabilities. “We are excited to partner with Tom Blashill and his management team to accelerate long-term growth at Colson.”

New York City-based Blue Wolf invests from $25 million to $250 million of equity in companies that have at least $50 million of revenue and an enterprise value of $50 million to $500 million. Sectors of interest include healthcare, building products, energy services, manufacturing, distribution, and industrial.

“Our track record of transforming industrial manufacturing companies into best-in-class businesses combined with our experience optimizing and strengthening global supply chains position us perfectly to support Colson in the next phase of its evolution,” said Adam Blumenthal, the managing partner of Blue Wolf. “We will seek to unlock value at Colson by both leveraging their strong existing foundation and by utilizing Blue Wolf’s unique skillset.”

MidCap Financial was the administrative agent, sole lead arranger and sole bookrunner on a $170 million senior secured credit facility that backed Blue Wolf’s buy of Colson. The MidCap transaction team was led by Managing Director Melissa Morrison. MidCap, in alliance with its investment manager Apollo Capital Management, is a middle-market focused finance firm that provides debt instruments of $10 million to $750 million to companies across all industries

With the close of this transaction, Blue Wolf Operating Partner Rich Kobor will join Colson’s board of directors alongside Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Patel. In addition, Ray Poole, a former senior executive with United Technologies and Emcor Facilities Services, will also join the company’s board.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | March 4, 2021

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