Editor's Note: Sources have confirmed the sale of Branson’s parent company to Tong Yang Moolson Company (TYM) is nearing completion. Early indications are the Branson and TYM tractors brands will remain separate companies operating under a common owner.
UPDATED: April 19, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. CDT
According to Maeil Business News Korea the transaction is valued at 60 billion won ($52.4 million). TYM has chosen United Asset Management Company (UAMCO Ltd.) and Keystone Private Equity (PE) as its partners to shoulder the acquisition cost.
According to the investment banking industry, TYM will only have to raise 20 billion won to buy out its rival company and have the two investors come up with the rest of the 40 billion won in project funding. The two were assured to redeem the fund through an initial public offering or sale of Kukje Machinery to another party later in the future. The joint fund would reach 50-60 billion won, as additional capital would be necessary after the takeover.
Here is additional background from the April 2016 edition of Ag Equipment Intelligence:
Preferred bidders are being lined up to acquire Kukje Machinery Co., the South Korean agricultural equipment manufacturer whose tractors are sold under the Branson name in the U.S. and other markets.
Kukje Machinery is being sold by Dongkuk Steel Group, which owns just over 50% of the company’s stock. Other owners include Korea Development Bank, which has a near 29% holding, and the other financial institutions that became shareholders in a debt-to-equity arrangement made 5 years ago.
A bidding process managed by the South Korean arm of financial services consultancy EY (Ernst & Young) has reportedly reached preferred bidder stage, with agricultural tractor and equipment manufacturer Tong Yang Moolsan (TYM) and its finance partner Truben Investment likely to emerge as the leading candidate to acquire the ag equipment maker.
According to Maeil Business News Korea, acquiring Kukje Machinery and its Branson line would put TYM ahead of current number two LS Mtron among South Korean agricultural equipment players, and close to Daedong Industrial Co., the manufacturer of Kioti tractors and all-terrain utility vehicles.
All four are active in the U.S., with the top three having operations based in North Carolina: Daedong-USA Inc., manufactures 21-91 horsepower Kioti tractors in Wendell, N.C., and distributes them through more than 300 dealers.
LS Mtron’s subsidiary LS Tractor USA LLC, based in Battleboro, N.C., distributes 24-97 horsepower compact and utility tractors.
Its parent company has a supply agreement with Case IH for the compact models in selected markets, including the U.S.
TYM’s North American activities are based in Wilson, N.C., where it completes assembly and distributes compact and utility tractors ranging from 25-105 horsepower.
Kukje Machinery set up Branson Tractors in Rome, Ga., in 1998. It now distributes the 24-78 horsepower compact and utility tractors through 165 dealers in the U.S. and Canada, with additional warehouse, assembly and distribution bases in Plainview, Texas, and North Plains, Ore.