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Thor Buys Stake in Heartland RV for $200M

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Thor Industries Inc. has bought a controlling interest in Elkhart,
Indiana-based Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC. The purchase price is
$200 million.

The acquisition, Thor’s first major purchase since 2005 and just
two weeks after its 30th anniversary, has been rumored for several days.

Catterton Partners, a leading consumer-focused private equity firm
in North America, today (Sept. 17) announced that it sold its
controlling stake in Heartland for cash and stock.

Heartland recorded sales the last 12 months in excess of $400 million.

Under Thor’s ownership, Heartland RV will continue to operate
under the Heartland name and will maintain its current brand portfolio.
Heartland will remain headquartered in Elkhart and will continue to be
led by the company’s current management team under CEO Brian Brady.

“We are proud of the dramatic growth that Heartland has
experienced, and we believe that the transaction with Thor will further
accelerate Heartland’s growth,” said Scott Dahnke, managing partner of
Catterton Partners. “This transaction pairs Heartland with the most
successful RV company in the world; we are confident that it will be a
winning combination for Heartland dealers and consumers. Industry
fundamentals remain strong, and with Thor’s breadth, scale and financial
resources, Heartland can continue to offer its dealers and consumers
the highest quality products for great value, while continuing its
record of product innovation and outstanding service. We are excited to
be Thor shareholders and look forward to the substantial upside inherent
in the combined company.”

“We are very excited about this transaction as it clearly benefits
our dealers, our employees, our customers, and the entire Heartland
family. Under Thor’s ownership, we will have access to increased
financial and operational resources which will enable us to continue our
strong momentum in the marketplace,” said Brady. “I want to thank our
employees for their hard work and dedication to Heartland; their efforts
have been a critical part of our success. We are pleased to bring
Heartland’s creative energy and relentless commitment to excellence to
the Thor family. The entire Heartland organization looks forward with
great anticipation to continuing to offer our dealers and consumers the
same best-in-class products and innovations that they have come to
expect from Heartland.”

Since partnering with the Heartland founders in early 2007,
Catterton has worked with the Heartland management team to enable the
company to become the fourth largest manufacturer of towable RVs in the
U.S., up from the 12th position at the time of its investment. Over this
period, Heartland has quadrupled its sales, earnings and market share
by expanding its geographic reach, introducing innovative new product
lines, and enhancing the overall customer experience, all while
maintaining strong relationships with its loyal dealers. Recently, with
Catterton’s support, Heartland also enhanced its brand portfolio through
its acquisition of Fleetwood Enterprises’ towable brand portfolio.

Heartland is a leading manufacturer of towable recreational
vehicles in the U.S. The company markets over 15 brands of fifth-wheel
and travel trailer RVs and has captured the No. 3 market share in the
fifth-wheel category. Heartland’s towable RVs are sold through an
independent network of dealers throughout the United States and Canada.
The company has over 1,000 employees.

Story courtesy of RV Business.

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