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September 5, 2018 1:30 PM, EDT

Gryphon Investors Buys Majority Stake in Transportation Insight

Transportation Insight Transportation Insight offices. (Transportation Insight)

Gryphon Investors has acquired a majority stake in Transportation Insight, a Hickory, N.C.-based logistics consulting and transportation management firm, for an undisclosed amount.

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon purchased the equity in Transportation Insight from Ridgemont Equity Partners, an investment firm in Charlotte, N.C., that has been active in acquiring other logistics and mobile fleet service companies in recent years.

Gryphon Investors

Paul Thompson, the founder and chairman of Transportation Insight, along with CEO Chris Baltz, will retain significant ownership positions and will continue to run the business with Wes Lucas, a former CEO of Sirva Inc., a holding company for household goods movers Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines. Lucas joined the Transportation Insight board of directors as executive chairman, according to a joint announcement issued Sept. 4.

Founded in 1999, Transportation Insight manages approximately $4 billion in transportation-related spending for more than 1,500 clients. The company helps firms improve the efficiency of their supply chains through the use of transportation management systems software and by providing services, such as carrier sourcing, freight bill auditing and payment services, a parcel technology platform and business intelligence.

Annual gross revenue for Transportation Insight is estimated to be about $1.9 billion and net revenue $74 million, according to Armstrong & Associates Inc., a logistics industry research firm. (Net revenue is gross revenue minus the cost of purchased transportation.)

Although the company ranks among the Top 50 logistics companies worldwide, Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, said he expects the company to focus on growing its business in the United States by offering more warehousing, freight brokerage and freight forwarding services.

“As they get heavier into the domestic market, we’ll see them be able to sell more integrated solutions,” Armstrong said in an interview with Transport Topics.

In a statement, Thompson said the Transportation Insight team is “very excited” to partner with Gryphon for what he describes as “the next stage” of the company’s growth.

Thompson

Thompson

“We look forward to building our business both organically and through acquisitions,” he said, “while continuing to deliver best-in-class solutions to our customers over the coming years.”

Baltz went further, saying that with Gryphon’s support, “We will dominate the North American transportation logistics space.”

Lucas said Transportation Insight is well positioned to benefit from secular trends, including increasingly complex supply chains, sustained growth in e-commerce and omni-channel fulfillment, and a shift toward outsourcing supply chain management by businesses globally.

For Gryphon, Transportation Insight represents the firm’s first direct investment in the transportation sector. The company’s current portfolio consists of six firms in the business services sector, three in consumer products and services and five in health care. Transportation Insight will join one other company, Potter Electric Signal Co., a fire alarm supplier, in a sector called industrial growth.

In a statement, Bob Grady, a Gryphon partner, said the firm’s investment in Transportation Insight “aligns well with our focus on partnering with companies that are benefiting from strong macroeconomic tailwinds and that have clear opportunities to achieve above-market growth.”

Baltz

Baltz

Gryphon’s stated strategy is to invest $50 million to $200 million in companies with annual sales between $100 million and $500 million.

On the other side, Ridgemont continues to build its investment portfolio with the purchase in August of a majority stake in Amerit Fleet Solutions, a provider of outsourced vehicle maintenance and repair services at more than 750 locations in the United States and Canada. The company is based in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Terms were not disclosed, but the deal included a minority investment by Element Fleet Management Corp., one of the largest fleet operators in North America.

Ridgemont also owns a stake in Dickinson Fleet Services, a company based in Indianapolis that specializes in mobile maintenance and repair services for fleet operators, plus parts distributors Aurora Parts & Accessories and FleetPride.

In 2017, Ridgemont acquired Worldwide Express, a parcel reseller and logistics firm based in Dallas and merged the business with a similar firm, Unishippers Global Logistics, acquired two years earlier. The combined firm, Worldwide Express Global Logistics, ranks No. 41 on Transport Topics’ Top 50 list of largest logistics companies in North America.