Frontenac Company, a middle-market private equity firm, today announced that it has completed the majority recapitalization of Portfolio Group, a leading provider of financial services to automobile dealerships. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.
Founder/owner and CEO Steve Burke will continue to manage day-to-day operations of the business, and shareholders will retain significant equity ownership positions. Joining the Portfolio Group Board of Directors as Chairman is Thomas A. Dattilo, Frontenac’s executive partner on the Portfolio Group project. Dattilo is a 37 year automotive industry veteran who formerly served as Chairman, President, and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber. Prior to his leadership at Cooper Tire, Dattilo spent many years in senior positions with Dana Corporation, including Group President of Global Sealing and Distribution. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Harris Corporation, a Fortune 500 information and technology company, and a Director of Haworth, Inc. and Solera Holdings. Dattilo previously served on the Board of Directors of Alberto-Culver.
Founded in 1990, Irvine, California-based Portfolio Group provides its more than 900 dealer clients management of all facets of dealers’ aftermarket, extended warranty and vehicle service contract programs, including establishing and administering dealer-owned risk transfer and reinsurance companies.
“We have enjoyed tremendous growth over the past few years as dealers nationwide have recognized the unique value of owning a reinsurance or risk-transfer company managed by Portfolio Group,” said Steve Burke. “We have found the ideal partner in Frontenac due to their strategy of working with seasoned executives, their patient capital approach, and their track record of successfully growing closely-held enterprises like ours.”
“Frontenac’s investment in Portfolio Group is another good example of our long history of investing in founder-owned businesses and crafting executive partnerships,” said Paul Carbery, a Frontenac Managing Director who joins the Board along with Ron Kuehl, a firm Principal. ”This partnership will enable the company to accelerate its marketing efforts, take advantage of new opportunities and enhance operational efficiencies to elevate the company’s growth to the next level.”
“Given my business-building experience both as an executive and as a strategic advisor, I am pleased to join with Frontenac and the Portfolio Group leadership team to help grow and evolve the business,” said Thomas Dattilo, who worked on the transaction from initial contact through closing. ”We look forward to working with Portfolio Group’s leadership to grow their national presence and to take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace.”
Based in Chicago and founded in 1971, Frontenac Company is a private equity firm with a long and successful history as the first professional owners of privately held, family and operator-owned businesses. The firm partners with proven executives to grow successful, mid-sized companies that are often niche business service providers. This approach is built upon partnering with strong incumbent management teams and complementing them with outside talent that has outstanding industry knowledge and a strong performance record. Frontenac has made investments in a variety of business services companies, including such firms as Ansira, an engagement marketing agency; facilities maintenance provider Diversified Maintenance; and SMS Systems Maintenance Services, a national provider of mission-critical maintenance programs for high-end and mid-range computer hardware.
About Frontenac Company
Frontenac Company is a Chicago-based private investment firm founded in 1971. Frontenac has made over 225 founder-owner investments across nine private equity funds. Since 2002, 21 of 22 of the firm’s new portfolio investments have involved founder-owned companies. Frontenac invests in high-quality, closely-held companies.. The firm works with the owners of mid-sized businesses, almost always families or founders, as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement, and growth planning. Through Frontenac’s CEO1ST approach, the firm partners with proven operating executives to grow these successful, mid-sized companies.