Posted September 17, 2018

BlackHawk acquired by investor group

Snow Phipps Group announced that it has completed its acquisition of BlackHawk Industrial Distribution Inc. from Brazos Private Equity Partners.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, BlackHawk is a distributor of cutting tools, abrasives and industrial MRO products used in manufacturing, aerospace & defense, energy, auto aftermarket, construction, general industrial, medical and agriculture applications. The company was founded by Brazos Partners in 2010 in conjunction with Bill Scheller, former CEO and president of ORS Nasco.

“BlackHawk is a differentiated platform with many of the characteristics we look for in industrial investments,” said John Pless, partner at Snow Phipps. “We look forward to building on the company’s strong reputation and unique market position to continue growing the business both organically and through highly strategic acquisitions.”

Snow Phipps will partner with the existing BlackHawk management team led by CEO John Mark and CFO Karl Scott. “We are very excited to be partnering with Snow Phipps. They bring significant relevant experience and are the ideal firm to help us in our next stage of growth,” said Mark.

Snow Phipps operating partner John Schweig will join BlackHawk as the non-executive chairman of the board of directors. Previously, Schweig was senior vice president and chief strategy officer for W.W. Grainger.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with the BlackHawk team to execute our shared strategy,” Schweig said. “John and Karl have done a superb job of building a solid platform and strong team to deliver top-notch products and expertise. We look forward to driving growth while maintaining Blackhawk’s outstanding service.”

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal counsel to Snow Phipps in the transaction.

Snow Phipps is a private equity firm focused on lower middle-market control investments with $2.4 billion of total capital commitments raised since its founding in 2005.

“We could not be more pleased with the success of BlackHawk,” said Randall Fojtasek, current managing partner of CenterOak Partners and former co-founder and co-CEO of Brazos. “We have a long track record of investing in specialty distribution businesses across numerous end markets and this transaction represents the successful execution of our investment thesis in the industrial distribution space. While completing five platform and 15 add-on investments for CenterOak, our team has also worked tirelessly to build BlackHawk and maximize value for our partners. We are thrilled with the outcome for our investors and for the management team, and we wish them continued success.”

Bill Scheller, former BlackHawk CEO and current CenterOak Operating Partner, added, “It has been an incredible run with the team and I have truly enjoyed the partnership, leveraging their expertise in the space to generate value for shareholders. BlackHawk has built a leading market position over the last eight years, and we wish the current CEO John Mark and his team success as they focus on the continued growth of the business.”

“We have completed two successful investments and exits alongside Bill Scheller in the industrial distribution space and look forward to working with Bill on a third distribution opportunity at CenterOak Partners,” added Fojtasek.