Hicks and Riverside Form New Platform, Make First Acquisition

Hicks and Riverside Form New Platform, Make First Acquisition

Hicks Equity Partners and The Riverside Company have partnered with Christopher DiSantis to form H-D Advanced Manufacturing Company, a new platform company based in Pittsburgh that will acquire heavy-duty, precision-engineered industrial components companies.  Simultaneous with the launch of the new platform, H-D has acquired Overton Chicago Gear Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of large, custom, mission-critical gears and gearboxes.

Mr. DiSantis previously served as CEO and President of Latrobe Specialty Metals, a former portfolio company of Hicks.  Prior to Latrobe, he served as President and COO of Hawk Corporation, a former portfolio company of Weinberg Capital Group, which is also an investor in H-D.  Both Latrobe and Hawk were highly successful investments under Mr. DiSantis’ leadership. The formation of H-D again pairs Mr. DiSantis and Dale Mikus, the former CFO of Latrobe, who will now serve as the CFO of H-D.

“The formation of H-D Advanced Manufacturing, with Overton as its foundation, provides an excellent opportunity to create value in the high-precision manufacturing sector. We are very pleased to partner with Riverside in building H-D behind the leadership of Chris DiSantis and Dale Mikus, with whom we have worked successfully in the past, and the management team of Overton. Under this leadership team, we believe H-D is very well positioned to be at the forefront of what we see as a resurgence of U.S. manufacturing,” said Thomas Hicks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hicks Equity Partners.

Overton manufactures large, high-precision gears that are designed to meet a range of requirements for applications in the oil and gas, minerals and mining, rail, renewable energy, power generation and infrastructure industries.  Overton designs and manufactures custom gears in a wide variety of profiles, including herringbone, bevel, helical, spur and double enveloping worm gears, as well as gearboxes. The company was founded in 1888 and employs more than 200 people at three manufacturing facilities in the Chicago area (www.oc-gear.com).

Hicks and Riverside are actively seeking additional acquisition opportunities for H-D Advanced Manufacturing in the gearing industry and within other heavy duty, high-precision manufacturing sectors.

“H-D Advanced Manufacturing is going to build a first class manufacturing company that serves as a strategic supplier to the world’s leading industrial companies, both big and small,” said Mr. DiSantis. “I can’t think of a better company than Overton Chicago Gear to serve as H-D’s first acquisition. I look forward to selectively adding other manufacturers of high-quality industrial components to the H-D team and to executing our business strategy.”

Hicks Equity Partners is the private equity arm for Hicks Holdings, a holding company for the Thomas O. Hicks family’s assets.  The firm invests in established companies with proven track records, strong free cash flow characteristics, a strong competitive industry position and an experienced management team looking to partner with long-term capital. The firm is based in Dallas, TX (no website found).

“Riverside specializes in acquiring middle market companies and providing them with resources that enable them to thrive,” said Riverside Partner Tim Gosline. “H-D’s acquisition strategy fits squarely with that of Riverside, and we look forward to working with H-D and Overton’s management to make this investment a success.”

The Riverside Company is a private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”). Riverside specializes in investing in SEMM companies (those valued up to $200 million) and partners with management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since 1988, the firm has invested in 300 transactions with a total enterprise value of more than $6 billion. The firm is headquartered in New York with additional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London (www.riversidecompany.com).

PNC Business Credit and Babson Capital provided financing for the acquisition of Overton. KPMG, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Jones Day advised Hicks and Riverside on the investment.

© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 12-11-12

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