William Blair Advises Leading Manufacturer and Distributor of Specialty Elastomeric Components

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

William Blair & Company, in conjunction with its Asian affiliate, Business Development Asia(1) (BDA), advised Longwood Industries, Inc., a portfolio company of Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), in connection with the sale of Longwood to Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (NYSE:WAB) (Wabtec) for an undisclosed amount. The transaction closed on September 23, 2013 and marks the firm’s 12th industrials deal this year.

Transaction Highlights

  • Global reach enables comprehensive process: William Blair leveraged its platform of 18 offices in 13 countries and its global strategic buyer relationships to create a comprehensive, highly competitive sale process. The process generated wide interest from both global strategic and domestic financial buyers, spanning four continents.
  • Deep sector knowledge leads to premium valuation: William Blair’s plastics/rubber sector experience and knowledge of buyer bidding behaviors enabled the team to skillfully guide Longwood through a highly competitive process and deliver a premium outcome for our clients. The resulting purchase price was near the higher end of the estimated range.
  • Execution excellence minimizes uncertainty and shortens path to close: William Blair’s ability to manage multi-party, multi-country due diligence and proactively negotiate away contingencies resulted in a signed purchase agreement only three days after receipt of final bids and with no meaningful conditions to close. No exclusivity was granted prior to the signing of the purchase agreement. The transaction closed less than two weeks after receipt of final bids.

About the Companies

Longwood is a leading manufacturer and distributor of a broad line of specialty elastomeric (rubber and rubber composite) and related products. Based in Greensboro, N.C., the company serves a diverse base of blue-chip customers in multiple attractive, rapidly growing end markets, including oil and gas/fracking. Longwood has a multi-decade track record of manufacturing unique and complex rubber composite products, with the vast majority of its products requiring complex rubber formulations bonded to fabric, metal or plastic.

Wabtec is a leading supplier of value-added, technology-based products and services for rail, transit, and other global industries. Based in Wilmording, PA., Wabtec had $2.5 billion in sales and a $6.1 billion market cap at the time of the transaction. Wabtec has nearly 8,500 employees across about 50 manufacturing plants, service centers and sales offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.

Norwest Equity Partners, based in Minneapolis, MN is a leading private equity firm with nearly $5 billion in capital under management. Since 1961, the firm has been actively investing in profitable and growing middle market companies within the agriculture, applied technology, business services, consumer products & services, distribution, diversified industrials, and healthcare industry sectors.

(1) William Blair made a minority investment in Business Development Asia in October 2011.

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