Greenwich, CT and Elkhart, IN – September 17, 2010 – Catterton Partners, the leading consumer-focused private equity firm in North America, today announced that it has sold a controlling stake in its portfolio company Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC (“Heartland”), one of the fastest growing manufacturers of towable RVs in America, to Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO) (“Thor”) for a total consideration in excess of $200 million in cash and stock.
Since partnering with the Heartland founders in early 2007, Catterton has worked with the Heartland management team to enable the company to become the fourth largest manufacturer of towable RVs in the U.S., up from the 12th position at the time of its investment. Over this period, Heartland has quadrupled its sales, earnings and market share by expanding its geographic reach, introducing innovative new product lines, and enhancing the overall customer experience, all while maintaining strong relationships with its loyal dealers. Recently, with Catterton’s support, Heartland also enhanced its brand portfolio through its acquisition of Fleetwood Enterprises’ towable brand portfolio.
Under Thor’s ownership, Heartland RV will continue to operate under the Heartland name and will maintain its current brand portfolio. Heartland will remain headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana, and will continue to be led by the company’s current management team under CEO Brian Brady.
“We are proud of the dramatic growth that Heartland has experienced, and we believe that the transaction with Thor will further accelerate Heartland’s growth,” said Scott Dahnke, Managing Partner of Catterton Partners. “This transaction pairs Heartland with the most successful RV company in the world; we are confident that it will be a winning combination for Heartland dealers and consumers. Industry fundamentals remain strong, and with Thor’s breadth, scale and financial resources, Heartland can continue to offer its dealers and consumers the highest quality products for great value, while continuing its record of product innovation and outstanding service. We are excited to be Thor shareholders and look forward to the substantial upside inherent in the combined company.”
“We are very excited about this transaction as it clearly benefits our dealers, our employees, our customers, and the entire Heartland family. Under Thor’s ownership, we will have access to increased financial and operational resources which will enable us to continue our strong momentum in the marketplace,” said Brian Brady, Chief Executive Officer of Heartland. “I want to thank our employees for their hard work and dedication to Heartland; their efforts have been a critical part of our success. We are pleased to bring Heartland’s creative energy and relentless commitment to excellence to the Thor family. The entire Heartland organization looks forward with great anticipation to continuing to offer our dealers and consumers the same best-in-class products and innovations that they have come to expect from Heartland.”
About Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC
Heartland is a leading manufacturer of towable recreational vehicles in the U.S. The Company markets over 15 brands of superior fifth wheel and travel trailer RVs and has captured the #3 market share in the Fifth Wheel category. Heartland’s towable RVs are sold through an independent network of dealers throughout the United States and Canada. The Company has over 1,000 employees. For more information about Heartland, visit www.heartlandrvs.com.
About Catterton Partners
With more than $2.5 billion under management, Catterton Partners is the leading consumer-focused private equity firm in North America. Since its founding in 1989, Catterton has leveraged its investment capital, strategic and operating skills, and network of industry contacts to establish one of the strongest private equity investment track records in the middle market consumer industry.
Catterton Partners invests in all major consumer segments, including Food and Beverage, Retail and Restaurants, Consumer Products and Services, and Media and Marketing Services. Representative investments that Catterton Partners has led include Breyers Yogurt, Cheddar’s Restaurants, O.N.E. (One Natural Experience) beverages, Nature’s Variety Pet Food and Restoration Hardware. Representative realized investments include Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Frederic Fekkai, Kettle Foods, Odwalla, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Wellness Pet Food.
More information about the consumer-focused private equity firm can be found at http://www.cpequity.com.
Brian Brady – Chief Executive Officer
For Catterton Partners:
Eric Brielmann / Andi Salas / Taylor Ingraham
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher