Headquartered in Thomaston, CT, Ward Leonard has specialized in the design and manufacturing of state-of-the-art motors, control components and systems integration solutions for surface, subsurface, and land-based applications for more than 125 years. Its mission critical products are installed on every active U.S. Navy platform afloat today. Ward Leonard designs, manufactures and services MIL-Spec AC motors, including the Low Noise/Noise Quiet and Submersible Duty motors ranging from 1/16 to 350 horsepower. The Company also offers hundreds of electronic control products for marine utilization, including Automatic Bus Transfers, Contactors, Control Systems, Controllers, Lights and Lenses, Overload Relays, Parts, Starters & Push Button Stations, and Switches. Additionally, the Company provides specialized generators and motors up to 5000 H.P. for energy and other heavy industrial applications and a wide range of repair, maintenance, storage and service out of its Gulf Coast facilities.
Carter Morse & Goodrich has enjoyed a 15-year relationship with Jon Carter, Chairman and CEO, and the Ward Leonard management team. After advising on several strategic transactions over the years, CMG was engaged to advise Jon as he sought to divest the Company in 2019. CMG managed a disciplined auction process to find a strategic partner and to continue the Ward Leonard legacy. With the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, the sale process was temporarily put on hold, then resumed later in the year.
Arcline Investment Management, a private equity firm headquartered in San Francisco with $1.5billion in committed capital, submitted a preemptive offer to acquire the military business of the Company through their portfolio company Fairbanks Morse. Headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin, they manufacture and service heavy-duty, medium-speed reciprocating engines under the Fairbanks Morse® and ALCO® brand names, which are used primarily in marine and power generation applications. From start to finish, the transaction took approximately 60 days. George Whittier, CEO of Fairbanks Morse, said “The acquisition of Ward Leonard expands the Fairbanks Morse product portfolio into complementary technologies, positioning us to serve as a power systems integrator to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.”
It was important to the shareholders that the buyer not only create satisfactory liquidity but also provide a great opportunity for management who will continue to lead the new combined company. Fairbanks Morse will maintain the approximately 150 employees based in Thomaston, Connecticut. Following the transaction, Mr. Carter will continue to manage Ward Leonard Energy which will operate its motor maintenance, service and repair businesses at its locations in Houma, LA and Houston, TX.
Jon Carter commented: “The divestiture process was complex, yet efficient and I’m pleased to say that Ward Leonard has found a perfectly complementary home in its affiliation with Fairbanks Morse. Over the many years we’ve known each other, the team at Carter Morse & Goodrich has played an invaluable role in the evolution of the company and in making this transaction happen. I am deeply appreciative of their guidance, professionalism and friendship.
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