TenCate Grass purchases a controlling interest in Challenger Industries
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — FourBridges Capital today announced that TenCate Grass has purchased a controlling interest in Challenger Industries, Inc., to create the largest landscape turf company in the U.S. FourBridges Capital— an investment banking firm that helps business owners sell their companies, refinance debt or access growth capital — acted as exclusive advisor to Challenger.
Based in Dalton, Ga., Challenger is the nation’s largest independent manufacturer of artificial grass, serving the landscape, sports and residential markets. Following the acquisition, Challenger will do business as Challenger Turf, Inc. and continue to operate from Dalton.
TenCate is a global leader in the development, production and marketing of synthetic turf components. Backed by Gilde Partners, the largest private equity firm in Holland, TenCate operates production facilities in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Challenger was founded in 1983 by Steve White. Both White and his son, co-owner Andy White, were bullish on the company and the turf manufacturing industry as a whole. They recognized that ongoing industry consolidation could benefit the company, so they began searching for the right partner.
“We received a number of calls from potential buyers over the years, but we had never sold a business before and needed help navigating the process,” White said. “FourBridges helped us identify the right partner and negotiate a deal that positions Challenger for long-term success.”
The owners engaged FourBridges to run a limited sell-side process, aimed at achieving the Whites’ objectives, who wished to continue running day-to-day operations in Dalton.
FourBridges solicited indications of interest from several potential partners, then worked with Challenger to evaluate options, focusing on two key considerations: vertical integration — as sourcing raw materials is one of the industry’s primary challenges — and strong chemistry.
TenCate, one of Challenger’s suppliers, was selected as the ultimate investor. The FourBridges team worked directly with the TenCate and its advisory teams in the U.S. and the Netherlands to structure and execute the deal. Greg Curran and Charlie Hartman of Maynard Cooper & Gale acted as legal counsel to Challenger.
“In any industry consolidation, it can be a challenge to find the right partner,” said Chris Rowe, a managing director of FourBridges. “A good investor will bring resources, synergies and efficiencies — but perhaps most importantly, both parties should be aligned in their business strategy and objectives. Challenger and TenCate are a strong fit, and we expect to see this new partnership lead to ongoing growth and continued success.”