Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells has acquired Onalaska-based L.B. White Co. Inc., along with management and other co-investors. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
L.B. White, founded by Lyall White in 1952, manufactures forced-air, radiant and variable rate heating equipment and parts used in the swine, poultry and construction sectors worldwide. Rick Diermeier and Jeff Diermeier sold their ownership interests in the transaction, and chief financial officer Kevin Gagermeier will continue as an owner of the business. The three purchased the firm from Tony Wilson and Warren Quinlisk in 2010. Gagermeier will succeed Rick as president and chief executive officer when he retires in October. Rick will continue as a member of the board, and all other employees will be retained in the transaction.
The acquisition by Mason Wells will provide the capital needed for L.B. White to accelerate its growth, the company’s leaders said.
“Our ability to innovate, manufacture and distribute our mission critical products on a global scale provides a strong platform for growth,” Gagermeier said. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Mason Wells to help us grow given their strong financial backing and other resources that will fuel our ability to continue serving our customers with high-quality products.”
Mason Wells said the workforce, product development, market position and management at L.B. White contributed to its decision to buy the company.
“These key factors along with the relationships that L.B. White has forged with its customers and suppliers have enabled the business to achieve a high level of success over the past 65 years,” said Jay Radtke, managing director of Mason Wells. “We are excited to support the team at L.B. White to continue growing the business through strong customer service, quality products and innovation.”
Mason Wells, which has about $1 billion in assets under management, is investing out of its $615 million fourth private equity fund, Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV. It expected to invest in between 10 and 14 companies over four to five years with Fund IV, beginning in February 2016. So far, it has acquired L.B. White, Milwaukee-based Calypso drink maker King Juice Co. Inc. and Germantown-based MGS Mfg. Group Inc.