Warren Continues Tree Services Consolidation
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Warren Continues Tree Services Consolidation

Tree trimming platform now has five operating units

SOURCE: GUNNISON COMPANY

Warren Equity Partners has formed Gunnison Company as an umbrella holding company for the firm’s investments in the vegetation management services sector.

Warren’s first buy in the sector was in May 2020 when it acquired Atlanta-headquartered Gunnison Tree Services, a provider of tree removal, right-of-way maintenance, and tree management services to electric utilities, residential homes, commercial buildings, and municipalities.

In tandem with the formation of Gunnison Company, the new holding company has also acquired Pittman’s Tree and Landscaping, West Tree Service, and Woodson Inc. In addition to Gunnison Tree Services and the three new add-on acquisitions, the fifth leg of the Gunnison Company platform includes Athens, Georgia-based New Urban Forestry, which was acquired in May 2020. Now combined, Gunnison Company provides services across more than 20 states and has just over 1,500 employees.

Pittman, based west of Washington DC in Front Royal, Virginia, provides vegetation management services to utilities and government customers in the Mid-Atlantic states; West Tree Service, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, serves utilities in the South-Central states; and Woodson, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, provides tree removal and right-of-way clearing services for utilities and municipalities in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

“We are excited to build a best-in-class vegetation management organization that is local in service, but national in scale,” said Michael Zhang, a principal at Warren Equity. “The fragmented vegetation management industry is ripe for consolidation of regional market leaders who, together on the same team, will better serve our customers and play a critical role in maintaining the aging electric grid.”

As part of this combination, Calley Pittman of Pittman, Ford Overton of West Tree Service, and Steve Woodson of Woodson will continue to lead each of their companies and will have equity stakes in Gunnison Company. Matt Cathell, the founder of Gunnison Tree Services and an equity holder of Gunnison Company, will serve as the CEO of the platform.

“Warren Equity’s knowledge of the utility service industry and experience in scaling similar types of companies have been instrumental to the formation of Gunnison Company,” said Mr. Cathell. “We are well-positioned to achieve our strategic growth plan, both organically and through add-on acquisitions, while continuing to provide our customers quality service.”

Warren Equity invests from $5 million to $40 million in North American-based companies that have from $3 million to $15 million of EBITDA and a total enterprise value of less than $150 million. Sectors of interest include industrial services, industrial products, business services, and distribution. The firm was founded in mid-2015 by Steven Wacaster, Scott Bruckmann, and Henrik Dahlback and is headquartered in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

In May 2021, Warren closed its third fund, Warren Equity Partners Fund III LP, with $673 million of capital. The new fund, and its sidecar fund, were oversubscribed, above target, and closed at its hard cap after just two months of fundraising.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | June 24, 2021

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