Equity Firm Acquires Kano Labs


Equity Firm Acquires Kano Labs
Spraying lubricant on a bolt to loosen it. © algre / shutterstock.com

A private equity firm acquired Nashville, Tennessee-based Kano Laboratories, which produces branded penetrating oils and lubricants that professionals use to loosen rusted, corroded or frozen mechanical parts. Financial terms were not disclosed.

San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors is a private equity firm focused on investments in middle-market companies. Kano’s products are mainly sold into industrial maintenance, repair shops and consumer markets.

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“Our investment in Kano is a continuation of Gryphon’s successful proactive sector initiatives in both enthusiast brands and specialty chemicals, and also leverages insights gained from current portfolio company Mechanix Wear and former portfolio company K&N Engineering,” Keith Stimson, deal partner and head of the Heritage Fund Team at Gryphon, said in a news release.

Mechanix Wear designs and manufactures premium work gloves. K&N is a performance filter brand in the automotive space and the inventor of washable performance air filters and air intake systems.

Kano’s management team will be led by newly appointed CEO Sevan Demirdogen, who formerly headed the polymers and fluids segment of Illinois Tool Works. That company produces engineered fasteners and components, equipment and consumable systems and specialty products. “Sevan was instrumental in helping us underwrite this acquisition and is uniquely qualified to lead Kano, with extensive experience in the Industrial penetrating oils and lubricants space and [maintenance, repair and operations] distribution,” Gryphon Heritage Fund Operating Partner Craig Nikrant said.

Demirdogen will also serve on the board, along with several executive advisors who have experience within the specialty chemicals and industrial distribution channel sectors, including Mike Irwin, a 23-year veteran and former chief financial officer of maintenance and cleaning products company WD-40. Irwin will serve as Kano’s executive chairman. Founded in 1939, Kano produces industrial strength penetrating oils and lubricants. The company’s Kroil and AeroKroil branded products are used by professionals to loosen rusted, corroded or frozen mechanical parts.

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