Cleaver-Brooks Purchases Family-Owned Affiliated Power Services

How GulfStar helped a father and his sons sell their company and protect their valued employees.

When Byron Snyder asked Managing Director Tom Hargrove to help him sell his family’s business, he was banking on more than GulfStar’s reputation in the industry. He and Tom had a history together. They had co-owned and sold a business years before and had become good friends in the process. So Byron knew firsthand what Tom and his team would bring to the table on his behalf.

Byron was contemplating both the timing and the strategy for putting Affiliated Power Services (“APS”) on the market, the final step of an estate plan he had in mind when he and his sons started APS seven years earlier. Through a series of acquisitions, they’d built a portfolio of well-respected companies serving two distinct industries: one a leader in industrial and commercial boiler repair and maintenance; the other a successful shipyard in Channelview, Texas, servicing fixed boats.

APS is a relationship business. We employed highly skilled technicians and we put strong management in place for a healthy future. We were determined to reward and protect our key people as a condition of the sale.
- Byron Snyder

There’s no time like the present

Tom’s advice? To achieve the highest value, sell APS now and as one entity. “It’s always smarter to sell when the outlook is good versus trying to predict the top of the market,” says Tom, “and splitting up the companies would have minimized the total value.” 

With that decision made, the GulfStar team set the wheels in motion, calling upon solid working relationships with a wide range of potential buyers to generate a variety of competitive offers that included both private equity and strategic buyers. They narrowed the field and conducted eight
management meetings before settling on an offer from Cleaver-Brooks, Inc., owned by Harbour Group.

Preparing well for a smooth due diligence

According to GulfStar Vice President Justin Moers, the deal made great sense for both parties as it bolstered Harbour’s position in the boiler  market. But to comply with Harbour’s public debt requirements meant meeting a strict deadline for closing the sale. “Our team helped APS make sure their paperwork was in order well ahead of time. We collaborated with Harbour and managed the due diligence process so that all the terms of the deal were met as quickly as possible,” says Justin.

In the end, Byron Snyder and his sons realized their seven-year plan in a transaction that went quite smoothly and resulted in their receiving much higher value than they had even anticipated.