News that Griffon Corp. – which segments its businesses under the categories Consumer & Professional Products (including AMES® and ClosetMaid®), Home & Building Products (which includes Clopay® doors), and Defense Electronics – has acquired Hunter Fan Company for $845 million is not sitting well with Voss Capital, a significant shareholder of Griffon. Voss released the following public statement in opposition of the deal:
“In our opinion, Griffon’s ill-advised decision to buy Hunter Fan Company from MidOcean Partners demonstrates the Board’s continued disregard for shareholders and causes us to further question whether Griffon’s directors are protecting Griffon’s shareholders’ best interests. The sheer size of this acquisition places tremendous risk squarely on the Company’s shareholders for management’s ability to integrate and execute. Adding insult to injury, the Griffon Board is not putting this significant Hunter transaction up for a vote of shareholders…we believe this acquisition is wrong for shareholders for many reasons.”
Among Voss’ complaints is that the Hunter Fan Company acquisition is the largest in Griffon’s history and is “immense” relative to Griffon’s size. There are also concerns of a “conflict of interest.”
The acquisition news is better received in the lighting community and within the Hunter Fan Company itself. Lighting showrooms and other distributors who sell Hunter products will reportedly not see any change in operations on Hunter’s end. There are no planned changes to the leadership team or to any agreements and terms between Hunter and retailers. Hunter Fan will operate as its own stand-alone company within Griffon’s Consumer & Professional Product category, much like ClosetMaid and AMES Company.
From Hunter’s perspective, becoming a part of a larger corporation with established and well-respected brands is an advantage and beneficial for growth. No changes to the operating structure or employees give Hunter Fan executives a positive mindset for entering the new year.
The deal is expected to close at the end of January.