Sentinel sells Cottman to American Capital Strategies for $77.3 million



NEW YORK, April 19, 2004 - Sentinel Capital Partners announced today the sale of Cottman Transmission Holdings, LLC to American Capital Strategies, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACAS) for $77.3 million.

Cottman is a franchisor of automotive transmission centers that repair, remanufacture and service transmissions and related components. Cottman, the "Transmission Physician," opened its first transmission repair center on Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia in 1962. With more than 391 centers in the United States and Canada, Cottman is the fastest growing transmission service and repair chain in North America.

Under Sentinel's stewardship, Cottman developed innovative customer service and quality initiatives, and enhanced its franchise support system A leader in both franchising and the automotive aftermarket, Cottman is regarded as a well managed and efficient business by its franchisees and as a trustworthy choice for automotive transmission repairs by consumers. Cottman is consistently ranked among the top franchise organizations in the U.S.

"Franchising is a key investment sector for us and Cottman has been an outstanding performer for Sentinel," said David Lobel, Sentinel's founder and Managing Partner. "Todd Leff, Cottman's CEO, and the entire Cottman management team worked successfully with Sentinel to build the business by significantly increasing the number of franchise locations which are now in 43 states and Canada. We are very confident that they can continue to build the business and deliver results under the guidance of their new partners at American Capital."

"We have valued our partnership with Sentinel and their strategic and financial support as we executed our growth strategy," said Mr. Leff. "The partners at American Capital will bring a new and fresh perspective to the business and we look forward to working closely with them too." In addition to Mr. Leff, who continues as CEO, other members of senior management will remain with the company and invest in Cottman alongside American Capital.

American Capital recently supplied the senior and subordinated debt and co-invested with Sentinel in Nivel Parts and Manufacturing Co., LLC, a leading independent manufacturer and distributor of aftermarket golf car replacement parts and accessories. "American Capital has become a trusted partner and financing source," said David Lobel. "This was a primary reason for selecting American Capital as the buyer of Cottman." American Capital is a publicly traded buyout and mezzanine fund with capital resources in excess of $2.7 billion.