Cleveland, OH, and Boston, MA – MPE Partners (“MPE” or “Morgenthaler Private Equity”), a preferred partner for entrepreneur-, family-, and ESOP-owned companies, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to sell Bettcher Industries (“Bettcher” or the “Company”) to KKR. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ohio, Bettcher is a trusted provider of semi-automated handheld tools, automated equipment, and aftermarket consumables for beef, pork, poultry, and seafood processing plants globally. Bettcher’s innovative and industry-leading products serve to improve customer yield, while enhancing worker safety and comfort.
Peter Taft, Partner at MPE, said, “We are honored to have supported Bettcher and its management as it effectively executed a multi-faceted strategy to accelerate its growth, both organically and through acquisition. We thoroughly enjoyed partnering with the Company’s talented team and would like to thank them for their significant efforts on this successful journey.”
MPE recapitalized Bettcher in October 2017, which at the time was owned 100% by the Company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“Bettcher ESOP”). Karen Tuleta, Partner at MPE, commented, “We pioneered a unique deal structure whereby the Bettcher ESOP retained a meaningful minority ownership interest alongside MPE’s investment. It is particularly gratifying to see all employees in the Bettcher ESOP benefit from the equity value appreciation created over our investment period. We are thrilled with the achievement of our goals and believe that the MPE playbook and Bettcher deal structure can be effectively applied to other ESOP-owned businesses that are looking for a growth partner and liquidity realization through a partial or full partnership with a private equity institution such as MPE.”
Tim Swanson, Chief Executive Officer of Bettcher, added, “I would like to thank MPE for its support, guidance, and expertise over the past four years. MPE has been an invaluable business partner in our journey to create a scalable enterprise built on a legacy of employee ownership and serving customers and enhanced by a business system focused on accelerated organic growth, strategic planning, and targeted M&A. This foundation will serve us well as we transition to a new partnership.”
“With Bettcher, we identified an opportunity to invest in a differentiated business with exposure to a resilient and growing market sector and accelerate growth through aggressive organic and inorganic initiatives. In addition to making investments in human capital, commercial resources, technology, and manufacturing operations, we also worked closely with Company management to complete and integrate three acquisitions that enhanced the platform. We are proud of our contributions to Bettcher and the partnership we built with Tim, his predecessor Don Esch, and the rest of management,” said Matt Yohe, Partner at MPE, and Constantine Elefter, Principal at MPE.
The pending sale of Bettcher builds on a productive and rewarding year for MPE. Thus far in 2021, MPE has closed five new investment platforms and one add-on acquisition.
Baird, Guggenheim Securities, LLC, BakerHostetler, and Alvarez & Marsal Transaction Advisory Group served as advisors to Bettcher. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Bettcher Industries
Headquartered in Birmingham, Ohio, Bettcher is a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative equipment in the food processing and medical device industries. The Bettcher portfolio includes the following: Bettcher, a designer and manufacturer of handheld trimmers, tools, and cutting consumables for all protein applications; Cantrell-Gainco, a manufacturer of processing equipment and yield enhancement and yield tracking systems for various protein operations; ICB Greenline, an aftermarket replacement parts and services company focused on poultry processing; and, Exsurco Medical, a leading-edge medical device company that provides innovative products and services to transform surgical grafting, debridement, and recovery outcomes for patients with burn and trauma wounds.
About MPE Partners
MPE Partners (“MPE” or “Morgenthaler Private Equity”) seeks to be the preferred partner for entrepreneur-, family-, and ESOP-owned companies. Based in Cleveland, OH, and Boston, MA, MPE invests in profitable, lower middle market companies with transaction values up to $250 million. MPE has two primary target investment areas: high-value manufacturing and commercial & industrial services. For more information, please visit www.mpepartners.com.