January 13, 2021
New York, NY – Kinderhook Industries, LLC (“Kinderhook”) announced today the recapitalization, in partnership with Management, of Buffalo Group, LLC and affiliates (“Buffalo Group” or the “Company”). Buffalo Group is a leading remanufacturer and distributor of automotive aftermarket keys, remotes and related equipment which was founded by Rob Popkey and Ayal Sharvit. As part of the recapitalization, Kinderhook announced the formation of Automotive Keys Group (“AKG”) – a platform for consolidation in the automotive keys industry. The Company represents Kinderhook’s 96th automotive-related transaction. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Buffalo Group is a leading remanufacturer and distributor of replacement automotive keyless entry remotes, other key replacements and related equipment. The Company sells into a variety of end markets through several sales channels and customer-facing brands. With a diverse set of supplier relationships, the Company provides a comprehensive product offering for over 95% of the vehicles on the road.
The Buffalo Group partnership with Kinderhook will facilitate AKG’s expansion in new and existing sales channels and exploration of new partnerships with suppliers, service companies and other members of the supply chain to pursue additional market opportunities.
Ayal Sharvit, CEO at AKG, stated, “Kinderhook has all the attributes we would look for in an ideal partner, including extensive experience in the automotive sector and valuable relationships throughout the industry. We are excited about the new doors being opened for the Company.”
In connection with the formation of AKG, Kinderhook has also added Scott Cisney and Chase Fraser to the AKG Board of Directors. Mr. Cisney was the CEO at Raben Tire through its 2019 sale to Goodyear and the former SVP of Sales and Operations at FleetPride, where, among other responsibilities, he oversaw the integration of several acquisitions for the nation’s largest independent distributor of heavy-duty truck and trailer replacement parts. Mr. Fraser is a Managing Partner at Fraser McCombs Capital, a Venture Capital firm investing in early and late-stage automotive technology, and he contributes a wealth of industry knowledge and deep relationships in the dealership channel.
“Buffalo Group has achieved tremendous success to date with a compelling value proposition for customers managing the costs of higher priced smart keys,” said Paul Cifelli, Managing Director at Kinderhook. “AKG highlights many of the key tenets of Kinderhook’s investment philosophy – identifying leading companies in niche markets, partnering with Management and bringing experienced operating partners to the Board of Directors. We look forward to collaborating with Management and the new Board of Directors to support the Company’s growth and innovation objectives.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Kinderhook. Ares and Regions Bank are the debt financing partners of AKG. The Peakstone Group served as financial advisor to Buffalo Group.