Sterling Investment Partners Acquires Majority Interest in Heartland

Sterling Investment Partners, a Connecticut-based private equity firm, has acquired a majority interest in HeartLand, the Kansas City-based commercial landscape and facilities services company with operations in Kansas City, Denver, Central Missouri, Lexington and Pittsburgh.  HeartLand’s original private equity partner was Great Range Capital.  Great Range formed HeartLand in April 2016, along with HeartLand CEO Edward Schatz Jr, to buy Kansas City-based Signature Landscape and later completed eight additional acquisitions that now gives HeartLand operations in five states, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Private equity investment in the landscape services industry has been robust in recent years.  This transaction represents a new investment and a successful exit for Great Range Capital.

Here is the press release announcing the transaction:

 Sterling Investment Partners (“Sterling”), a leading middle market private equity firm, announced today that it has made a majority equity investment in HeartLand (“HeartLand” or the “Company”), in partnership with management.  HeartLand is a premier provider of commercial landscape and facilities services, currently operating in five markets across the Central United States.  The Company’s founder, Edward Schatz Jr, backed by a proven and entrepreneurial team of “green industry” executives, chose to partner with Sterling to continue building a scalable platform in the industry.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Kansas City, HeartLand serves clients through its five regional companies: Signature Landscape in Kansas City (Kansas and Western Missouri); Columbia Landcare (Central Missouri); Keesen Landscape (Denver, Colorado); Hillenmeyer Landscape (Lexington, Kentucky); and JML Landscape  (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).  Services include full-service maintenance (mowing, pruning, fertilization and chemical, irrigation, bed maintenance and annual flowers), landscape enhancements (property upgrades and renovations), and winter services (de-icing and snow removal).  Each operating platform is a leader in their respective market, with strong brand reputations for high-quality work, responsiveness, reliability, excellent communication and sustaining long-term client relationships.  HeartLand’s leadership team includes Chief Executive Officer Ed Schatz, Chief Development Officer Bill Dellecker, and Chief Financial Officer Peter Welch, who have decades of experience building successful businesses within the commercial landscape industry.  By selectively investing in top regional providers, HeartLand has created a diverse platform that combines the power of a pre-eminent local service model with the financial resources, integrated systems, technical and developmental resources of a progressive industry leader.

Edward Schatz Jr, CEO of HeartLand, stated, “We conducted an intensive and focused search to secure a new financial partner who will support our continued growth; that process led us to the ultimate selection of Sterling Investment Partners. While they possess the depth of financial resources we needed, they also bring an understanding of and enthusiasm for this business.  Their proven track record and management partnership philosophy has resulted in the growth and development of multiple firms over the years and we are confident they will help HeartLand achieve that same level of success. We’ll make a strong team!”

Charles Santoro, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Sterling, commented, “We are very excited to partner with HeartLand’s entrepreneurial team, who have a compelling history of success in the space.  We look forward to working with the Company to expand its geographic reach, as the team continues to build a world-class platform.”

The Principium Group endeavors to track all merger & acquisition activity within the lawn and landscape services industries.

2019 M&A Activity in the Landscape Services Industry details all reported transactions in 2019.