Castle Harlan Partners Acquires Advanced Accessory Systems

Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P., a private equity fund organized and managed by New York merchant bank Castle Harlan, Inc., acquired, along with management, Advanced Accessory Systems, LLC, a manufacturer of automotive roof racks and towing systems, for approximately US$260 million. The deal closed on April 15, 2003. The company had been majority owned by affiliates of JPMorgan Partners, LLC, the private-equity arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co., which purchased Advanced Accessory Systems, in conjunction with the company’s management, in 1995.

Castle Harlan, Inc. was represented in Canada, by Janie Tremblay, Steven Blackburn and Conrad Sheppard of Torys LLP in Toronto, and Dominique Bélisle, Virginie Arbour-Maynard and Brigitte Gauthier of Desjardins Ducharme Stein Monast in Montreal; and in the U.S., by Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York with a team that included André Weiss, Robert Goldstein, Ana Guzman and Farzad Damania (corporate), Paul Weber, Kimberly Monroe, Thais Alexander and Jay Rittberg (finance), Howard Epstein and Valerie Sheaffer (environmental), Kurt Rosell (tax), Fonda Duvanel (real estate), Adam Faber (employee benefits) and Santo Manna (intellectual property).

Anthony Clare, Bronwyn Walsh and Matthew Rickards of Ashurst Morris Crisp in London co-ordinated the European aspects of the transaction for the buyers with their various offices, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Pieter Elias, Marlon van der Maat, Martine Schmidt and Miriam van Ee of NautaDutilh in London advised the buyers on Dutch law; Pavel Dejl and Pavel Nosek of Kocián Solc Balastík in Prague provided guidance on Czech law; Jakob Bernhoft of Kromann Reumert in London provided advice on Danish law; Pawel Cierwierz and Bartlomiej Jankowski of Wardynski and Partners in Warsaw advised on Polish law; and Olaf Fältman of Advokatfirman Cederquist KB in Stockholm provided guidance on Swedish law.

Advanced Accessory Systems, JPMorgan Partners and the sellers were represented by Ilan Nissan, Charles McCormick, Christian Nugent, Brian Finnegan, Laurie Medley and James Sommer (corporate), Bob Lowe (ERISA), Brad Okun (tax), Dean Pappas (real estate) and Ken Turnbull (labour) of O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

The sellers were represented in Canada, by Sharon Druker and Martine Guimond of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Montreal. Marielle Legein and Oscar van Angeren of De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek advised on Dutch law; Nicola Hancock of SJ Berwin advised on English law; Jean-François Adelle of Bignon Lebray Delsol & Associés advised on French law; Zdenka Cizková of Akmuron advised on Czech matters. In the U.S., the sellers were represented by Robert Krueger (management) and Grant Trigger (environmental) of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP in Detroit, and by Michael Stewart (intellectual property) of Rader Fishman & Grauer PLLC in Michigan.

The acquisition financing was provided by GE Global Sponsor Finance. GE Global Sponsor Finance was represented in Canada, by Scott Horner, Dale Seymour and Charles Zienius of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto, Constantine Troulis in Montreal and Marisia Campbell in Ottawa; and in the U.S., by Jonathan Cooper, David Mason, Keith Radner, Michael Hainen, Anne Marie Pisano, Vanessa Bachtell and Joseph Huntzicker of Goldberg, Kohn, Bell, Black, Rosenbloom & Moritz, Ltd. in Chicago.