Castle Harlan

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Castle Harlan
IndustryPrivate equity
Founded1987; 32 years ago (1987)
HeadquartersNew York, New York, U.S.
ProductsLeveraged buyout, Growth capital
Number of employees

Castle Harlan is a private equity firm based in New York City that focuses on buyouts and growth capital investments in middle-market companies across a range of industries. Founded in 1987, Castle Harlan invests in controlling interests in middle-market companies in North America and Europe, as well as in Australia and Southeast Asia through Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners.

Castle Harlan's team of 18 investment professionals, based in New York City, has completed over 50 acquisitions since its inception with a total value of approximately $10 billion. The firm currently manages investment funds with equity commitments of approximately $3.5 billion.


Castle Harlan was founded in 1987 by John K. Castle, but its history goes back to the 1960s. During the 60s Castle headed all of the private equity activities, including the Sprout Capital Group, at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ). At that time DLJ used some of the first limited partnerships to bring institutional investors into private equity investing. From the period between 1979 and 1986 Castle rose to become the president and chief executive officer at DLJ.[1][2]

Leonard Harlan joined DLJ in 1965 and was a friend of Castle. Harlan left DLJ in 1969 and formed a successful real estate investment group, The Harlan Company. In 1987,[3] Castle and Harlan, with a handful of others, raised $125 million for its new limited partnership, Legend Capital Group, L.P., to invest in leveraged buyout transactions.[4]

In 1999, Castle Harlan teamed with Bill Ferris and Joseph Skrzynski of Australian Mezzanine Investments to create Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners, also known as CHAMP. CHAMP focuses on control investments in middle-market businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia with similar criteria to Castle Harlan. CHAMP also has an affiliate, CHAMP Ventures, that invests in small buyouts, non-control growth capital and venture capital. CHAMP raised its second fund with A$950 million of investor commitments in 2005 and its third fund with A$1.5 billion in 2010.[5]

On April 17, 2018, Castle Harlan announced its agreement to purchase the oil and gas production equipment assets of Exterran Corporation.[6] The deal, signed through an affiliate, resulted in the formation of a newly established company called Titan Production Equipment. The sale was completed in the summer of 2018 and Titan Production Equipment officially launched on July 11, 2018.[7][8]


Investment funds[edit]

Since its inception, Castle Harlan has participated in eight private equity funds, five in the United States and three in Australia. The U.S. funds are:

  • Castle Harlan Partners V (2010, approx $1.0 billion)[9]
  • Castle Harlan Partners IV (2003, $1.2 billion)[9][10]
  • Castle Harlan Partners III (1997, $625 million)[9]
  • Castle Harlan Partners II (1992, $275 million)[9]
  • Legend Capital Group (1987, $125 million)[9]

These partnerships, together with the three Australian funds, have represented committed equity capital of approximately $6.0 billion.

Portfolio companies[edit]

Castle Harlan focuses on investing in control positions in private middle-market companies. The firm prefers to partner with existing managers, who know the business the best. In order for Castle Harlan to acquire a company, the business must be priced realistically in terms of growth prospects and fundamental value in the marketplace.

Current and former portfolio companies include Securus Technologies, the leading provider of secure inmate telecommunications for the corrections industry; IDQ Holdings, the largest provider in the U.S. of aftermarket automotive air conditioning repair products for the do-it-yourself market; Pretium Packaging, a leader in short-run plastic bottles; Americast Technologies, Inc., a leading North American designer and manufacturer of large, highly engineered steel and complex ferrous alloy castings, Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, which owns and operates more than 50 mid-to-upscale Italian restaurants, and United Malt Holdings.[11]

Examples of investments made during the last decade.

