Total Safety gets flipped for third time, to Littlejohn

Littlejohn & Co has acquired a majority of Total Safety, becoming the fourth private equity firm to own the company.

Littlejohn closed its buy of Total Safety on March 8, a statement said. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Formed in 1994, Total Safety, Houston, serves the oil-and-gas industry with safety and compliance services as well as the products necessary to support them, including gas detection, respiratory protection, safety training, and fire protection.

Total Safety operates 150 locations in 21 countries. The company reported $385 million in revenue for the year ended March 31, 2016, Moody’s said.

Warburg Pincus appears to be the seller. Total Safety is no longer listed on the firm’s website and a spokesman declined comment.

Warburg acquired Total Safety in 2011. The deal was valued at about $485 million, including $235 million in debt, Moody’s said. Since 2011, Total Safety has made nine acquisitions, including deals for Z-Gate, Flare Ignitors and Z-Safety Services.

Warburg bought Total Safety from DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, which acquired the company in December 2006. H.I.G. Capital was the seller. That deal included $68 million of equity and $130 million in first- and second-lien debt, Buyouts reported.

H.I.G. bought Total Safety in 2003.

Littlejohn, Greenwich, Connecticut, invests in sectors including food and beverage, logistics, electronics/electrical and automotive. The firm typically makes equity investments of $50 million to $150 million. In August, Littlejohn sold a minority stake in the firm to Goldman Sachs Alternative Investments & Manager Selection Group Petershill program. Terms weren’t disclosed.

In 2014, Littlejohn closed its fifth fund on its $2 billion hard cap.

The winner is…

Secondary deals, in which a buyout shop sells a portfolio company to another PE firm, have become the norm in PE. Since 2012, some 27 percent of all PE purchases by value have been secondary buyouts, Thomson Reuters said. Last year saw 458 secondary transactions valued at $91.2 billion, Thomson Reuters said. This compares with 2015, when 456 secondary deals totaled $92.3 billion.

Several companies have been traded among PE firms. The honors for the most number of PE sales go to Simmons Bedding, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014. Wesray Capital, Merrill Lynch Capital Partners, Investcorp, Fenway and Thomas H. Lee Partners each owned Simmons before it filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2009, the WSJ said.

Ares Management and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan then acquired Simmons in 2010. They combined it with National Bedding, which was then sold to Advent International for $3 billion, press reports show. Advent still owns Serta Simmons Bedding, the firm’s website said.

Littlejohn and Total Safety could not be reached for comment.

Action Item: Contact Troy Thacker, Total Safety president and CEO: +1 713-353-7100

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