Prospect Partners Acquires Dealers From Culligan International, Forms New Platform in Water Treatment Segment
With Divested Corporate Franchises, Prospect Partners Looks to Build Leading Independent Company
CHICAGO, Ill.—November 16, 2011: Prospect Partners, LLC, a leading private equity firm investing in smaller lower-middle-market companies, today announced that it has acquired eleven of the company-owned dealers of Culligan International, a Rosemont, Ill.-based global provider of household, commercial, and industrial water treatment products and services. In the acquisition, Prospect Partners partnered with two veteran Culligan operating executives and independent equity sponsor Stone Pointe, LLC, of Naperville, Ill. The acquired dealers, which cover six states, will continue to operate independently under the Culligan brand as units of a new platform company called Prospect Water Co. LLC.
Driven by its mission of providing "better water, pure and simple," Culligan, founded in 1936, is a worldwide water treatment leader, with a presence in 90 countries. As the industry's top brand, Culligan is the natural choice for consumers and businesses facing "hard water" or other "problem" water issues. The company distributes its water softeners, water filtration systems, bottled water, and other related products and services through a network of approximately 900 independently franchised and company-owned dealers.
The dealers acquired by Prospect Partners and Stone Pointe are located in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, Indiana, and Washington. Prospect Water Co. will be run by Don Fuller, CEO, and John Capone, COO. Mr. Fuller fulfilled a number of roles during his 34-year career at Culligan, and most recently was the Vice President of Operational Support for the Culligan-owned dealership division. In his 26 years at the company, Mr. Capone held various leadership positions in the Culligan-owned dealership division, and was responsible for sales, marketing, and operating activities at the branch, regional, and national levels. He most recently was Director-Central Sales, leading call center and lead generation activities for North America.
"We are excited to enter the water treatment segment and to back a talented management team in further building our independent Culligan franchises in their markets," said Louis Kenter, a Founding Principal of Prospect Partners. "We also look forward to partnering with Stone Pointe's Principal Lee Vandermyde, a proven independent equity sponsor we have known a long time and have worked with on other investments."
Going forward, Prospect Water Co. seeks to acquire other Culligan franchises, independent water service dealers, and providers of commercial or industrial water purification services.
Serving Prospect Water Co.'s Board are: Mr. Kenter, as Chairman; and Prospect Partners' Vice President Brad O'Dell and Stone Pointe's Mr. Vandermyde, as Directors.
About Prospect Partners, LLC
Prospect Partners is a leading private equity firm investing in smaller lower-middle-market companies, managing $470 million across three funds. A highly experienced and active investor, Prospect Partners focuses exclusively on management-led leveraged recapitalizations and acquisitions of niche market leaders with revenues typically under $75 million. Since 1998, Prospect Partners has invested opportunistically nationwide in more than 85 companies within a broad range of niche manufacturing, distribution, and specialty services markets. Based in Chicago, Prospect Partners also has an office in Menlo Park, Calif. For more information, visit www.prospect-partners.com.