Work Glove Company Mechanix Wear Raises Funding From Gryphon

By Dan Anderson ● August 22, 2019
  • Middle-market private equity firm Gryphon Investors announced it signed an agreement to make a significant investment in Mechanix Wear

Gryphon Investors — a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm — announced it signed a definitive agreement to make a significant investment in Mechanix Wear. Mechanix Wear is a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance work gloves.

And working along with current owner and CEO Michael Hale — who will retain an ownership stake in the company — Gryphon is intending to build a leading platform in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sector. This transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions.

Launched in 1991 by James Hale, Mechanix Wear is the leader in automotive, construction, industrial, and tactical hand protection. James Hale’s son Michael had joined the company in 2005 and was named CEO in 2016. Under Michael’s leadership, the company has seen rapid growth and international expansion.

“We’re pleased to partner with Gryphon, which has a long track record of helping family-owned companies successfully grow their businesses,” explained Hale. “With the support of Gryphon’s deep operational resources and our new President and COO, we look to capitalize on Mechanix Wear’s leadership position and strong brand to accelerate growth across channels, including retail, e-commerce, industrial, and federal, as well as geographies, including North America, Asia, and Europe.”

As a globally recognized brand, Mechanix Wear has a reputation for delivering consistently superior performance, quality, and reliability. And the company has gained a loyal and growing following of passionate consumers.

“Our investment in Mechanix Wear continues Gryphon’s long-time successful activity of supporting enthusiast and active lifestyle brands. Mechanix Wear is an authentic brand stemming from its NASCAR heritage beginning almost 30 years ago, and has built a large, loyal user base. We’re excited to partner with the Company as we build the business together to its next stage in its evolution as the market leader in hand protection,” said Gryphon partner and head of the consumer products and services group Keith Stimson.

And as a part of the transaction, Jesse Spungin is being named Mechanix Wear as President and COO succeeding current COO Bari Waalk — who is leaving the company in December after 30 years of service to pursue new opportunities. Spungin — who will be responsible for leading Sales, Marketing, and Operations globally — was most recently President at K&N Engineering, an industry leader in automotive filtration and technology and a previous Gryphon portfolio investment.

“Michael Hale and his management team have built a work glove brand that workers and consumers around the world associate with innovation, quality, and operational excellence, and we intend to help them build on that promise. Gryphon’s investment will enable the Company to accelerate organic growth and drive best in sector product innovation, while maintaining the highest attention to serving its customers and consumers,” added Gryphon Consumer Products and Services Group Operating Partner Dennis O’Brien.

Based out of Valencia, California, the company sells its products in more than 20,000 retail store locations across more than 70 countries and through industrial distributors.

“Hand protection is an important and growing need in the modern economy, and Mechanix Wear is the most coveted brand with a long-standing leading market position at the high end of the market, where demand is growing fastest,” commented Ryan Fagan, Senior Vice President at Gryphon. “We look forward to working with Michael, Jesse, and the rest of the management team to support the Company’s organic growth and to identify attractive acquisitions to grow the platform.”

EC M&A and Houlihan Lokey acted as Gryphon’s financial advisors and Kirkland & Ellis as the firm’s legal advisor. And Doug Hood was a financial advisor to Mechanix Wear, and Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth was the legal advisor to the Company.