CBWI August 2001 Barjan Buys Francis Antenna
In it's quest to own the truck stop market last year, Barjan bought another top antenna manufacturer. Francis antenna has been around for many years. They have manufactured low cost, low maintenance antennas and supplied a lifetime warranty for many years.
They finally reduced the warranty maybe five or so years ago. These fiberglass sticks are pre-tuned at the factory, just use the suggested length of coax cable, and as long as you have a good ground plane, you're off and running. In many cases, they perform as well as the FireStik antennas.
Bringing up FireStik, many rumors were going around concerning a FireStik Buy-out by Barjan. It hasn't happened. I've been told FireStik refused the offer. But time will tell, if Barjan wants to own the three top brand CB truck antenna companies, they still need FireStik.
The following is the Barjan/Francis press release:
Jeremy Ahto800/287-2279 ext. 232
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PFINGSTEN PARTNERS AND ALLSTATE PRIVATE EQUITY ACQUIRE
FRANCIS INDUSTRIES, EXPANDING BARJAN PRODUCTS’
CB ANTENNA CAPABILITIES
Transaction adds fourth brand-name CB antenna line to Barjan’s portfolio
EAST MOLINE, ILLINOIS (March 1, 2000)— Pfingsten Partners, L.L.C. and Allstate Private Equity, today announced that Barjan Products, L.L.C., a national marketer and distributor of automotive, electronic, entertainment, and general merchandise products to travel centers, has acquired Francis Industries, Inc., of Pataskala, Ohio. Francis Industries is a manufacturer of fiberglass citizen band (CB) and AM/FM radio antennas.
The transaction solidifies Barjan’s status as the country’s top CB antenna manufacturer.Effective February 29, 2000, the acquisition is Barjan’s third in the CB antenna arena, following the purchases of Diesel Eagle in 1998 and Wilson Electronics Co. in 1999.
The purchase is part of a strategic move to gain market share in both the travel center and the CB dealer channels by offering four different brands of CB antennas, including Barjan’s own. It is also the latest step in an ongoing strategic expansion program that has more than quadrupled Barjan’s sales in the last four years.
“Francis antennas are well-known in the travel center market, but they are not generally carried by CB dealers,” said Steve Huber, President of Barjan Products. “Since we have a strong presence in both channels, we believe we can increase sales of the Francis brand, and we also expect this acquisition to build business for Barjan as a whole by continuing to expand the breadth and depth of product we have to offer.”
Barjan established its reputation in the travel center market and expanded to the CB dealer channel when it acquired Wilson Electronics last year, using Wilson’s established customer base as an entry point. Barjan now has a dedicated sales force that calls on CB dealers.
Francis has nearly two dozen SKUs, including five different CB antennas and two different AM/FM radio antennas in a variety of colors. Even with no advertising and no sales force, the 60- year-old company has established strong brand equity by selling to travel centers through major distributors.“We have had a long history with Barjan, so this sale is a natural progression for our company,” said William Corban, owner and President of Francis Industries.
“Barjan has the distribution channels, the sales force, the infrastructure, the resources and the expertise to build on the foundation that we have put in place and maximize penetration of the Francis brand.”Corban will pursue other interests after a short transition period.
All Francis employees will become Barjan employees, and Francis will continue to operate its Ohio manufacturing facility and warehouse for the foreseeable future.Barjan is the largest marketer of automotive, electronic, entertainment, and general merchandise products to the North American travel center market. The company also distributes to truck fleets, truck dealers, retail automotive chains, convenience stores and CB dealers.
Barjan sells over 9,000 products, including CB radios and antennas sold under the barjan®, Diesel and Wilson brand names, cables and accessories, replacement lights and lenses, car and truck waxes and polishes, chrome, audio cassettes, VHS video tapes and DVDs, books on tape, paperback books, software products, and a variety of other trucking and general merchandise.
Barjan is owned by Allstate Private Equity, the private equity division of Allstate Insurance Company, and Pfingsten Partners, a private equity firm that acquired Barjan in 1995 in partnership with management and the company’s independent sales representatives. Pfingsten Partners purchased Barjan and the 12 related add-on acquisitions it has made to date as part of a series of equity investments the firm has made in Midwest-based companies since 1991.
Pfingsten concentrates on acquiring mature middle market companies involved in manufacturing, wholesale distribution and publishing in a program designed to generate profitable investment returns through long-term business growth rather than through leverage or other types of financial engineering.
Pfingsten is based in Deerfield, Illinois.Allstate Private Equity, a division of Allstate Insurance Company, invests in middle market companies in specialty manufacturing, business services, consumer products, media and communications, and building products industries. Allstate is based in Northbrook, Illinois.