Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm
Business partners Barry Turner, Jim Esser and Bill Troyk wanted to buy a trucking firm.
While looking through a business brokerage’s Web site, Turner thought he found the perfect acquisition target. However, the partners did not have enough capital to make the deal happen.
That’s when they turned to Corporate Financial Advisors LLC, a Milwaukee-based investment banking firm. With the help of CFA’s investment arm, CFA Capital Partners, the three partners acquired Badger Express Inc., a Fall River trucking, warehousing and logistics firm.
The partners previously had been on the opposite end of the merger-and-acquisition ledger. Turner, Esser and Troyk were formerly the president, chief financial officer and chairman, respectively, of Road Runner Freight Systems in Cudahy. In early 2005, Road Runner was acquired by Thayer Capital Partners, a private equity firm. Dawes Transport Inc. was also acquired by Thayer Capital Partners and was merged into Road Runner’s headquarters.
The three partners stayed with Road Runner for a few months after that merger, but they wanted something different and started looking for a business to purchase together.
"We looked at a number of other things, including getting out of trucking," Turner said.
However, they then found an opportunity to acquire Badger Express, and CFA made the deal possible by becoming a minority partner in the new ownership team.
"It was a very profitable company, a family owned and run business," Turner said.
First looks at the company’s books, operations and management plan were encouraging to the partners. However, it soon became clear that Turner, Esser and Troyk were going to need another partner if they were going to buy Badger Express.
Troyk knew Joe Sweeney, a managing director at CFA, from earlier business relationships.
"This is a management team we know well," said Joe Froehlich, another of CFA’s managing directors. "We have a high level of confidence in them. And it’s a good fit between their skills and what Badger has. Their strengths played right into any weaknesses there might have been at Badger. They’re in a position to have a quick and positive impact on the business."
"Our intention is to be there for a long time," Esser said. "I think we’ve got a great base, a great starting point."
Members of the Jourdan family, who sold Badger Express, have agreed to stay as employees, providing stability and continuity.
Badger Express has about 150 employees, 175 tractors and about 350 trailers. The company has a warehouse about three miles from its Fall River headquarters and has another operation in the Los Angeles area.
"We have the ability to bring some of our national contracts to help with asset utilization," Esser said.
Turner is the company’s president, Esser is chief financial officer and Troyk is chairman of the company’s board of directors.
"We’re spending a lot of time understanding the business and the people there," Turner said. "We’re not going to be making any rash decisions."
Long-term, the new owners are thinking about opening new trucking terminals in areas such as Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and a second location in Los Angeles, Turner said. The new management team may also consider additional acquisitions, he said, for strategic growth opportunities.
"We’re still learning what they’ve got and the areas we can improve on," Esser said. "We’re going to give ourselves the first year to understand what we’re doing before we make any major investments or change things."
Badger Express Inc.
Location: Fall River
Industry: Trucking, warehousing and shipment logistics
Web site: www.badgerexpress.com
New ownership team: Barry Turner, Jim Esser and Bill Troyk