Ridgemont Equity Partners
Ridgemont Equity Partners to Sponsor the Merger of Worldwide Express and Unishippers Global Logistics
January 17, 2017
Charlotte, NC - Ridgemont Equity Partners today announced that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Worldwide Express from affiliates of Quad-C Management. As part of the transaction, Ridgemont will merge its portfolio company, Unishippers Global Logistics, with Worldwide Express to form a new entity called Worldwide Express Global Logistics. The combination of Worldwide Express and Unishippers will create the largest U.S. non-asset based third party logistics provider of parcel and freight services to the small and medium-sized business (“SMB”) segment. Ridgemont will be the lead equity sponsor, alongside certain co-investors, affiliates and members of executive management. The transaction has received HSR approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Worldwide Express and Unishippers are both non-asset based third party logistics providers to small and medium sized businesses. The companies offer a diverse suite of freight solutions including small parcel, less-than-truckload, truckload and air freight services through a number of strategic national and regional carrier relationships. Worldwide Express Global Logistics will have a network of 308 offices across the United States, including both company-owned and franchise locations, serving over 90,000 customers.
Together in a joint statement, the management teams of Worldwide Express and Unishippers, Tom Madine and Kevin Lathrop, released the following statement: “The combination of Worldwide Express and Unishippers is a very natural step in the evolution of both companies. We have had highly complementary business models and growth strategies for many years and will now better leverage our market-leading capabilities, technology and talent across a larger platform. The combined business will offer an elevated value proposition to our customers through a more fulsome suite of services, leading technology, attractive prices and hands-on customer support. Our strategic carrier relationships will benefit from our extended national network of 308 locations through greater access to the desirable but underserved small and mid-sized business operators across the country. Both Worldwide Express and Unishippers franchises will continue to operate under their current brand names to provide small parcel and freight services to their local accounts, with the benefit of being part of a broader system with more scale and resources.”
Current CEO of Worldwide Express, Tom Madine, will lead the combined business. Kevin Lathrop will continue to lead Unishippers, with members of the executive teams of both companies playing key roles on the combined executive team going forward.
“Ridgemont has strong conviction around the compelling investment merits of third party logistics services, as demonstrated by our level of activity and capital commitment to the sector,” said Rob Edwards, Partner at Ridgemont. “As the equity sponsor of the Worldwide Express and Unishippers merger, we are excited about the ability of the combined business to propel growth and capture an even larger portion of the vast SMB shipping market.”
“Ridgemont is our ideal financial partner for the company's next phase of growth. Their third party logistics experience and strategic insights will be extremely valuable to the execution of our growth strategy and business continuity. We are very aligned with Ridgemont on our vision for the future,” said Tom Madine, CEO of Worldwide Express Global Logistics.
Fidus Partners and Harris Williams & Co. served as financial advisors to Worldwide Express and Quad-C. Piper Jaffray & Co. served as financial advisor to Unishippers. White & Case LLP served as legal advisor to Quad-C. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to Ridgemont. Antares Capital and Deutsche Bank are serving as joint lead arrangers on the debt financing, with Antares Capital leading the 1st lien facilities and Deutsche Bank leading the 2nd lien. Citizens Financial Group is a joint arranger of both facilities.
About Unishippers Global Logistics
Unishippers is a leading provider of third party logistics services, including small parcel, LTL, FTL and air freight shipping services to small and medium-sized businesses through a national presence of company-owned and franchise locations.
About Ridgemont Equity Partners
Ridgemont Equity Partners is a Charlotte-based middle market buyout and growth equity investor. Since 1993, the principals of Ridgemont have invested approximately $4.4 billion. The firm focuses on equity investments up to $250 million in industries in which it has deep expertise, including business and industrial services, energy, healthcare, and technology and telecommunications.