Platinum Equity added Van Nuys electronic testing equipment rental company Electro Rent Corp. to its portfolio in a $323 million deal to take the company private.
Tom Gores’ Beverly Hills-based investment vehicle paid $13.12 per share, which represents a 24 percent premium for shareholders.
The deal comes on the heels of Electro Rent Chief Executive Daniel Greenberg’s announcement he would retire in early July after 35 years at the helm. Greenberg and his brother Phillip Greenberg together own 26 percent of the outstanding company shares and they supported the sale to Platinum Equity.
Steven Markheim, Electro Rent’s president and chief operating officer, was tapped in May to take over as chief executive, a move the private equity fund said will stand.
“We look forward to working closely with the company’s experienced leadership to put Electro Rent in the best position to take full advantage of future opportunities,” Platinum Equity Partner Louis Samson said in a statement.
Electro Rent, which rents, leases, and sells electronic testing equipment to defense contractors, aerospace firms, and other high-tech companies, has seen its income fall since an agreement with Santa Rosa-based Keysight Technologies to resell equipment to small- and medium-sized businesses expired last May.
The company posted net income of about $1 million for the quarter ended Feb. 29, down significantly from the $2.4 million it earned in the year-ago period. Revenue of $39.5 million in the most recent quarter was down 30 percent from the year earlier.
Electro Rent’s stock has also taken a beating since a peak in 2013 at $21.32, bottoming out at $7.74 in January. It closed at $13 June 1 after news of the deal broke, up more than 23 percent from the week earlier, making it one of the top gainers on the LABJ Index. (See page 40.)
Platinum Equity has a history of taking rental companies and spinoffs private, although most of those transactions involved heavy-equipment businesses. The firm purchased Crane Rental Corp. last May and folded it into its Maxim Crane Works portfolio company. Platinum Equity also grabbed Volvo’s heavy-equipment rental business in February 2014, which it rebranded as Blue Line Rental.
The deal is expected to close in the next 90 to 120 days. The company will not pay its next stock dividend, which was set for July.
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