NEW YORK – Wellspring Capital Management LLC (“Wellspring”) today announced that it has acquired Qualitor, Inc. (“Qualitor” or the “Company”), a leading global supplier of branded aftermarket safety and wear products for the automotive aftermarket, from an affiliate of HCI Equity Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Michigan and operating six North American locations and two business units, Qualitor provides wiper blades and auto care accessories (Pylon®), as well as brake hardware and related components (International Brake Industries®), to the automotive aftermarket. The Company is the market leader in hybrid blades that it sells under a variety of iconic brand names, including Michelin, and is the top North American supplier of brake hardware to the automotive aftermarket.
William F. Dawson, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Wellspring, said, “We are delighted to invest in Qualitor, which has built a strong platform for future growth under its recession-resistant and highly efficient, asset-lite business model. We intend to work closely with management in order to drive further improvements in marketing, product development and distribution, and our team at Wellspring is eager to press forward.”
John E. Morningstar, a Managing Partner of Wellspring, said, “We were attracted to Qualitor for its unique market position and compelling growth opportunities in the $240 billion U.S. automotive aftermarket. The Company and management team have a proven track record of performance under a variety of macroeconomic conditions, and will pursue a variety of new initiatives to further enhance the value of Qualitor and its market opportunities.”
Qualitor’s products are functioning components that are critical to safe vehicle operation. Due to their design and purpose, Qualitor’s products also wear out regularly. As a result, the Company’s products enjoy strong consistent demand across the entire vehicle population. According to IMR, Inc., out of 96 various types of repair and maintenance jobs, Qualitor’s products were among top ten most-replaced components in 2012.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal counsel to Wellspring with respect to the transaction, Alvarez and Marsal Transaction Advisory Group provided finance, accounting and tax advice, and Equity Risk Partners advised on insurance and employee benefits.
About Qualitor, Inc.
Qualitor, Inc. is a leading diversified supplier of aftermarket safety and wear parts for the automotive industry. Through two business units, Qualitor provides wiper blades and auto care accessories (Pylon) and brake hardware and related components (International Brake Industries) to the automotive aftermarket.
About Wellspring Capital Management
Wellspring Capital Management, founded in 1995, is a leading middle-market private equity firm that manages more than $3 billion of private equity capital. The firm’s objective is to bring partnership, experience and value creation to each investment. By teaming up with strong management, Wellspring is able to unlock underlying value and pursue new growth opportunities through strategic initiatives, operating improvements and add-on acquisitions. The firm functions as a strategic rather than tactical partner, providing management teams with top-line support, M&A experience and financial expertise, and access to resources. For additional information, please visit www.wellspringcapital.com.