GME Supply Switches Sponsors

GME Supply Switches Sponsors

After a 3.5 year hold, Platte River sells the distributor of worker safety supplies to Incline Equity

GME’s products include fall arrest protection equipment, personal protective gear, harnesses, lanyards, carabiners and hardware, rope and lifelines, rigging, tools and lighting, and safety signage.

SOURCE: Getty Images

Platte River Equity has sold GME Supply, a distributor of worker safety supplies, to Incline Equity Partners.

Platte River acquired GME, a distributor of fall protection, safety equipment and related gear for at-height workers in the telecommunications, wind, solar, utilities, industrial and construction markets, in November 2019.

GME’s products include fall arrest protection equipment, personal protective gear, harnesses, lanyards, carabiners and hardware, rope and lifelines, rigging, tools and lighting, and safety signage. The company maintains an inventory of products with thousands of SKUs from its suppliers which include 3M, Elk River, FallTech, Klein Tools, Honeywell, Milwaukee, and Sterling Rope.

Source: GME Supply

GME is headquartered in Columbia, Missouri, with distribution centers in Missouri, California, Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and New York. The company operates three training facilities, and its Atlanta facility includes a “Safety Experience Zone” where customers can interact with the industry’s newest equipment and a 3,000-square-foot learning center where safety training courses are provided to customers. GME was founded in 2005 by its chairman, Beau Aero, and is led by CEO Caleb Messer.

During Platte River’s ownership term, GME closed several add-on acquisitions including Colorado-based Custom Tool Supply (2020), New York-based Gearcor (2021), Texas-based Safety LMS (2021), Ontario-based Team-1 Academy (2022), and California-based Farwest Line Specialties (2023).

Source: GME Supply

“We have had a great partnership with Platte River,” said Mr. Messer. “Under its ownership, we have grown GME meaningfully and made significant investments in our organization. We are looking forward to welcoming Incline as our new partner and continuing to execute on our growth strategies.”

“GME has differentiated itself through deep industry knowledge, regulatory expertise and key supplier relationships,” said Leon Rubinov, a senior partner at Incline. “Through these supplier partnerships and strategic M&A, we expect to offer additional product categories and expand into adjacent end markets.”

“By employing Platte River’s consistent strategy of building a strong foundation and investing in logical and adjacent growth strategies, we believe we have helped position GME for long-term growth,” said Mike Reilly, a principal of Platte River. “GME has an exceptional management team and culture, and we are thankful for the opportunity to have worked with them.”

“Platte River’s investment played a pivotal role in the acceleration of our growth and development. We are confident that Incline shares our dedication to preserving the award-winning culture that sets GME apart,” said Mr. Aero.

Pittsburgh-based Incline Equity was formed in 2011 and is led by its senior partners, Jack Glover, Justin Bertram, and Leon Rubinov. In January 2020, Incline closed its fifth fund, Incline Equity Partners V LP, with $1.2 billion of capital. Incline generally invests in growing companies with enterprise values of $25 million to $750 million.

Audax Private Debt was the Administrative Agent and Lead Arranger on a unitranche credit facility to back Incline’s buy of GME.

“GME Supply has established itself as a leading platform for reliable, high quality safety equipment, trusted by its customers to provide critical protection to their employees,” said Peter Stern, a managing director at Audax Private Debt. “The company’s industry expertise and distribution footprint creates a unique value proposition for its customers, and we are excited to partner with the Incline team as they build upon GME’s momentum and help the company scale its business and accelerate its growth plan.”

Audax Private Debt makes first lien, stretch senior, unitranche, second lien, junior debt, and equity co-investments in North American-based private equity-sponsored middle-market companies. In January 2023, Audax Private Debt closed Audax Direct Lending Solutions Fund II LP with $3 billion of capital commitments. This fund, which provides senior secured unitranche and stretch senior financings, closed above its target of $2.25 billion and at its hard cap. Audax Private Debt was founded in 2000 and has invested over $34 billion across more than 1,100 companies backed by more than 275 private equity sponsors.

“Audax Private Debt has been an efficient and collaborative partner throughout the financing process,” said Mr. Rubinov. “Their dedication and ability to adapt have been instrumental, and we are confident in their continued support as we work together to unlock the full potential of GME.”

Platte River makes equity investments of $25 million to $100 million in lower middle-market companies with annual revenues of $20 million to $250 million and EBITDA from $7 million to $30 million. Sectors of interest include aerospace and transportation; energy products and services; industrial products and services; and agriculture and chemicals. Since its founding in 2006, the Denver-based firm has raised more than $1.3 billion in capital and is now investing out of its $625 million fourth fund which closed in June 2017.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished alongside the GME team and wish them continued success in this next chapter,” said Peter Calamari, a managing director at Platte River.

Harris Williams was the financial advisor to both GME and Platte River on this transaction, and Incline Equity was advised by BlackArch Partners.

© 2023 Private Equity Professional | July 20, 2023

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