PE-backed H-D buys FirstMark

H-D Advanced Manufacturing Company has acquired Firstmark Corp. Steen Associates Ltd. and Troutman Sanders LLP advised Firstmark on the transaction while TCW Direct Lending and PNC Business Credit provided financing for the deal. Based in Richmond, Virginia, Firstmark is a maker of components for the aerospace and defense industries. H-D is backed by The Riverside Company, Hicks Equity Partners and Weinberg Capital Group.


Pittsburgh, PA, June 30, 2015 – H-D Advanced Manufacturing Company (H-D), a manufacturer of highly engineered, mission-critical components, has acquired Firstmark Corp. (Firstmark), of Richmond, VA, through a cash merger, effective today. All Firstmark shares have been converted to a right to receive $9.66 per share in cash, subject to adjustments.

With facilities in Creedmoor, North Carolina and Plainview, New York, Firstmark manufactures a variety of highly engineered components and subsystems for the aerospace and defense industries. Through this acquisition, H-D has established its third industry vertical – Aerospace Technology – building on its established presence in Energy Consumables and Motion Control. Firstmark is the fourth aerospace business and eighth company that H-D has acquired since its formation in December 2012 as a partnership among The Riverside Company, Hicks Equity Partners and Weinberg Capital Group.

Firstmark manufactures highly engineered, mission-critical, aftermarket products for a broad mix of aerospace and defense platforms. These products include mechanical, electromechanical and electronic components and subsystems, OEM aftermarket parts, safety restraints and leading-edge inflatable safety solutions. The company has unique expertise in “solutions management” and possesses a vast library of drawings and prints, enabling it to make these critical components that are hard to find or no longer readily available for purchase. Matt Isley, Executive Vice President of Sales responsible for the Plainview operations, and David Devine, Executive Vice President of Operations responsible for the Creedmoor operations, will continue to lead Firstmark as part of H-D.

“Establishing an Aerospace Technology vertical has been a priority for H-D, and we are delighted to achieve this objective through the acquisition of Firstmark,” said H-D CEO, Chris DiSantis. “Over the last six decades, Firstmark has accumulated significant institutional knowledge in manufacturing hard-to-find replacement parts, making it an important partner to its impressive aerospace and defense industry customer base. Firstmark is led by an excellent management team, and we look forward to working with and supporting Matt Isley and David Devine in establishing a leading Aerospace Technology business, with Firstmark at its core.”

Bill Coogan, Chairman, CEO and the largest shareholder of Firstmark, is excited by this important step for the company and its employees.

“We are very proud of what our team has accomplished over the last 13 years, and seeing Firstmark become part of H-D is a terrific development,” Coogan said. “H-D and its ownership group share our deep commitment to world-class manufacturing excellence and exceptional customer service and have identified a range of attractive opportunities to further develop the Firstmark business. The financial, operational and business development resources that H-D brings should ensure a successful future for Firstmark’s customers, suppliers and employees. Theresa Riddle, our President and Chief Financial Officer, and I will miss working with our exceptional employee partners, but we know they will be in good hands with H-D.”

Tom Hicks, Chairman of Hicks Equity Partners, said, “The establishment of an Aerospace Technology business through the addition of Firstmark is a key achievement for H-D. Our ownership group is excited to support Chris DiSantis and his team as they continue to build a leading manufacturer of highly engineered, critical components.”

Riverside Principal Rob Langley added, “Firstmark is an ideal fit with H-D’s vision to build a complementary portfolio of manufacturers of mission-critical, difficult-to-make precision components. H-D now offers a wide array of solutions for the energy consumable, aerospace technology and motion control markets. We are excited about continuing to build a sophisticated and diversified leader in precision engineered products.”

H-D Advanced Manufacturing continues to seek add-on acquisition opportunities in highly engineered, critical components, including energy related consumable products used in drilling or production related applications, mechanical, electromechanical and electronic components and subsystems used in aerospace and defense and motion control companies.

Riverside Origination Principal Jim Butterfield sourced the transaction for H-D. Jones Day and KPMG provided legal and accounting advice to H-D. TCW Direct Lending and PNC Business Credit provided financing for the acquisition. Steen Associates Ltd., of London, and Troutman Sanders LLP advised Firstmark in the transaction.

H-D Advanced Manufacturing Company
H-D Advanced Manufacturing Company manufactures severe duty, high-precision products for “mission critical” applications. H-D is led by Chris DiSantis, the former CEO of Latrobe Specialty Metals (Latrobe) and the former President and COO of Hawk Corporation, and Dale Mikus, the former CFO of Latrobe. H-D strives to enable its customers to be leaders in their respective industries by providing world class products, excellent customer service, highly responsive lead times and efficient manufacturing operations. H-D’s eight operating companies are organized into three industry verticals: Aerospace Technology, Motion Control and Energy Consumables.

The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing businesses valued at up to $300 million. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 390 transactions. The firm’s international portfolio includes more than 80 companies. ( or

Hicks Equity Partners
Hicks Equity Partners is the private equity arm for Hicks Holdings LLC, a holding company for the Thomas O. Hicks family’s assets. With 40 years of private equity experience, Mr. Hicks pioneered the “buy and build” strategy of investing and founded Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, which raised more than $12 billion of private equity across six funds and completed over $50 billion of leveraged acquisitions. Hicks Equity Partners looks for established companies with proven track records, strong free cash flow characteristics, a strong competitive industry position and an experienced management team looking to partner with long-term capital.

Weinberg Capital Group
Weinberg Capital Group is a Cleveland, Ohio-based family office that specializes in acquiring well-positioned middle-market companies. The group has an established track record of success in the ownership and growth of global manufacturing enterprises. (