Safe Fleet Holdings, LLC (“Safe Fleet” or “the Company”), the market-leading provider of safety and productivity solutions for fleet vehicles, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill”). Under the terms of the agreement, Oak Hill will acquire the Company from its current owner, The Sterling Group (“Sterling”).
“We have tremendous respect for what Safe Fleet has accomplished. The Company has built a unique and growing portfolio of market-leading safety and productivity solutions,” said Brian Cherry, a Partner at Oak Hill. “We are excited to partner with Safe Fleet to support the Company through its next phase of development, as it continues to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions.”
John Rachwalski, a Partner at Oak Hill, added, “Safe Fleet represents an exceptional opportunity to invest in a leader in specialized, niche markets supported by attractive secular tailwinds. We are delighted to work with the Company’s talented management team to continue to build the Safe Fleet platform.”
“Sterling and a strong management team led by John Knox have transformed the business strategically, operationally, and commercially from two small component suppliers to a leader in safety solutions for fleet vehicles,” said Gary Rosenthal, a Partner at Sterling and Chairman of Safe Fleet’s Board of Directors. “The creation and sale of Safe Fleet, a business that didn’t exist before Sterling’s initial acquisitions, is a case study in how Sterling rapidly implements its improvement strategies to build winning businesses.”
“Sterling and the Safe Fleet team successfully executed our shared vision to create a leading safety solutions company serving an expanding group of fleet customers,” said John Knox, President and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Fleet. “We believe our new partnership with Oak Hill, a firm that shares our culture of collaborative engagement and continuous improvement, will even further accelerate Safe Fleet’s growth trajectory as a highly differentiated safety and productivity solutions platform.”
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018 and represents the seventh investment in the Oak Hill Capital Partners IV portfolio.
UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisor to Oak Hill in connection with the transaction. Goldman Sachs Bank USA, UBS Securities LLC, and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. have underwritten and will arrange first and second lien financing in connection with the transaction. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Harris Williams & Co. served as financial advisors to Safe Fleet in connection with the transaction. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is serving as legal counsel to Oak Hill. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is serving as legal counsel to Safe Fleet and Sterling.
About Safe Fleet
Headquartered in Belton, MO, Safe Fleet owns a portfolio of brands that provide safety and productivity solutions to fleet vehicle manufacturers and operators around the world. These brands serve several major markets including: Bus, Rail, RV, Truck & Trailer, Work Truck, Law Enforcement, Emergency, Waste, Industrial, and Military. With over 1,200 employees and 11 manufacturing locations, Safe Fleet targets markets with increasing demand for operator, passenger, and pedestrian safety. For more information about Safe Fleet and its portfolio of brands, please visit www.safefleet.net.
About Oak Hill Capital Partners
Oak Hill is a private equity firm managing funds with more than $10 billion of initial capital commitments since inception from leading global endowments and foundations, public and corporate pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, financial institutions, consultants, and family offices. Over the past 30 years, the professionals at Oak Hill and its predecessors have invested in over 85 significant private equity transactions across broad segments of the U.S. and global economies. Oak Hill applies an industry-focused, theme-based approach to investing in the following sectors: Industrials; Consumer, Retail & Distribution; Media & Communications; and Services. Oak Hill works actively in partnership with management to implement strategic and operational initiatives to create franchise value. For more information, please visit www.oakhillcapital.com.
About The Sterling Group
Founded in 1982, Sterling is a private equity investment firm that targets controlling interests in basic manufacturing, distribution and industrial services companies. Typical enterprise values of these companies range from $100 million to $750 million. Sterling has sponsored the buyout of 52 platform companies and numerous add-on acquisitions for a total transaction value of over $10.0 billion. Currently, Sterling has over $2.2 billion of assets under management. For further information, please visit www.sterling-group.com.
Statements included herein may constitute “forward-looking statements”, which relate to future events, the future performance, or financial condition of Safe Fleet following the acquisition of Safe Fleet by Oak Hill. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, condition, or results and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results and condition may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors.