NEW YORK – KPS Capital Partners announced on May 1 that it created a new company, Autokiniton Global Group, LP (AGG) to pursue investments in the global automotive supply industry. Industry executive George Thanopoulos will serve as AGG’s Chief Executive Officer.
KPS also announced that AGG has entered into definitive agreements to acquire L&W, Inc. Following completion of the transaction, Thanopoulos will become L&W’s Executive Chairman. Scott Jones will continue to serve as President.
L&W is a leading “Tier 1” supplier in the automotive industry, specializing in hot and cold metal stampings and welded assemblies, and a leader in metal-formed components and complex assemblies, with a product portfolio that is well-positioned for key automotive trends, including electrification, lightweighting and emission reduction regulations. L&W has received over 100 awards from customers throughout its history. Headquartered in New Boston, Michigan, L&W operates 23 sales, engineering and production facilities located throughout the United States with over 3,200 employees.
KPS and Thanopoulos have a history of successfully working together to create, operate and grow automotive supply businesses. They partnered in 2005 to form HHI Group Holdings, LLC (“HHI”). HHI, through a series of acquisitions and other growth initiatives, became the largest North American manufacturer of highly engineered, safety-critical forged components for automotive customers and a leading manufacturer of complex, highly engineered powdered metal powertrain components and wheel bearings. HHI was sold in 2012.
KPS co-Founder and co-Managing Partner Michael Psaros said, “KPS is thrilled to reestablish its partnership with George Thanopoulos with the objective of replicating our shared success on a much greater scale. Our previous initiative with George, HHI, consolidated and transformed the fragmented automotive forging industry in North America, creating a company that provided its customers with stable industry leadership and world-class products, quality, technology and service. KPS intends to invest a significant amount of capital in AGG to expand the business through acquisitions in the automotive parts industry globally, leveraging our industry knowledge, manufacturing expertise and relationships on a global basis.”
Thanopoulos said that “we are very excited to acquire L&W and launch AGG. L&W possesses world-class assets, industry-leading quality and service, and a commitment to investing in state-of-the-art technology and process development. L&W’s greatest asset is its customer relationships established over decades. KPS and I look forward to working with L&W’s President Scott Jones and the Company’s management team to build on the Company’s unique strengths with a new strategic vision, financial resources and exceptional credentials in the global automotive industry.”
Completion of the transaction is expected this spring. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.