Curt Manufacturing Bought by Private Equity Group

Mar 15, 2014

Boston-based private equity firm Audax Group has acquired Curt Manufacturing from Pfingsten Partners, another private equity firm. A purchase price was not disclosed.

Curt, based in Eau Claire, Wis., is a leading manufacturer, importer and distributor of towing system products, OE trailer products and specialty equipment products.

“For the last three-and-a-half years, we were owned by another PE firmed called Pfingsten, and we graduated to a bigger firm to help support our growth. It is typical progression of a company as it grows, but we’re still private and we (management) still run the company,” said Curt CEO Greg Hooks. He added, “Since 2000, we’ve experienced double-digit compound growth every year. So what we’re doing with Audax is very simple. It’s a bigger partner with more capabilities and things will only get better for our customers.”

Jay Mitchell, managing director of Audax Group, said the company has a number of automotive-related companies in its portfolio, but that Curt is its first entry into the area of hitches and towing.

“Curt is a leading player in the towing products industry, and we are excited to partner with Curt’s management team on this investment,” Mitchell said. “We believe that we can help the business continue to grow organically and through add-on acquisitions. We were attracted to many elements of Curt’s business: its talented management team and employee base, its leading position in the towing products industry, its track record of growth, and most importantly, Curt’s quality products and customer service.  These attributes made us excited to invest in Curt and help the team continue to grow the business.”

Chicago-based Pfingsten Partners, which manages roughly $1 billion in combined investments, acquired Curt in 2010. Pfingsten’s said its sale of Curt to Audux was finalized last week.

Founded in 1999, Audax Group is a private equity firm specializing in middle market companies. It manages more than $5 billion of assets through private equity, mezzanine debt, and private senior debt businesses. The company’s private equity arm, Audax Private Equity, reports it has invested more than $2.5 billion over 70 platform investments and 275 add-on acquisitions.