Deal of the Year Awards

DOY award cover panorama

Since 1990, the editors of Buyouts have honored exceptional buyouts with our Deal of the Year Awards. Winners are chosen in six categories: Deal of the Year, Large Market Deal of the Year, Middle Market Deal of the Year, Small Market Deal of the Year, Turnaround of the Year, and International Deal of the Year.

Do you have a great deal our editors should know about? We’d love to hear from you. Go here to download a PDF of the DOYA application.

Here are some of our past winners.

2017

Our Deal of the Year winner for 2017 is Anchor Glass Container, a company that to most people may not have looked like much of a winner when KPS Capital Partners acquired it in 2014.

Anchor Glass, which makes glass bottles used by the liquor, beverage and food sectors, filed for bankruptcy three times in the 20 years before KPS’s acquisition. The glass sector started losing market share to plastic packagers in the 1990s, and many glass plants had been shuttered when KPS carved Anchor out of Ardagh Group.

KPS had some experience in the sector after having owned North American Breweries Holdings, a beer company with brands including Genesee. KPS had a view on the glass market that it was stable and that Anchor was a good business.

Through extensive operational improvements, KPS was able to boost EBITDA nearly 59 percent in less than three years.

KPS’s sale earned the vaunted Deal of the Year for several reasons: an initial complex carve-out; operational improvements; a vision of success for a company and a sector largely out of favor; and a strong return.

All our Deal of the Year candidates this year had aspects that could have put them over the top, but our final winners just had a little something more. Carlyle Group helped expand a family-owned medical-implants-forging business Groupe Marle into an international force in the industry.

Providence Equity found a way to monetize going to church through Ministry Brands, which makes software for faith-based organizations. The deal earned Providence an about 1,200 percent internal rate of return.

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, though its Senior Helpers investment, showed that senior-care franchising is a model that can be replicated outside of the U.S. And American Capital’s former Special Situations group carved out a money-losing corporate orphan called Service Experts and turned it into a profitable enterprise that earned the firm a 184 percent IRR.

All these deals display what is best in private equity: the courage to look where others won’t; the nerve to put risk capital into a money-losing business; the creativity to develop a theme; and the savvy to execute on that theme, model out a limited-hold investment and produce a fat return.

Each of our five categories was well represented this year, and we hope to continue the trend for years to come. If your submission didn’t make the cut in 2017, don’t hesitate to come back large next year. We can’t wait to see what you do! —Chris Witkowsky

  • DEAL OF THE YEAR/Middle Market Deal of the Year: KPS Capital Partners for Anchor Glass Container, which makes glass packaging products used by the liquor, beverage and food sectors. Read the full story.
  • Large Market Deal of the Year: Providence Equity Partners (via growth equity arm Providence Strategic Growth) for Ministry Brands, a software company that provides cloud-based technology for faith-based institutions, including churches and schools. Read the full story.
  • Small Market Deal of the Year: Levine Leichtman for Senior Helpers, a franchiser of in-home companion care and personal care to patients suffering from diseases like dementia. Read the full story.
  • Turnaround Deal of the Year: American Capital Ltd for Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning, formerly a unit of Lennox International. Read the full story.
  • International Deal of the Year: Carlyle Group for Groupe Marle, a manufacturer of medical implants. Read the full story.

2016

Our Deal of the Year winner this year is a bakery that started out as a regional operation in Chicago, and under the guidance of its private equity owners, expanded its customer base to include WalMart Stores Inc and Burger King Corp.

This is the kind of story we love to hear about when judging Deal of the Year entries — it represents the value private equity can bring to the table: taking a family-owned, regional business and growing it.

All of our submissions this year had aspects that could qualify them for top honors, which made it tough to narrow our list down to five. It’s refreshing to see so many of you take such pride in your work. Many of the submissions we received comprised multi-page write-ups that reflected the joy you took in telling the story of your deals.

So, it’s with great pleasure, that I announce our Deal of the Year winners for 2016. Each one represents the hard work, dedication and pride you put into your work. —Chris Witkowsky

  • DEAL OF THE YEAR/Middle Market Deal of the Year: Arbor Investments for Gold Standard Baking, which makes low-cost croissants and Danishes. Read the full story.
  • Large Market Deal of the Year: Charlesbank Capital Partners for FullBeauty Brands, a specialist in plus-sized clothing. Read the full story.
  • Small Market Deal of the Year: The Riverside Company for Eemax, a maker of tankless water heaters for commercial, residential and industrial properties. Read the full story.
  • European Deal of the Year: GTCR for Premium Credit Ltd, which provides insurance premium financing to small businesses and individuals. Read the full story.
  • Turnaround Deal of the Year: Sun Capital Partners for Point Blank Enterprises Inc, which makes body armor for law enforcement and military officers around the world. Read the full story.

2015

One of the great aspects of private equity is the industry’s dedication to companies that actually make stuff.

For all the negative press private equity gets in the mainstream media, the majority of deals end up successful to varying degrees, making money for GPs and LPs and producing stronger companies with more efficient systems, new products and expanded markets.

It’s with great pleasure, then, that I announce our Deal of the Year winners for 2015. Every one of them highlights the hard work and value that private equity brings to companies that make things that touch us in our daily lives. —Chris Witkowsky

  • DEAL OF THE YEAR/Large Market Deal of Year: KPS Partners for Waupaca Foundry, a maker of iron castings that are used to fabricate parts for cars and industrial machines. Read the full story.
  • Small Market Deal of Year: High Road Capital Partners for Handi Quilter, a producer of quilting machine. Read the full story.
  • Middle Market Deal of Year: Kinderhook Industries for Tectum Holdings, a manufacturer of bed covers and bed liners for pickup trucks. Read the full story.
  • European Deal of Year: The Carlyle Group for Sermeta, a maker of of stainless steel heat exchangers used in domestic and commercial boilers. Read the full story.

2014

  • DEAL OF THE YEAR/International Deal of the Year: The Riverside Company for Capol GmbH, which makes polishing and anti-sticking agents for products such as jellybeans, gummy bears and aspirin. Read the full story.
  • Turnaround Deal of the Year: Sun Capital Partners for Captain D’s Seafood Restaurant, which operates a chain of seafood restaurants. Read the full story.
  • Large Market Deal of the Year: Oak Hill Capital Partners for Local TV Holdings, operator of television stations. Read the full story.
  • Middle Market Deal of the Year: ACON Investments for Spencer Spirit Holdings, a mall-based retailer of novelties for young people. Read the full story.
  • Small Market Deal of the Year: SunTx Capital Partners for Huron Inc, a supplier of machined steel rods for the auto industry. Read the full story.