Blue Point Buys Transtar

Blue Point Buys Transtar

Blue Point Capital Partners has acquired Transtar, a distributor of original equipment and aftermarket automotive products.

Transtar’s products include original equipment, aftermarket, and remanufactured transmission and driveline-related products sold under the Transtar, RECON Certified, King-O-Matic, TransMart, Nickels Performance, ProKing, Transtar Autobody Technologies, and ATCO brands. Transtar’s customers include independent and franchise transmission repair shops, automotive general repair businesses, production rebuilders, and resellers.

Transtar is headquartered near Cleveland in Walton Hills, Ohio and operates more than 100 branches across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Transtar was founded in 1975 by Monte Ahuja and was acquired in 2010 by FFL (Friedman Fleischer & Lowe) from Linsalata Capital Partners. In 2014, Transtar added-on with the buy of ETX, an automotive parts supplier (transmission replacement parts, air conditioning compressors, and power steering assemblies) from Jordan Industries and The Edgewater Funds. In November 2016, Transtar filed for bankruptcy protection and in April 2017 it exited bankruptcy under the control of its lenders led by Silver Point Capital.

Blue Point now acquires Transtar in partnership with CEO Neil Sethi and other members of the company’s senior management team. Mr. Sethi is a former Blue Point portfolio company board member. Transtar’s current chairman and founder, Monte Ahuja (Mr. Sethi’s father-in-law), will remain on the company’s board as a director and he maintains an ownership interest in the company.

“Based on my years of experience working with the Blue Point team, I can confidently say that our partnership will offer Transtar exciting growth opportunities and strong leadership to ensure continued success,” said Mr. Sethi. “We are eager to work with Blue Point to execute our value creation plans and forge ahead in new product categories and market segments.”

In 2019, Transtar launched Transend, an e-commerce platform that allows users to find and order exact transmission and driveline parts using a vehicle’s license plate number, vehicle identification number (VIN), or year-make-model-engine type. According to Transtar, this new platform reduces part ordering and return errors by more than 90 percent.

“Having known the Transtar leadership team for many years, I could not be more thrilled to officially welcome them to the Blue Point family of companies. This partnership is a natural fit for the cultures of both organizations and aligns perfectly with Blue Point’s investment focus,” said Chip Chaikin, a partner at Blue Point. “We’re looking forward to working alongside this team to usher in the next phase of Transtar’s growth.”

Blue Point’s strategy for Transtar includes building on the company’s existing e-commerce technology and pursuing strategic add-on acquisitions.

“We look forward to working with the Transtar team to advance their e-commerce segment. Transtar’s mature data and digital capabilities, coupled with our distinct competencies in data analytics, digital marketing and customer management, will give the company a strong competitive advantage,” said Brian Castleberry a principal at Blue Point.

In addition to Mr. Chaikin and Mr. Castleberry, the Blue Point transaction team included Partner Sean Ward, Managing Director Dennis Wu, Managing Director of Data & Digital Tye Howell, Vice President Evan Cottington, and Associate Bobby Exler.

Blue Point invests in companies that are active in the manufacturing, distribution and business services sectors and have from $20 million to $300 million in revenue and EBITDA greater than $5 million. The firm has offices in Cleveland, Charlotte, Seattle, and Shanghai.

The Carlyle Group, through its middle-market lending strategy, Carlyle Direct Lending, was the administrative agent, sole lead arranger, and sole bookrunner on the financing for Blue Point’s buy of Transtar.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | February 2, 2021

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