Green Merger News – January 2015

From the Editor –  What To Do Now



As we were finalizing our Year in Review issue, CIVC Partners announced that it had acquired Yellowstone Landscape Group.  Yellowstone was number 15 on the Lawn and Landscape 100 in 2014 (based n 2013 results) with revenues for 2013 of $84 million.  While this was far from the largest transaction of the year, it was very interesting nonetheless.  First, the announcement capped a lengthy auction process that had produced a number of high-profile bidders.  In addition, it represented a successful exit for Gridiron which had started and built Yellowstone through acquisitions.  It has been my belief that concerns about exit strategies have held back private equity investment in the industry to some degree and that the success of ths transaction will embolden several middle-market private equity firms  to make a move in the industry.

The high profile sale of The Brickman Group followed by its merger with The ValleyCrest Companies (soon to be re-branded BrightView) also focused a spotlight on the industry which will likely continue to attract capital. Business owners frequently ask me what should I be doing now, in light of this activity in the industry.

First, I advise business owners to always be ready for a sale, even if they have no intention of ever pursuing one.  Yoi never know when circumstances or opportunities will beckon and if you are prepared, the process will be vastly easier and liely produce a better result.  In addition, the steps to prepare yoiur business for sale usually strengthen a business even if you do not pursue a sale transaction.

Second, I suggest that business owners consider their options in light of their long-term goals.  We are in a strong business sale climate right now.  It is very hard to predict how long it will last.  If your goals is to sell yur business sometime ion the next five years, it ma be time to get serious about pursuing options.

Third, business owners would be well advised to consider the possibiity of pursuing making acquisitions.  There are more opportunities out there than in recent memory and financing seems to be fairly available for buyers.Fourth, even if yoiu are not interested in pursuing the sale or purchase of a business, there have been changes in the marketplace as a result of deals that have been done that may create opportunbities to strengthen your business by adding key talent that may be available and by exploiting market opportunities that mnay develop as acquisitions take place.

It s an exciting time.  It has been a number of years since ther cycle has reached this level and it may be a number of years before it repeats itself.

If you have an interest in selling or buying a green industry business, are ready to begin the exit planning process or would like to explore the potential impact of consolidation on your local market, we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you.  Give us a call at 888-229-5740 or email us at [email protected].



Ron Edmonds

[email protected]



2014 was the strongest year in many years for green industry mergers and acquisitions.  The merger of The Brickman Group with The ValleyCrest Companies was the blockbuster transaction of the year.  This transaction was particularly dramatic coming after the later 2013 acquisition of Brickman by KKR.


The following transactions were publicly reported:


Arrow Environmental of Sarasota, Florida, acquired Bug Out Service of Jacksonville, Florida, and Harmony Lawn Care of Bradenton, Florida.

Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators

acquired Action Pest Control of Northwest Florida.  Arrow provides lawn care in addition to pest control services.

Bell Nursery acquired  Blue Ridge Growers in Virginia and Bentwood Farms in North Carolina.

Chicago-based  Alfred Benesch & Company (Benesch) has merged with Site Solutions, a Charlotte, North Carolina based site planning and landscape architecture firm.

The Brickman Group completed its merger with The ValleyCrest Companies.  Brickman also acquired Metheny Commercial Lawn Maintenance in Dallas.

The Budd Group, an integrated facilities services company based in North Carolina, acquired The Grounds Crew in Orlando, Florida.

Cantu Enterprises acquired Technical Pest Services of Houston, marking its entry into the Houston market.

Charlesbook Capital Partners has acquired American Residential Services, Ltd. (ARS)  ARS is the plumbing and HVAC business which is led by Don Karnes and Dave Slott, former top executives of TruGreen Lawncare.  ARS employs many former TruGreen managers.

CIVC Partners acquired Yellowstone Landscape Group from Gridiron Capital.  Yellowstone has its primary operations in Florida, Texas and Georgia.

Lodi, California-based Clark Pest Control has acquired Bugz-B-Gone of Paso Robles and Stock Exterminator of Escondido.  Clark offers lawn care in addition to pest control.

Color Point, Inc., acquired Mid-American Growers.

Davey Tree acquired Cortese Tree Specialists in Knoxville, Florida’s Lawn Logic, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Klebasko Environmental Services in Maryland Maier Forest & Tree of Rochester, Minnesota, and Superior NW Tree & Shrub Care of Seattle, Washington.

The Dwyer Group, franchisor of The Ground Guys and other franchise brands, has been re-acquired by The Riverside Group

Emerald Lawn Care and Executive Lawn Care have merged in Frisco, Texas.

Evergreen Turf & Tree of Troy, Ohio, has merged with Powell’s Lawn Care and Anderson Tree Tech.

Maryland-based Green Street Growers acquired Eclectic Nature Gift and Garden Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

GI Partners acquired the Kellermeyer Bergenson facilities management business.

Greater Texas Landscapes, a unit of The Groundskeeper, acquired Hadden Landscape in Dallas.

