Private equity firm The Watermill Group has acquired a majority stake in Cooper & Turner, a U.K.-based manufacturer of industrial fastener systems. The investment will allow the target to pursue new products, services and market opportunities.
Cooper & Turner was founded in the 1800s as a gun barrel maker. Today, the Sheffield, England-based target manufactures large bolts, studs, anchors, nuts and washers for the wind, railway, tunneling, oil and gas, and structural bolting industries. The target has manufacturing and distribution operations across the U.S., European Union, and China. Watermill sees an opportunity to build Cooper & Turner, particularly in wind energy which is expected to grow by five percent annually through 2020, according to the buyer. Cooper & Turner's senior management, which includes CEO Tony Brown and head of group production David Brown, will retain a stake in the business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Watermill Group, based in Lexington, Massachusetts, targets companies with annual revenues of $50 million to $500 million in the areas of manufacturing, value-added distribution and business services. The PE firm has previously acquired Experi-Metal Inc., a provider of metal-formed parts and assemblies for automakers, and sold portfolio company Global Tubes.
As the manufacturing industry has involved in respect to its related processes, strategic buyers and private equity firms have found the sector to be ripe for middle-market deals. Recent manufacturing deals include: Audax Private Equity’s purchase of Fastener Distribution Holdings; Snow Phipps’ acquisition of Ideal Tridon Holdings; and AE Industrial-backed Kellstrom Aerospace’s buying Vortex Aviation Inc.
Mid Cap Financial Services LLC provided debt to Watermill for the transaction, and Grant Thornton UK LLP provided corporate finance, debt advisory, tax and financial due diligence advice. K&L Gates LLP provided Legal Counsel to Watermill. Mazars LLP served as financial adviser to Cooper & Turner, while Mincoffs Solicitors served as legal counsel.