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C.R. LAURENCE CO., INC.

We clearly made the right decision in selecting Greif & Co.―they demonstrated a unique combination of deal-making skill, industry expertise, tireless effort, dogged determination and trustworthiness. My objectives were achieved to my complete satisfaction.

Donald E. Friese

C.R. LAURENCE CO., INC.

Founded in 1963, C.R. Laurence Co. (“CRL”) is the leading, vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of architectural hardware, tools, equipment and supplies for the glass and glazing industry. The Company’s sole shareholder, Donald E. Friese, wanted to ensure the orderly transition of the company prior to age 80.  His objectives were to: (i) receive at least $1.0 billion in cash for the Company; (ii) maintain operational authority for at least five years after the sale; (iii) ensure executive compensation plans remained in place for five years; (iv) guarantee all CRL employees kept their jobs post-closing; and, (v) maintain all leases on CRL facilities owned personally by the shareholder at current rates and terms.

 

Mr. Friese had a strong preference for a strategic buyer and aversion to significant leverage post-transaction closing that might in any way imperil the future health and prosperity of CRL. In short, he wanted to have his cake and eat it, too, as these requirements severely constrained the potential cost-saving synergies available to strategic buyers. Mr. Friese retained the services of Greif & Co., well known for putting its clients’ interest first, to fulfill this tall order.

C.R. LAURENCE CO., INC.

Greif & Co. orchestrated and conducted a global auction, encompassing strategic buyers and a “who’s who” of private equity firms in Europe, Asia, and North America. We positioned CRL to appeal to strategic buyers focusing on the following key differentiators: (i) the “category killer” nature of the business; (ii) high competitive barriers to entry; (iii) successful track record of integrating accretive “bolt-on” acquisitions; (iv) diversification of product and geography as a competitive advantage; (v) high customer retention and longevity with no customer concentration; (vi) deepening share of customer wallet; (vii) cross-selling opportunities across categories; (viii) impressive sales growth through the Great Recession; (ix) high degree of operating leverage; and (x) “to die for” EBITDA margins. We focused on the most likely set of strategic buyers possessing revenue-enhancing synergies and customized marketing materials specifically to address a potential combination with each of these firms.

C.R. LAURENCE CO., INC.

Following a robust auction process, Dublin, Ireland-based CRH plc, the third largest building products company in the world, acquired CRL for $1.3 billion. The CRL acquisition was a hand-in-glove fit with CRL subsidiary Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope (“OBE”), the leading supplier of products specified to close the building envelope. Revenue-enhancing synergies included: (i) cross-selling of products between OBE customers (glass) and CRL customers (architectural hardware for glass); (ii) OBE supplying aluminum extrusions to CRL; (iii) OBE’s customer base more than quadrupling in size; and (iv) CRL gaining greater access to offshore customers in Europe and Asia based on CRH plc’s expansive network of facilities. The acquisition value represented a double-digit multiple of trailing 12 months EBITDA, an extremely attractive valuation for the cyclical building products industry. All of the CEO’s objectives including price were achieved in the transaction—and then some. For example: we obtained 20-year lease terms for all 36 of our client’s owned facilities with annual escalators.

 

The bottom line: our client achieved a 30% greater purchase price than target, operational control and his senior executive team locked in for five years, none of the company’s 1700 employees lost their jobs, and all leases were not only retained but substantially extended at fair market value rates.

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  • We clearly made the right decision in selecting Greif & Co.―they demonstrated a unique combination of deal-making skill, industry expertise, tireless effort, dogged determination and trustworthiness. My objectives were achieved to my complete satisfaction.

    Donald E. Friese

    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

    C.R. Laurence Co., Inc.

  • It was an extraordinary outcome.  Greif & Co. went above and beyond the call of duty and far exceeded our expectations.

    Lloyd Talbert

    President

    C. R. Laurence Co., Inc.

  • We paid a rich price for this.  It’s 13 times EBITDA. We like to sell businesses for that; we don’t like to buy businesses for that.

    Albert Manifold

    Chief Executive Officer

    CRH, plc

  • You’re the only investment banker I know who will take a deal to the edge to get the very best result for the client.  Most other investment bankers won’t go within 50 miles of the edge.

    Larry Braun, Esq.

    Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

  • Greif & Co.’s execution of the C.R. Laurence transaction was pure perfection.

    Tony Pritzker

    Managing Partner

    Pritzker Group Private Capital