Case Study

Entrepreneur Owner-Manager: Family Stockholders

Merger of Swenson Granite Company, LLC and Polycor, Inc.

Founded in 1883, Swenson Granite Company (and its affiliate Rock of Ages Corporation) is one of the largest producers of dimensional granite in the world.  Under the continuous ownership and leadership of the Swenson family since its inception, the Company operates nine quarries, five fabrication facilities, and seven retail locations which extract, manufacture, and sell over two million cubic feet of dimensional granite each year.

Bigelow Assignment

Since there was no successor to the fourth generation in the business, the Swenson family determined that it was time to position the Company for its next chapter of success by seeking the best next investor.

Could Bigelow architect an engagement to find and partner with an investor who would fully appreciate and build upon Swenson’s leading brands, unique products, and differentiated vertically-integrated strategy AND sustain the family legacy of recognized industry leader?

Unique Challenges

Swenson and Rock of Ages served a diverse set of end markets with wide geographic disparity, with customers ranging from the local landscaping contractor to the international building architect / owner.

Could Bigelow find an investor who would highly value two distinct brands with separate operations, management and go-to-market strategies?

Could Bigelow help the Company’s management dimension the opportunity for further growth in these different markets?

Outcome

Recognizing that Swenson is one of the largest companies in a highly-fragmented universe of dimensional stone producers, Bigelow negotiated a full-liquidity merger with Quebec-based Polycor, Inc., a leading international marketer of a wide range of finished marble, travertine, tile and granite products.

The transaction was enabled by institutional equity provided by TorQuest Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Toronto, and PNC Mezzanine, a subordinated debt and junior capital provider based out of Pittsburg, PA, along with a debt consortium led by the Bank of Montreal.

Swenson’s expert management team remains in place, while the Swenson family achieved its capstone event and moves on to their next chapter.

“I think the most critical service provided by Bigelow to us during the process was their extremely important work in initially positioning our company for sale by showing us what we needed to do beyond business as usual to demonstrate to buyers we were on an achievable path to dramatically grow earnings. Their very hard work and never ending diligence in managing the sale process, brought us a result far better than we expected when we started down the path.”

Kurt M. Swenson, Fourth Generation Family Owner and Chairman of the Board
Swenson Granite Company, LLC

“In an extremely complex transaction that required close management of multiple work-streams, Bigelow never lost sight of the most important things to bring this to a successful close.  Bigelow was able to achieve the highest value for Swenson’s shareholders, while ensuring that the Swenson family’s 130-year legacy would be honored and preserved.  Bigelow’s sensitivity to this legacy, and their ability to balance this with the need to find the best possible new owner made all the difference.”

Michael G. Tule, Esq., Company Counsel
McLane Middleton, Professional Association