Midway Industrial Supply Acquires Contrast Equipment Company

December 2014       Download PDF      Print

Client Objective

Bob Borman, the majority shareholder and president of Contrast Equipment Company, began as an employee with the business in 1981. Borman immediately began to shift Contrast's focus away from selling paint and fiberglass products in favor of pursuing cutting-edge technology in industrial fluid handling and finishing equipment. After only seven years with the company, Borman became a controlling shareholder. Contrast achieved continued success by prioritizing the use of the latest technology, including an in-house demonstration laboratory, to provide collaborative, customized solutions for their customers. In 2011 and 2012, Contrast benefited from the post-recession resurgence of the manufacturing industry, which resulted in new customers and strong revenue growth. With Contrast performing well, Borman decided it was a good time to transition out of the business and retire.

Solution

Allied Business Group recognized Contrast as a leader in a niche market, and accordingly, made a dedicated effort to pursue strategic buyers. After reaching out to over 9,000 prospects comprised of hand-selected strategic buyers, private equity investors, and qualified individuals with high-net worths, we were able to generate interest from 41 interested buyers. Approximately half of the interested parties were strategic buyers targeted by Allied.

As a result, Contrast received two letters of intent and ultimately accepted that of Midway Industrial Supply (MIS), a majority owned company of Generation Growth Capital (GGC). MIS, like Contrast, is a distributor and custom integrator of industrial fluid handling and finishing equipment. Initially, Contrast's deal with MIS and GGC was rescinded during the due diligence process. Nevertheless, we continued to work with Borman and his management team to find ways to increase the value of Contrast. Further, we remained in contact with MIS and GGC to fully address the concerns that had prompted them to rescind. their initial offer. Through strategic action and communication, Contrast was able to reenter negotiations with GGC and received a new offer. Fortunately, the recalculated offer from GGC was still higher than the other interested investor's letter of intent.

Result

Contrast was acquired by GGC through MIS in December 2014. After a brief transition period, Borman was able to retire, while the remaining employees and members of the management team retained their positions under the new ownership. The change in ownership had little impact on MIS and Contrast; the day-to-day operations and structure of each company remained largely unchanged. Nevertheless, both parties have benefited, as MIS now has access to a larger geographic market, while Contrast is able to provide new products and custom solutions to its existing customers. Together, the two companies currently represent one of the largest industrial fluid handling and finishing systems distributors in the country.

About Contrast Equipment Company

Contrast Equipment Company, founded in 1923, is a leading industrial fluid handling and paint finishing solutions provider based in Kansas City, Missouri.

About Midway Industrial Supply

Midway Industrial Supply is a leading supplier of paint application, powder application, and fluid management equipment to industrial companies. Founded in 1955, Midway is based in St. Paul, Minnesota.

About Generation Growth Capital

Generation Growth Capital, Inc. is a private equity fund based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that focuses on lower-middle market niche companies in the manufacturing, service, and distribution industries.