Harbour Group sees a sea of possibility in the art of acquisition-making. The investment firm has holdings in the consumer and industrial product manufacturing and distribution industries. It focuses on investing in and building North American companies valued from $30 million to $500 million. The company's portfolio includes both new and mature businesses that make everything from plastic processing equipment (Plastic Automation Exchange) and LED lighting (Watchfire) to music and entertainment systems (Merit Industries) and kitchen and bath hardware (Top Knobs USA). The Fox family controls Harbour Group.
The company has made more than 160 acquisitions since it was founded in 1976. An active, long-term investor, Harbour Group works with its portfolio companies to develop strategic and growth initiatives, improve efficiencies, make add-on acquisitions, and expand their geographic reach.
In 2009 subsidiary ACS Group acquired Georgia-based Walton/Stout, which specializes in material handling, blending, crystallizing, and drying applications. That same year another subsidiary, AMI Entertainment Network, acquired Rock-Ola Manufacturing, which makes a line of coin-operated entertainment products but is best known for manufacturing juke boxes.
Harbour Group expanded into the logistics business with its purchase of Fleetgistics and acquired cabinet components maker Hardware Resources in 2010. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. Also that year, it sold Lincoln Industrial, a maker of lubrication systems and equipment, to Sweden's SKF for some $1 billion.
In 2007 former CEO Sam Fox, a high-profile Republican contributor, stepped down from Harbour Group to become the US ambassador to Belgium. His son Jeff was named his successor as CEO. Sam Fox ended his ambassadorship in 2009. – less