Conney Safety sold

Nine years after buying the business, K+K America sold Conney Safety Products to private equity firm Caxton-Iseman Capital for $48 million. GMAC Commercial Finance and BlackRock Kelso Capital Corp. provided financing for the deal announced Oct. 2.

Conney Safety, a Madison, WI-based marketer of personal safety equipment and first aid supplies, had been owned by $528.8 million K+K America since October 1998. Milwaukee-based K+K America includes material handling and warehouse storage merchandise catalog C&H Distributors, food services book Hubert Co., and National Business Furniture.

Lee Helman, managing director of New York-based investment bank Financo, was surprised by the deal, especially given that K+K America had acquired National Business Furniture just two years ago. “K+K are usually buyers, not sellers,” he says, adding that the K+K already had a complementary business to Conney in C&H Distributors. “This signals to me a change in their direction. Maybe more sales are to come.”

Published reports say Caxton-Iseman Capital plans to expand Conney Safety’s market and customer base through a strategy that includes add-on acquisitions.

Caxton-Iseman’s portfolio companies have combined revenue of about $6 billion and 75,000 employees. The firm’s investment vehicles have available capital in excess of $2 billion.