Sun Capital Partners can be a ray of sunshine for flourishing (or struggling) companies. The private investment firm specializes in making leveraged buyouts and equity and debt investments. It also acquires interests in bankrupt or underperforming firms. After acquisition, Sun Capital provides operating advice and additional capital to its portfolio companies. It typically targets firms with $50 million to $500 million in annual sales. It does not rule out any industry when considering investments, but is partial to specialty manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, and apparel, technology, telecommunications, and home furnishing companies. Sun Capital has more than $10 billion of capital under management.
Based in Florida, Sun Capital is a global investor.
Sun Capital's acquisition and investment targets include private businesses, divisions of larger companies, and publicly-traded companies. The firm focuses on middle-market growth companies that can benefit from its operational resources.
It invests in several sectors, including paper and packaging, food and beverages, metals and mining, automotive parts, consumer products, financial services, healthcare, media and communications, building products, telecommunications, technology, retailing and e-commerce, restaurants, and manufacturing and industrial, among others.
Through its affiliate Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions, one of North America’s largest architectural glass and aluminum fabricators, Sun Capital in 2013 acquired Western States Glass Corporation of Northern California (WSG), a glass fabricator and distributor.
It also cashed out of its investment in Harry’s Fresh Foods by selling the business to Joshua Green Corporation through its food-focused subsidiary, JGC Foods LLC , and Sunrise Growers-Frozsun Foods, a leading supplier of frozen strawberry products as well as a distributor and marketer of fresh strawberries.
Sun Capital has invested in more than 325 companies since it was founded in 1995, with combined sales of more than $45 billion. Its current portfolio consists of interests in more than 70 firms. Holdings include bath and kitchen products maker American Standard Brands, Hickory Farms, and retailers Pamida, ShopKo Stores, and Marsh Supermarkets. Sun Capital also has several restaurant chains within its portfolio. Among them are seafood chain Captain D's, Boston Market, Fazoli's, Garden Fresh, and Restaurants Unlimited.
In addition to the US, Sun Capital has offices in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Affiliate Sun European Partners invests in companies throughout Europe, targeting firms with €40 million to €4 billion (between $55 million and $5.5 billion) in annual sales.
In 2012 Sun European Partners acquired plastics company ELIX Polymers and plastics packaging producer Kobusch-Sengewald. The European arm also picked up a couple of retailers that year, Bonmarché in the UK and Strauss in Germany.
Other recent transactions in the US include an investment in The SCOOTER Store and the purchase of frozen-food supplier Contessa Premium Foods as it exited bankruptcy. In 2012 Sun Capital acquired fluid power systems maker Certified Power and announced plans to buy the wireless phone business of Polycom. The deals mark a new trend for Sun Capital, which is focusing more on investing in technology.
The lousy economy and decreased consumer spending have impacted some of Sun Capital's holdings. In all, nearly a dozen of Sun Capital's current and former portfolio firms have filed for bankruptcy since the start of 2008. Friendly's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011, but emerged early the following year. Struggling with a heavy debt load, Real Mex filed for bankruptcy protection as well and emerged in 2012 under new ownership.
Sun Capital's former holding Berkline BenchCraft Holdings also filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Sun Capital had taken over the company and restructured operations. Berkline, which specialized in making seating for home theaters, struggled for years but ultimately fell victim to the economic downturn. After failing to find a buyer, Berkline liquidated its assets.