Norwest in two deals

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Norwest Equity has invested alongside Lightyear Capital construction equipment rental firm Neff in a $900 million transaction, and simultaneously announced the sale of logistics services provider Jacobson Companies to Oak Hill.

Middle market firm Norwest Equity Partners latest two deals involve trendy investment spaces loosely related to infrastructure: logistics/transportation and equipment rental.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Norwest was part of a consortium led by Lightyear Capital that acquired Neff, a construction equipment rental firm that serves 20,000 customers including construction companies, golf course developers, industrial plants, oil companies and municipalities. The transaction was valued at $900 million (€670 million).

General Electric Pension Trust and members of Neff’s existing management team were also part of the investor group. Debt financing was arranged by Bank of America, CIBC World Markets, GE Capital Markets, and UBS Investment Bank.

Norwest simultaneously announced the exit from a third-party logistics firm, Jacobson Companies, with an agreement to sell Jacobsen to Oak Hill Capital Partners for an undisclosed amount. John Thomson, Erik Torgerson and Todd Solow led the deal team for Norwest.
Jacobsen has been a Norwest portfolio company since April 2004; in 2006 Norwest completed four add-on acquisitions: Arthur Wells Group, Wilpak, Southwest Storage & Distribution and Bekins Logistics.

Oak Hill plans to “leverage synergies” by integrating its portfolio company, Arnold Logistics, according to a statement.

Norwest Mezzanine Partners made a $17 million subordinated debt investment concurrent with Norwest’s initial investment in Jacobson, the statement said.

The Jacobson deal will be financed a goup led by Bear Stearns, CIBC World Markets and Wells Fargo. Faegre & Benson and Nyemaster, Goode, West, Hansell & O’Brien provided legal services to Norwest.

Founded in 1961, Norwest manages more than $3 billion in capital. It is currently investing NEP VIII, an $800 million fund.