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Frontenac to sell AH Harris

Frontenac, a Chicago-based private equity firm, is to sell AH Harris Construction Supplies, a leading distributor of specialty construction products, to HD Supply Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: HDS), one of the largest industrial distributors in North America. 

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, upon the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including obtaining required regulatory approvals. 

Founded in 1916 and headquartered in West Hartford, CT, AH Harris supplies high-quality construction products and equipment for contractors, construction companies and government entities in the concrete construction, repair & restoration, road & bridge, rebar & rebar fabrication, waterproofing and glazing markets. The company represents 500+ manufacturers and 13,000+ products, with over 600 experienced associates, a multitude of delivery options and over 50 convenient locations serving 14 states. 

Recapitalized by Frontenac in 2015, AH Harris has since achieved strong organic growth and completed the transformational acquisition of Kenseal Construction Products, a family- owned leading distributor of waterproofing, sealants, EIFS/stucco, glass/glazing and concrete masonry restoration products. Together with Kenseal, AH Harris has earned a clear leadership role in its industry by providing cutting-edge solutions and superior customer service. 

Michael Langdon, Managing Director of Frontenac, says: “Frontenac has greatly enjoyed partnering with the AH Harris team in transforming its business. During our ownership, we meaningfully increased the scale of the company’s leadership team, invested in the successful implementation of numerous organic growth initiatives, and through acquisition expanded the company’s product portfolio and end markets. All of these accomplishments contributed to a near doubling of revenue in just 2 1⁄2 years. AH Harris remains strongly positioned for continued growth to further support its customers’ needs. We are confident that AH Harris will continue its impressive growth trajectory and commitment to customer service under new ownership and leadership from HD Supply.” 

“I am proud of the growth in scale, capabilities and talent that AH Harris has achieved under Frontenac’s ownership,” says Brendan Deely, President and CEO of AH Harris. “Frontenac has served as a collaborative partner and trusted advisor to the company. They have worked closely with us to provide strategic perspective, support continued pursuit of organic and acquisition growth initiatives, and make proactive investments in people and processes. Our management team and associates are excited about the strong trajectory of the company and the opportunity to continue to grow with the support of HD Supply.” 

Neal Sahney, Vice President of Frontenac, adds: “Our successful investment in AH Harris demonstrates the Frontenac playbook at work. We leveraged our industrial services executive network to identify a unique investment opportunity; we augmented the company’s management team and board with experienced industry leaders; we leveraged our expertise with family-owned businesses; and we provided the capital to make strategic growth investments and complete a transformational acquisition. We are pleased to have worked with the leadership team to achieve this level of success with AH Harris, and we are excited about the company’s future.” 

Houlihan Lokey and Lincoln International acted as financial advisors to AH Harris with respect to the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel to the company. King & Spalding served as legal counsel to HD Supply. 

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