Gryphon Investors (“Gryphon”), a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to make a significant investment in Mechanix Wear® (or the “Company”), a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance work gloves. Working alongside current owner and CEO Michael Hale, who will retain an ownership stake in the Company, Gryphon intends to build a leading platform in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sector. The transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in 1991 by Jim Hale, Mechanix Wear is the leader in automotive, construction, industrial, and tactical hand protection. Mr. Hale’s son Michael Hale, who joined the Company in 2005 and has been CEO since 2016, has overseen the Company’s rapid growth and international expansion. A globally recognized brand, Mechanix Wear has a reputation for delivering consistent superior performance, quality, and reliability, and has gained a loyal and growing following of passionate consumers. Headquartered in Valencia, California, the Company sells its products in more than 20,000 retail store locations across more than 70 countries and through industrial distributors.
As part of the transaction, Jesse Spungin is joining Mechanix Wear as President and COO, succeeding current COO Bari Waalk, who will leave the Company in December after 30 years of service to pursue new opportunities. Mr. Spungin, who will be responsible for leading Sales, Marketing, and Operations globally, was most recently President at K&N Engineering, the industry leader in automotive filtration and technology and a previous Gryphon portfolio investment.
Keith Stimson, Partner and Head of the Consumer Products and Services Group at Gryphon, said, “Our investment in Mechanix Wear continues Gryphon’s long-time successful activity of supporting enthusiast and active lifestyle brands. Mechanix Wear is an authentic brand stemming from its NASCAR heritage beginning almost 30 years ago, and has built a large, loyal user base. We’re excited to partner with the Company as we build the business together to its next stage in its evolution as the market leader in hand protection.”
Gryphon Consumer Products and Services Group Operating Partner Dennis O’Brien added, “Michael Hale and his management team have built a work glove brand that workers and consumers around the world associate with innovation, quality, and operational excellence, and we intend to help them build on that promise. Gryphon’s investment will enable the Company to accelerate organic growth and drive best in sector product innovation, while maintaining the highest attention to serving its customers and consumers.”
“We’re pleased to partner with Gryphon, which has a long track record of helping family-owned companies successfully grow their businesses,” said Mr. Hale. “With the support of Gryphon’s deep operational resources and our new President and COO, we look to capitalize on Mechanix Wear’s leadership position and strong brand to accelerate growth across channels, including retail, e-commerce, industrial, and federal, as well as geographies, including North America, Asia, and Europe.”
“Hand protection is an important and growing need in the modern economy, and Mechanix Wear is the most coveted brand with a long-standing leading market position at the high end of the market, where demand is growing fastest,” said Ryan Fagan, Senior Vice President at Gryphon. “We look forward to working with Michael, Jesse, and the rest of the management team to support the Company’s organic growth and to identify attractive acquisitions to grow the platform.”
EC M&A and Houlihan Lokey acted as Gryphon’s financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis as the firm’s legal advisor. Doug Hood was financial advisor to Mechanix Wear, and Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth was legal advisor to the Company.
About Mechanix Wear®
Since the debut of the Original® work glove at the 1991 Daytona 500, Mechanix Wear has built a reputation as the leader in automotive, construction, industrial, and tactical hand protection. Our mission is to look beyond conventional ideas and continually innovate the most advanced gloves for working hands. The Tool That Fits Like a Glove®. For more information, visit www.mechanix.com.
About Gryphon Investors
Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors (www.gryphoninvestors.com) is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management teams. The firm has managed over $4.9 billion of equity investments and capital since 1997. Gryphon V is targeting equity investments of approximately $100 million to $300 million, per portfolio company, including often co-investments by its limited partners. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form strong partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.