Sentinel sells Nivel to private equity firm


Sale of Nivel is Latest Example of Firm's Success in Specialty Distribution


NEW YORK, October 18, 2007 - Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm that invests in promising, smaller middle-market companies, today announced the sale of Nivel Holdings LLC, one of North America's largest independent, value-added distributors of golf car aftermarket replacement parts and accessories, to Audax Group. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"Nivel is a perfect example of a smaller middle-market company that thrived under our ownership. It is a niche leader in an industry that Sentinel knows well; it operated in a fragmented and growing industry that was ripe for consolidation; it has a great leader in Bill Bugg who shared our vision to create a more valuable enterprise; and the result is a business in which we were able to more than double sales and EBITDA," said John McCormack, senior partner and co-founder at Sentinel.

Nivel is the only independent golf car aftermarket replacement parts and accessories distributor with a national footprint, servicing a broad base of over 3,400 golf car dealer customers in all 50 states and abroad. Today, Nivel offers the broadest available selection of more than 3,800 SKUs, including replacement parts and accessories for all golf car models from the three major OEMs (Club Car, E-Z-GO, and Yamaha), scarce parts for older and discontinued golf cars (Cushman and Taylor-Dunn), and an extensive line of accessories for vehicle customization.

"Thanks to Sentinel's support, today Nivel is in a great position to continue to succeed," said Bill Bugg, Chief Executive Officer of Nivel. "We are consistently introducing a significant number of new products each quarter, and we now have an unmatched acquisition capability to continue our leadership role in the consolidation of the industry."

"There are an estimated 2.1 million golf cars in North America with an average useful life of 15–20 years. While both of these figures have been increasing, Nivel also has been steadily gaining market share," said Jim Coady, a partner at Sentinel. "Acquisitions have bolstered Nivel's product offering and dramatically enhanced its geographic reach, vastly improving combined operations and creating meaningful synergies. Since our acquisition of Nivel three years ago, we have led the industry consolidation, including the transformational acquisition of Intercoastal Manufacturing Company, then the second-largest independent aftermarket distributor of golf car replacement parts and accessories and Nivel's largest competitor."

Nivel is one of several recent Sentinel investments in the specialty distribution sector. Other investments in that category include Strategic Partners, a leading distributor of medical uniforms for healthcare professionals; Midwest Wholesale Hardware, a wholesaler of architecturally specified commercial door hardware; and most recently Vintage Parts, the leading independent distributor of original slow moving and inactive OEM replacement parts for companies such as General Motors, Ford, John Deere, Harley-Davidson, Komatsu, and Honda , acquired earlier this month.