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PE firm Blue Point buys Transtar Autobody parent company

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Blue Point Capital Partners on Friday announced it had bought Transtar Holding Company, the transmission and driveline-focused conglomerate whose subsidiaries also include Transtar Autobody Technologies.

Terms of the deal between the two Cleveland, Ohio-area companies were not disclosed. Transtar Holding on Friday described the private equity firm as purchasing a majority stake.

Blue Point says it tends to invest in market leaders doing between $25 million and $300 million in revenue and posting earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization that are higher than $7 million.

“Having known the Transtar leadership team for many years, I could not be more thrilled to officially welcome them to the Blue Point family of companies,” Blue Point Partner Chip Chaikin said in a statement. “This partnership is a natural fit for the cultures of both organizations and aligns perfectly with Blue Point’s investment focus. We’re looking forward to working alongside this team to usher in the next phase of Transtar’s growth.”

Blue Point said the purchase will “accelerate the Company’s growth through continued refinement of its industry-leading e-commerce technology, enhancement of supply chain efficiencies and execution of strategic add-on acquisitions.” Transtar Holdings called itself now “well-positioned” to grow by “acquiring
respected transmission industry distributors in key markets.”

Blue Point said it could also offer Transtar its distribution and supply chain experience, noting that manufacturing and distribution businesses represented 70 percent of the PE firm’s portfolio.

It’ll be interesting to see what Blue Point does with Transtar Autobody. The company represents a bit of an outlier among Transtar Holdings’ portfolio, which is dominated by powertrain and driveline distribution companies. Other business lines include air conditioning manufacturer ATCO and performance parts distributor Nickels.

“We are excited to grow the Transtar Autobody Technologies (TAT) business, which in addition to its primary offerings of automotive primers, sealers, and coats, also produces hand sanitizer and surface disinfectants,” Transtar said in a statement.

Transtar Autobody says it strives “to be the leading value-based provider of body shop solutions in the automotive aftermarket.” Brands and lines include “Signature Series,” “ClearSystem” “No Mix” and “Hydroflex” refinishing products; “Ultimate Finish System” products for detailing; and “Ultra Flex” seam sealers.

Blue Point on Friday singled out one portfolio company: Transtar’s electronic procurement platform “transend.”

The PE firm said the software had “revolutionized the customer experience by addressing inefficiencies that have plagued the driveline and transmission repair market for decades.”

“(T)ransend’s intelligence layer leverages an extensive proprietary database to simplify the buying process—offering reliable product recommendations, providing live inventory availability and allowing customers to transact seamlessly,” Blue Point continued. “With the help of Blue Point’s own Data & Digital capabilities, Transtar is well-positioned to build upon transend’s success and capitalize on opportunities to gain market share.”

Transtar CEO Neil Sethi and Chief Operating Officer Joe Levanduski will continue in those jobs and still own a piece of the company. Transtar Chairman and founder Monte Ahjua will become a director and continue to hold a stake as well, while Chaikin will succeed him as board chairman.

“I am very proud of the progress we have made to strengthen Transtar during the last four years,” Sethi said in a statement. “Our customer and supplier relationships are stronger than ever, and we are well-positioned to build on our market leadership. We are excited about collaborating with Blue Point to enter into a new growth phase, which will include organic growth initiatives and planned acquisitions.”

More information:

“Blue Point Makes Platform Acquisition of Transtar in Local Partnership to Accelerate Data-Enabled Growth”

Blue Point, Jan. 22, 2021

“Transtar Holding Company Announces Sale to Blue Point Capital Partners”

Transtar, Jan. 22, 2021

Transtar Autobody Technologies

Featured image: The Transtar Industries logo is shown. (Provided by Transtar)

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