With a stroke of the pen, on the last day of 2012, Viking Range announced that it has thrown its lot in with commercial cooking products collector, Middleby Corporation. Middleby has found itself on these pages over the years for its purchase of Cooktek, and Jade Range (i.e Dynasty Range), and Turbochef.
Viking has over the years, been the butt of acquisition rumors that usually involved LG.
Now, the rumors are over.
Details and value of the transaction are unknown at this time.
What drove the sell decision? Possible reasons:
- The recession of 2008 continues, with no end in sight. At its worst, Viking lost 1/2 of its sales. What happens if you’ve borrowed and built a capacity for twice your current sales?
- Stephens Private Equity which owns a significant chunk, some say majority share, of Viking, missed their pre-2008 exit. This is no longer a growth stock, and one imagines ownership is no longer fun.
- Fred Carl always seemed like he was having fun. Is it still fun for Fred?
- Viking could have negotiated a deal with any number of residential behemoths, like LG, or Whirlpool or GE, or Electrolux…….but Viking chose a big cooking company with nearly no residential footprint….. One can assume that control played some part on Viking’s side. Perhaps they wanted to control their destiny, call their own shots….but what does that mean, when you are in someone’s portfolio?
- Likely what really drove this hook-up: Viking was available for the reasons above, combined with Middleby’s realization that no firm has successfully expanding from Commercial products to Residential products. Not Cooktek, Not Garland, Not Wolf, Not Jade / Dynasty, Not Anybody. Yet Middleby has pieces of residential products, and types of technologies here and there, which might, if branded Viking find a place in the market.
Certainly Viking could have done a better job with TurboChef technology……than TurboChef has.
Full press release attached below. More thoughts as they come to us…………this is all very new….and we haven’t had our coffee.
SEE OUR VIKING MERGER NEWS AND RUMORS THOUGHOUT HISTORY (BOTTOM).
VIKING RANGE CORPORATION ACQUIRED BY MIDDLEBY CORPORATION
GREENWOOD, Miss. (December 31, 2012) – Fred Carl, Jr., Founder, President and CEO of Viking Range Corporation, announced today that Viking has been acquired by Middleby Corporation of Elgin, Illinois.
Viking, based in Greenwood, Mississippi, is the industry’s leading manufacturer of professional category appliances, a segment of the residential major appliance industry it created in 1987 when it introduced the first Viking range. Middleby is a leading producer of commercial cooking and food processing and packaging equipment for the foodservice industry. With more than 30 brands, Middleby manufacturers, sells, distributes and services its products worldwide. Middleby is a publicly-traded company (NASDAQ: MIDD) with a strong track record of acquiring and growing companies.
“I am excited about the future of Viking as it becomes a part of the Middleby Corporation. I have always had a great deal of respect for Middleby, a company I’ve known well over the years, and very much look forward to becoming affiliated with an organization that has such a strong and impressive track record,” said Carl. “We are looking forward to launching a new product line in 2013 and excited about the great R&D and innovation Middleby brings to the Viking brand, including their truvection, induction and speed cooking technologies.”
“We are delighted to add Viking Range Corporation to our portfolio of highly respected companies,” said Selim A. Bassoul, Chairman and CEO of The Middleby Corporation. “As our entry into the residential appliance industry, we see many synergies and growth opportunities between Viking and our existing business units. We hope to aggressively grow and expand the Viking brand and add to their product offerings for the residential market.”
Mr. Bassoul emphasized that Viking will remain headquartered in Greenwood and will maintain its current operations there. “It is our intent to help Fred and his team to continue to grow Viking right there in Mississippi where it’s been since he started the company,” he added.
Stephens Inc. served as financial advisors to Viking in the transaction.
The Middleby Corporation is a global leader in the foodservice equipment industry. The company develops, manufactures, markets and services a broad line of equipment used for commercial food cooking, preparation and processing. The company’s leading equipment brands serving the commercial foodservice industry include Anets®, Beech®, Blodgett®, Blodgett Combi®, Blodgett Range®, Bloomfield®, Britannia®, Carter Hoffmann®, CookTek®, CTX®, Doyon®, FriFri®, Giga®, Holman®, Houno®, IMC®, Jade®, Lang®, Lincat®, MagiKitch’n®, Middleby Marshall®, Nieco®, Nu-Vu®, PerfectFry®, Pitco Frialator®, Southbend®, Star®, Toastmaster®, TurboChef® and Wells®. The company’s leading equipment brands serving the food processing industry include Alkar®, Armor Inox®, Auto-Bake®, Baker Thermal Solutions® (formerly Turkington), Cozzini®, Danfotech®, Drake®, Maurer-Atmos®, MP Equipment®, RapidPak® and Stewart®. The Middleby Corporation has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Best Small Companies every year since 2005, most recently in October 2012. For more information about The Middleby Corporation and the company brands, please visit www.middleby.com.
Viking Range Corporation is a culinary lifestyle company and major appliance manufacturer that originated ultra-premium commercial-type appliances for the home. Viking is headquartered in Greenwood, Mississippi. Viking major appliances are sold through a network of premium appliance distributors and dealers worldwide, and Viking culinary products are sold through a network of premium gourmet retailers. For more information about Viking Range Corporation, please visit i>www.vikingrange.com.
History in the Making (UP…..unfortunately)
VIKING MERGER NEWS (AND RUMORS) REPORTED IN APPLIANCEADVISOR.COM:
We think there’s a pre-2004 rumor of a tie up between Viking and LG……but hell if we can find it.