John Deere Landscapes acquired BISCO in New England, The Stockyards Horticultural Supply near Memphis, Eljay Irrigation, Ltd, a Canadian wholesale distributor with nine locations in western Canada, and Diamond Head Sprinkler Supply with three locations in Hawaii.

Bountiful, Utah-based Lawn Butler and Erickson Landscaping have merged.

Tyler, Texas-based Lawn Masters and Salcido Lawn have merged to form Clear Choice Lawncare.

Levine Leichtman completed a leveraged recapitalization of its portfolio company, Lawn Doctor.

Nashville-based planning firm Littlejohn acquired Kramer & Little in Orlando.

Skyline Pest Control has acquired the pest control division of The Aabby Group

Massey Services acquired Green Pest Services in Austin, Texas.

McCall Service of Jacksonville, FL acquired Enviro Pest Control, also of Jacksonville. Both companies provide lawn care in addition to pest control and termite services.

Merit Service Solutions acquired Austin-based SunTerra Landscape Services

Moyer Indoor|Outdoor  acquired Almond Pest Control in Pennsylvania.

Noon Turf Care of Marlborough, Massachusetts, acquired Grasshopper Lawns in Connecticut and the lawn care division of Driven Landscape in Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

Atlanta-based Oasis Landscape and Irrigation acquired Lawn Ranger in Roswell, Georgia.

Arizona’s Paramount Landscape has been acquired by a private investor.

Piedmont LLC of Shelby, North Carolina has merged with Sherman Landscaping.

New Jersey-based Raimondi Horticultural Group has acquired Anderson Ward Plantscapes.

Minnesota-based Reliable Property Services has formed a strategic partnership with The Lawn Ranger of Minnesota, acquiring its landscape maintenance business.

Ruppert Landscape acquired A R Star Services in Maryland.

Austin-based planning and landscape architecture firm RVi  acquired Dallas-based NJB.

Ryan Lawn & Tree of Overland Park, Kansas, merged with Simply Green Lawn Sprinklers of Riverside, Missouri.

SavATree acquired St. Croix Tree Service of Wisconsin and Minnesota and Connecticut’s Country Tree.

SB Capital Partners acquired San Diego’s Aerations Only.

Washington’s SCJ Alliance  acquired Project Groundwork.

Scotts Lawn Service, a unit of The Scotts Miracle Gro Company acquired Indiana-based Action Pest Control.  This is Scott’s long-awaited platform investment in pest control. Scotts operates its pest control business under the Ortho brand.

The ServiceMaster Company completed a spin-off of TruGreen Lawncare.

Superior Street Partners acquired Virginia’s Riverbend Nursery.

Swingle Tree & Lawn of Colorado acquired Advanced Tree and Lawn Concepts of Golden, Colorado.

Colorado-based Terracare Associates acquired VMC Landscape in Dallas.

Thompson Landscape acquired Budget Lawn Care of Plano, Texas.

Truly Nolen acquired Fox Pest Control of El Paso, Texas.

Turf Diagnostics & Design and Hummel & Co. merged to form Turf & Soil Diagnostics.

Arizona-based Wheat Scharf Associates and LJ Design & Consulting merged to form Wheat Design Group – Landscape Architects.

If you know of green industry business sales or mergers & acquisitions that should be reported here, please contact us.  Please also add us to press release distribution lists.



Our Predictions for 2015


Every year, we make predictions for the coming year on green induystry nmarket conditions and merger & acquisityion activity.  For a report on last year’s predictions, click here.


Here are our predictions for 2015:


General industry conditions –

It will be another strong year for the green industry with revenue growth remaining in double digits.

Most industry segments will see solid growth.

Merger & acquisition activity will remain very strong, although there will be no “blockbuster”: deals.  Actiivity in the lawn care segment will increases ignificantly with TruGreen Lawncare resuming acquisitions and other buyers entering the market.

Franchising will continue to grow at a pace faster than the industry as a whole with franchise conversions being very popular.

Early in the year, Congress and the Administration will be oin good behavior, trying to move forward Later in the year, things will deteriorate, but we will still see no gvernment shutdowns or fiscal cliffs. We will also not see meaningful immigration reform despite growing frustration from the public.  We may see some positive movement on changes to Obamacare, but the administrationn will also be pushing hard for the increase in the minimum wage.


Businesses Wanted and Businesses for Sale


For a list of markets with businesses wantedclick here.  The primary focus is commercial maintenance, but some design-build may be acceptable.  There are also opportunities for lawn care businesses in many markets.

For a list of businesses for saleclick here.  This list represents a portion of the projects we are working on which may be of interest.






Book Ron Edmonds for Your Meeting


Contact us for information about booking Ron Edmonds to speak to your industry group or company meeting on green industry acquisition strategies, exit planning and similar topics.  No one has a firmer grip n the market for green industry mergers & acquisitions.



The Sellability Score is a quantitative tool designed to analyze how sellable your business is.

After completing an online questionnaire, you will immediately receive a Sellability Score based on a 100 point scale along with instructions for interpreting your results. We will send you the full report along with a guide for interpreting the Sellability Score in the Green Industry.