Banking & Finance, Lakeshore, and Manufacturing

Private equity firm acquires automation supplier

March 18, 2015
| By Pat Evans |
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Automation supplier invests $1.5M in expansion
Employees come together to mark the opening of the expansion at JR Automation Technologies in Holland. Courtesy Lakeshore Advantage

A diversified maker of custom automated equipment has been acquired by a New York private equity firm that’s ready to execute the supplier’s “global growth plans.”

JR Automation in Holland, part of the Huizenga Automation Group, said yesterday that is has been acquired by Crestview Partners.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Crestview Partners manages funds with more than $7 billion in capital commitments.

Since 2004, the firm has focused on sourcing and managing investments in energy, financial services, health care, industrials and media.

“Next step”

Crestview Partners co-founder Tom Murphy said the leadership team at JR Automation will remain the same.

"We have been very impressed with the technical capabilities, broad team and the significant potential of JR Automation,” Murphy said. “Bryan Jones and Scot Lindemann will continue in their leadership roles, now filling the co-CEO positions, with support from Mike DuBose as chairman.

“We are excited to invest in a fast-growing factory automation solutions leader with such a strong culture and reputation. We look forward to partnering with management in executing their global growth plans."

Lindemann said JR Automation’s focus won’t change, and the deal will only help the company’s growth.

"We are excited about this next step in the evolution of our company as we transition to new ownership,” Lindemann said. “Our partnership with Crestview will provide additional capital and support as we accelerate our growth trajectory, while holding true to the innovation, customer focus and team values that have been our core."

Previous owner

JR Automation was founded more than 35 years ago and has been owned by Huizenga Automation Group since 1995.

Huizenga Automation Group is part of the Huizenga Group in Grand Rapids, a private firm providing management services to companies in various industries: automation, tool and die, pharmaceutical packaging, machining and other manufacturing sectors.

"We owe a great debt of gratitude to JC Huizenga and the team at Huizenga Automation Group,” Jones said. “They provided support over a 20-year partnership, enabling us to successfully compete and grow on a global basis."

Huizenga Automation Group President Michael Brom said the group is “grateful for the strong leadership of Scot and Bryan, along with the commitment of the entire JR team.”

“We are excited to have been a part of JR's dynamic growth, and I am highly confident they will carry on this tradition in partnership with Crestview," Brom said. 

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