CIT, GE help get wheel company acquisition on the road

Two major middle-market company financiers help a wheel design company go from one private equity parent to another.

Mid-market lenders CIT and GE Capital have provided senior debt financing in Audax Group’s acquisition of Denver-based Wheel Pros from Platinum Equity, the pair said in a statement last week. Wheel Pros designs, markets and distributes branded custom wheels. It also sells performance tires and accessories. 

Audax Group, which was founded in 1999, is an investor in lower mid-market companies. It has offices in Boston, New York and Menlo Park, The firm has more than $6 billion in assets under management across its private equity, mezzanine and senior debt businesses.

“Wheel Pros is a market leader in the automotive aftermarket industry. We look forward to partnering with Randy White, Jody Groce and the Wheel Pros team to grow the business organically and through strategic add-on acquisitions,” Geoffrey Rehnert, co-chief executive of Audax Group, said in the statement.

“We are excited to continue growing the business organically and by leveraging Audax expertise in identifying and integrating add-ons. I look forward to working with our new partner and creating a larger strategic enterprise,” Randy White, chief executive of Wheel Pros, added.

Platinum Equity is a private equity firm founded by Tom Gores in 1995. It focuses on leveraged buyout investments of established companies in the US and Europe and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA. The firm originally bought Wheel Pros in 2008.

AEA, Prospect Capital Management and Triangle Capital Corporation also provided junior debt financing in the acquisition.