The Toro Company (TTC) intends to invest in and grow the Intimidator business as part of the overall portfolio and product offering. Anticipating great opportunities in the zero-turn market, officials from The Toro Company believe this latest acquisition will help continue the momentum as a complement to TTC's other brands in that space, ultimately providing a broad range of options to end-users in the commercial zero-turn mower segment.
TTC bought lawnmower manufacturer Intimidator Group in a $400 million deal in January, and celebrated that deal with fanfare on Thursday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended the event, held at Intimidator’s plant in Batesville.
TTC Chairman and Founder Rick Olson said his publicly traded company is looking to leverage technologies and resources across its businesses to further innovation and provide products that better customer lives, expand product lines, reach new markets, further invest in Intimidator’s Batesville facility and help Intimidator’s employees grow.
He also said TTC’s planned technology investments are mainly in three areas: alternative (i.e. electric) power for its products; smart, connected products; and robotic or autonomous products. TTC just introduced the first fully autonomous fairway mower for golf courses, Olson said.
TTC plans to implement a policy that 35% of sales must come from products that were introduced within the past two years at Intimidator, he said. TTC will provide capital and access to experts from other parts of the company to help its new acquisition grow, Olson said.
Intimidator Founder Robert Foster said he and his wife, Betty, turned down several interested buyers before giving the nod to TTC. He and Olson said the companies were a good fit for each other because they value innovation, serving customers, building good teams and treating employees right, supporting communities, and being good stewards of the environment.
Foster will stay on at the company, but not run it. His role will be more focused on research and development and dealer relations, Foster said. He added that he wants his Intimidator plant to be the most efficient plant in TTC’s organization and that its growth is what captured the attention of the “world-class company.”
According to Foster, Intimidator does “the same amount of business in eight days as we did our first 14 months when we started. So the growth has been unreal.” The company, started with 38 employees, now employs 550.
“The story is one of commitment, creativity and also determination and perseverance. We know that's a big part of the story. … If anybody has lost their faith in the American story, or the American dream, they need to talk to Robert and Becky, because it's alive. And this is an incredible case. It's a great, great story,” said TTC’s Olson.
TTC serves customers in 125 countries, employs 11,000 people and works with thousands of distributors and dealers around the world through its family of brands, Olson said.