New York – Escort and Cobra Electronics, both purchased by a New York investment firm in recent years, have merged to form Cedar Electronics Holdings, which will continue to sell both companies’ brands.
The combined company will be headquartered in the West Chester, Ohio, offices of Escort and becomes “the industry leader in the radar detection market at every price point and in every sales channel,” said Monomoy Capital Partners, the owner of both companies.
“Cedar brings together three leading American brands to create a diversified, highly-profitable consumer electronics platform with a dedicated customer base in cars, trucks, boats and hiking trails across North America,” said Justin Hillenbrand, Monomoy’s partner and co-CEO.
Escort sells radar detectors under the Escort, Passport and Beltronics brands through the Escort and Beltronics websites, Amazon, Best Buy and specialty retailers. Monomoy acquired Escort in October 2013 and “has since upgraded its senior management team, restructured operations, and re-focused the company on its core products and customer base,” Monomoy said.
Chicago-based Cobra markets marine radios, two-way radios, CD radios, dash cams, radar detectors and other consumer electronics under the Cobra name through big-box retailers, truck stops, travel centers, e-retailers and specialty retailers. Monomoy acquired Cobra in October 2014 and “has since improved profitability by streamlining product development, rebuilding its supply chain and distribution system, and improving product quality and customer satisfaction,” Monomoy said.
Cedar will continue to market products under the Cobra, Escort, Passport and Beltronics brands and will focus on six core product categories, Monomoy said. They are “ticket protection,” CB radios, marine radios, two-way radios, dash cams, and related accessories.
The merged company is led by CEO David Thornhill, formerly Escort’s senior executive; and president Sally Washlow, formerly Cobra’s senior executive, Cobra’s board includes Bill Fields, former chief executive of Walmart North America; Tom Gebhardt, president of Panasonic Automotive Systems USA; and Clayton Albertson, formerly with the Blackstone Group.
Merger financing enabled Cedar to pay a $41 million dividend to its shareholders while maintaining what Monomoy called “a conservative capital structure and modest leverage.”
The private-equity firm maintains more than $1 billion in committed capital in a family of private-equity funds that primarily make controlling investments in middle-market businesses in manufacturing, distribution, consumer products and foodservice, the company said.