Lincolnshire zooms to a triple with Holley Performance sale

Lincolnshire Management Inc has tripled its money with the sale of Holley Performance Products after five years, a source said.

Sentinel Capital Partners said Oct. 29 that it acquired Holley Performance and would combine it with portfolio company Driven Performance Brands. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Holley Performance is the Bowling Green, Kentucky, maker and marketer of products like carburetors, ignition boxes and superchargers for the auto-performance aftermarket.

Brands include MSD, Hooker, ACCEL, and Edge. The company, founded in 1903, has been owned by several private equity firms.

Kohlberg & Co reportedly sponsored a management buyout of Holley in 1998, investing $51 million for a 97 percent stake, according to press reports.

Holley filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and emerged in 2010.

Two years later, Monomoy Capital bought the company, selling it a year later, in 2013, to Lincolnshire. Terms were not disclosed, but Lincolnshire made the investment from  Lincolnshire Equity Fund IV LP.

Driven Performance, Santa Rosa, California, develops, markets and distributes automotive aftermarket products for cars, including late-model European imports, classic muscle cars and trucks.

Products include mufflers, exhaust kits, shifters, transmission kits, torque converters, and electronic tuning solutions. Sentinel acquired Driven Performance in 2015.

Holley has about 1,000 employees and is growing annually by 9 percent, said Phil Kim, a Lincolnshire managing director.

Holley’s products “are not just for those that race cars, but for hobbyists and the car culture,” noted Ben Bartlett, a Lincolnshire principal.

New York-based Lincolnshire invests in all industries, but especially niche manufacturing, distribution and service businesses.

Holley is the fourth exit for Lincolnshire in the past 22 months. Others include AmportsFabbri Group and National Pen.

The PE firm was expected to come to market in 2018 with its fifth buyout fund, AltAssets reported in April. The vehicle would be its first since Lincolnshire closed on $835 million for Fund IV in 2008. Lincolnshire declined comment on its fundraising plans.

Holley Performance was advised by David Solomon of Lazard Middle Market and Simon Canning of UBS. Kirkland & Ellis provided legal advice.

Action Item: Lincolnshire Managing Director Phil Kim can be reached at +1 212-319-3633.