HOLLAND — Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. plans to acquire Holland-based JR Automation Technologies LLC in a $1.42 billion deal.
Hitachi and New York City-based private equity owner Crestview Partners, which acquired the company in 2015 from Grand Rapids-based Huizenga Automation Group LLC, said today they signed a definitive agreement for the sale.
Since the sale to Crestview, JR Automation has grown dramatically from $170 million in sales and five production facilities in North America to more than $600 million in sales and 23 facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.
“It has been a privilege to work with the very talented teams from JR and Crestview. Over the past four years, we have built on JR’s strong entrepreneurial passion for custom automated solutions and put in place systems and processes that have allowed the company to rapidly scale around the world,” Mike DuBose, outgoing chairman of JR Automation, said in a statement. “JR has become the largest independent provider of custom automation systems in North America while simultaneously increasing revenue generated internationally to approximately 25 percent of the company. With the global resources of Hitachi continuing to support the JR Automation team, JR will be able to continue on its phenomenal growth trajectory.”
The deal should close in the second half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Hitachi has more than 307,000 employees worldwide. In the most recent fiscal year, Hitachi reported revenues of $88.4 billion.
“We congratulate JR Automation on the next phase of growth. They are an outstanding highly committed member of our business community,” Jennifer Owens, president of the economic development organization Lakeshore Advantage, said of the deal. “We look forward to developing a new relationship with Hitachi leadership. They will join a strong group of international companies that call the lakeshore home.”
Hitachi’s ownership will enable JR Automation “to take this next step in the company’s evolution," CEO Bryan Jones said.
“With our combined capabilities, Hitachi and JR will be a uniquely qualified global leader in next generation smart manufacturing, and this partnership will enable us to continue to drive tangible value creation for our customers through innovative custom solutions,” Jones said.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and BofA Merrill Lynch served as financial advisers and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal adviser to JR Automation and the selling shareholders. Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities acted as a financial adviser and Allen & Overy LLP served as legal adviser to Hitachi.