Investment Results
Tensar Corporation In July 2014 Castle Harlan acquired the Tensar Corporation, a global company involved in geosynthetic site development technology.[12]
Polypipe Group One of the two leading suppliers of plastic pipe systems in the U.K. and Ireland, Polypipe was purchased in 2005 by Castle Harlan and 50 Polypipe managers for $527 million from IMI plc, an international engineering company. Two years later, Castle Harlan sold its interest to company management and the Bank of Scotland for $880 million. Castle Harlan helped management refocus the company by concentrating on its core businesses. The Castle Harlan investment group realized a 4.5 times return on invested capital.[13]
Horizon Lines Horizon Lines is the only Jones Act container-shipping company servicing ports in the continental U.S. and Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Guam. The Jones Act requires that maritime trade between U.S. ports be conducted exclusively by companies owned and organized in the U.S. that use ships built and registered in the U.S. and that employ U.S. crews. Horizon Lines benefits from limited competition, stable demand and diversity of freight carried for long-standing customers. Castle Harlan purchased the company in July 2004 for $650 million and worked with management to grow the business. In 2005, Horizon completed an IPO.[14] Subsequently, there were three secondary offerings, and in 2007 Castle Harlan completed divesting its interest. The Castle Harlan investment group's return was 3.2 times invested capital.[15]
Ames True Temper Ames, in business since 1774, sells 80 percent of the long-handled tools, such as shovels, rakes and hoes, used in the U.S. and is the market leader in North America for other lawn and garden products, including wheelbarrows, pots and planters. Castle Harlan bought the company in July 2004 for $380 million.[16] Ames was sold, on September 30, 2010 to Griffon Corporation for $542 million. The Castle Harlan investment group's return was 2.1 times invested capital.[17]
Austar United Communications Castle Harlan and CHAMP co-invested in 2003 in a majority interest in Austar, the leading provider of satellite pay television in non-urban Eastern Australia, by purchasing company debt from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedure for US$34.5 million. Austar was taken public through an IPO in Australia in 2005.[18] The Castle Harlan investment group's return was 7.2 times invested capital.[19]
McCormick & Schmick's Castle Harlan owned McCormick & Schmick twice, first acquiring the company in 1994, building the business, then selling it in 1997. It bought the company back in 2001. McCormick & Schmick went public in 2004.[20][21] The Castle Harlan investment group's return was 4.5 times invested capital in the 1994-1997 period and 2.6 times invested capital in the 2001-2004 period.[22]
RathGibson RathGibson is a leading manufacturer of highly engineered premium stainless steel and alloy welded tubing products. Castle Harlan purchased the company in February 2006 for $260 million. In August that year, RathGibson acquired a complementary tubing manufacturer, Greenville Tube Company, for $37 million. When Castle Harlan sold the company in June 2007 for $440 million, revenues and earnings had increased by approximately 50 percent.[23] The Castle Harlan investment group's return was 2.6 times its invested capital.[24]
United Malt Holdings Based in Omaha with operating companies in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K., this is one of the world's largest producers of malted barley for production of whiskey and beer. Castle Harlan and its Australian partner, CHAMP Private Equity, purchased it in September 2006 and sold it in 2009 to GrainCorp Ltd., a major bulk-grain handler and trader in Australia. Management and Castle Harlan invested in expanding plants and shifted the business from maximizing volume to customer-specific specialized products that supported premium prices.[25]

The Castle Harlan investment group made a return on investment of 4.5 times its invested capital.[26]

AmeriCast Technologies AmeriCast Technologies is a North American leader in the design and manufacture of large, complex steel castings. In November 2006, Castle Harlan took a controlling interest in AmeriCast. Organic growth and strategic acquisitions expanded the business approximately 70 percent by August 2008, when Castle Harlan sold its majority interest to Bradken Ltd, an Australian manufacturer of cast steel and other products, primarily for the mining and railroad industries, for approximately $288 million.[27] The Castle Harlan investment group's return was 2.6 times invested capital.[citation needed]

Recent awards[edit]

  • 2019: The Association for Corporate Growth awarded Castle Harlan affiliate Titan Production Equipment the Houston Deal of the Year Award in the category of Restructuring & Turnaround Transactions.[28][29]
  • 2010: Castle Harlan and CHAMP recognized by The Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCAL) for its successful investment in United Malt Holdings.[30]
  • 2010: John K. Castle is inducted into the M&A Advisor Hall of Fame.[31]
  • 2008: John K. Castle is given the Lifetime Achievement Award by M&A Advisor.[32][33]
  • 2006: Castle Harlan named with CHAMP the Private Equity Firm of the Year by M&A Advisor.[34] From October 2005 through September 2006, the period covered for the award, Castle Harlan and CHAMP executed 24 transactions, including purchases, sales, add-ons and recapitalizations, with a total value of approximately $3.6 billion.
  • 2005: Castle Harlan named winner of the 2005 International/Cross-Border Deal of the Year by M&A Advisor. This was for the acquisition of Polypipe Group.[35]
  • 2003: Castle Harlan named winner of the 2003 Middle Market International Cross-Border Deal of the Year and winner of the 2003 Middle Market Media and Telecommunications Deal of the Year by M&A Advisor. This was for the acquisition of Austar United Communications, Inc.[36]

