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Family-owned Meek’s finds new owner

Private investment firms partner for purchase, and new holding company headquarters emerges

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Just before its 100th anniversary in the Meek family, their namesake lumber and supply company is under new ownership by two private investment firms in California.

Angeles Equity Partners LLC and Clearlake Capital Group LP, both based in Santa Monica, partnered last month to buyout Meek’s Lumber Co. Officials in California say members of the Meek family approached them about a sale.

Angeles Equity Partners and Clearlake Capital Group formed American Construction Source to acquire Meek’s and other building materials companies. Terms of the deal for Meek’s were not disclosed, and Meek family members were not available for comment.

“The Meek family had been looking for outside investors to grow the business on a national scale,” said Trent Waterhouse, an independent marketing and advertising adviser for Angeles. “It’s about growing from being good locally to having great national reach.”

Meek’s operates 54 stores in Missouri, Arkansas, Nevada and California, and most recently reported annual revenue of $325 million in an October 2017 Springfield Business Journal article.

In the move, the investment firms are establishing a national headquarters for American Construction Source in Springfield. The newly established holding company would manage two recently acquired Colorado distributors – Breckenridge Building Center Inc. and Edwards Building Center LLC.

Clearlake has a portfolio of 46 companies, including Jacuzzi Inc. and International Textile Group Inc., and has managed $8 billion of institutional capital since its inception in 2006, according to its website.

Angeles has two companies, Applied Acoustics International and ERP Power LLC, in its portfolio.

Waterhouse said the Meek’s name and management will remain in place at all 54 locations. For the local lumber company, the partnership with the two firms grants a path for expansion, said Eric Sachse, Meek’s Midwest division general manager.

Charlie Meek, a fourth generation family member to work in the business, is now in the role of vice president of business development after holding the title of CEO for a year. James Drexinger, an adviser with Angeles, replaces Meek as CEO.

“Two main things for him to focus on are maintaining and acquiring large customer relationships,” Waterhouse said of Charlie Meek’s new role, “and his second responsibility is looking at additional merger and acquisition opportunities.”

Sachse will remain general manager of the Midwest division, and Matthew Blair will remain the general manager for Western division of Meek’s.

“We’re not going to change who we are,” Sachse said.

He added that the exposure to new markets and the ability to work with companies under the ACS umbrella was exciting and a chance to see different strategies and practices.

Carrie Meek, also a fourth generation family member in the business, and last year was appointed chairwoman to the family’s board of directors, previously led West Coast operations. She retains her board seat, officials say.

“We are confident Angeles and Clearlake are the best partners to help grow the business and achieve its full potential,” Charlie Meek said in a news release, noting the companies have a “proven ability to create value and enable growth in the businesses in which they invest.”

Meek’s was privately owned since Charles C. Meek the family founded it in 1919 in Lockwood. The company moved to Springfield in the early 1930s.

Brothers Terry and Bill Meek, who ran the business for decades and built it from a $20 million operation, both retired in September 2017, according to past SBJ reporting. As recently as late 2017, there were more than 40 family members as company shareholders.

“We will celebrate next year – nothing has changed,” Sachse said. “The reasons for the sale transaction were just opportunity for employees who work in the company to grow and the opportunity to provide better services and sourcing from the vendor community.”

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