Branford Castle, Inc[edit]

Also founded by John K. Castle,[37] Branford Castle, Inc. invests in small to medium-sized private companies.[38] Castle Harlan and Branford Castle focus on investments with similar characteristics, however, Branford Castle will pass on deals valued at over $75 million to Castle Harlan.[39]


  1. ^ Scannell, Kara (11 July 2002). "Icahn Offers to Buy XO's Loans To Bolster Position in Bankruptcy". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  2. ^ Perry, Nancy J. (1 February 1988). "The firm is his castle". Fortune. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Legend Capital Group, L.P." New York Company Search. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  4. ^ Wayne, Leslie. "". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  5. ^ CHAMP II Australian buy-out fund closes on A$950m. AltAssets, Aug 3, 2005
  6. ^ "Castle Harlan Acquires Through Affiliate Exterran's Oil, Gas Production Equipment Assets In North America". Reuters. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  7. ^ Blum, Jordan. "Titan Production Equipment launches as new Houston energy firm". Chron. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ Pulsinelli, Olivia. "Exterran sells production equipment business, creating new local company". Bizjournals. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e Data collected from Preqin, a private equity database system
  10. ^ US Castle Harlan closes fourth fund on $1.2bn. Sep 24, 2003
  11. ^ GrainCorp Agrees to Buy United Malt for $655 Million. Bloomberg, October 6, 2009
  12. ^ Sormani, Angela (10 July 2014). "Tensar Corporation acquired by Castle Harlan". The PE HUB Network. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Private Equity News Review August 2007" (PDF). Alt Assets. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  14. ^ Horizon: Castle to Take Horizon Public. The Deal, Mar 3, 2005
  15. ^ Berman, Dennis K. "Carlyle: Losing One To the Underdog". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  16. ^ Ames True Temper: Castle Harlan Completes $542M Sale of Garden Tools Company to Griffon Corp. PE Hub, Sept 30, 2010
  17. ^ " Hourly In Play (R) – 16:00 ET". Insurance News Net. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  18. ^ * Austar: Private Equity Funds Sell A$567 mln Stake in Austar. Reuters, Dec 14, 2005
  19. ^ "Acquisition of Controlling Interest in Austar". Wiki Invest. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  20. ^ McCormick and Schmick: Avado Brands Agrees To Sell Restaurants To New York Investors. Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2001
  21. ^ McCormick & Schmick Gets $24M Investment From Castle Harlan. Dow Jones News Service, Oct 19, 1994
  22. ^ "wo New York Buyout Firms Complete Purchase of McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants". Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. L.L.C. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  23. ^ RathGibson: DLJ Beefs Up Portfolio With Manufacturing Purchase. Buyouts, May 14, 2007
  24. ^ "Private equity owner sells RathGibson for $440M". Biz Journals. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  25. ^ United Malt Holdings: How One Private Equity Firm Beat The Odds. Business Week, Nov 13, 2009
  26. ^ "Castle Harlan Sells United Malt for $655 Million". Deal Book. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  27. ^ AmeriCast: Bradken To Buy Rest of AmeriCast Tech for A$114M. Dow Jones, July 29, 2008
  28. ^ "ACG Houston Announces Winners at Deal of the Year Awards Ceremony | ACG Houston". Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  29. ^ "Castle Harlan Wins \". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  30. ^ "The Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Recognizes Castle Harlan and CHAMP Private Equity for their Successful Investment in United Malt Holdings". Biz Journals. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  31. ^ Finalists Announced for 9th Annual M&A Advisor Awards Archived 2011-05-21 at the Wayback Machine. M&A Advisor, October 29, 2010
  32. ^ Lifetime Achievement Award 2008 Recipient - John K. Castle Archived 2011-07-14 at the Wayback Machine. M&A Advisor, October 11, 2009
  33. ^ "Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 2008 - John K. Castle". The M & A Advisor. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  34. ^ "2006 M&A Awards". The M&A Advisor. Archived from the original on 2015-08-20. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  35. ^ "2005 M&A Awards". The M & A Advisor 2005. Archived from the original on 2015-10-25. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  36. ^ "2003 M&A Awards". The M & A Advisor 2003. Archived from the original on 25 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  37. ^ "Our Team". Branford Castle. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  38. ^ "Credibility and Experience". Branford Castle. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  39. ^ "Areas of Investment Focus". Branford Castle. Retrieved 5 January 2016.

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