As the year comes to a close, Rural Lifestyle Dealer has compiled the top articles from each month of 2020. Take a look at what stories were trending on in September 2020.

1. Bobcat Co. Announces Launch Event for New Zero-Turn Mower Line

Bobcat Company, a global leader in compact equipment, has revealed that they will be launching a new line of zero-turn mowers. Bobcat zero-turn mowers will be unveiled in an exclusive live event to customers on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 5:00 p.m. CST, featuring product walk-arounds and a Q&A session.

Bobcat acquired BOB-CAT Mowers in late 2019, making key updates and innovations to the mowers while promoting optimum durability and productivity. The new mowers are currently rolling out to dealerships across the country, but registrants to the live event will get an exclusive first look at the mowers in action, as well as in-depth analysis from industry experts like senior product manager Ron Scheffler. The launch event will show customers how they can rely on Bobcat to handle nearly any mowing task with precision and toughness.

“Our customers have high expectations, and these new mowers are worthy of the Bobcat name,” said Mike Ballweber, president at Doosan Bobcat North America. “Whether you’re a proud homeowner or a hardworking professional landscaper, you will find a Bobcat mower to help you get the job done.”

2. Most and Least Reliable Lawn Tractor Brands

In Consumer Reports’ latest survey of 11,217 subscribers, John Deere takes the top prize as the most reliable brand of lawn tractors and among the more reliable zero-turn-radius mowers. And reliability is key — in our fix-it surveys, readers told us that they're more likely to repair lawn tractors and ZTRs than any other products we ask about, even such big-ticket major appliances as washing machines and refrigerators.

But while several John Deere models, including the John Deere X350-42, $3,200, and the John Deere S240-42 Sport, $2,500, top our riding mower tests, they tend to be pricey, and you'll sacrifice a bit of performance if you zero in on a John Deere ZTR. So how heavily should you weigh reliability when deciding on the best riding mower for your property? Consider these key findings.

3. Generac Out as Potential Buyer of Briggs

As previously reported, Generac Power Systems expressed interest in bidding on Briggs & Stratton in mid-August. However, the company, which competes with Briggs on some products lines, did not submit a bid by the Aug. 28 deadline, reports the Milwaukee Business Journal.

In addition, no other prospective buyers submitted qualified bids by the deadline, and it appears Briggs will likely be sold to baseline bidder KPS at $550 million for nearly all of Briggs & Stratton’s assets. The Business Journal reports that a hearing on the sale is scheduled for Sept. 15 and an attorney for the official unsecured creditors committee said the committee will challenge the proposed sale.

Tom Hayes, an analyst with Northeat Research in Cleveland, Ohio, told the paper that it’s possible that Generac wasn’t interested in all of Briggs’ assets. For instance, Generac likely was only interested in products that would have complemented and extended its offerings but wasn’t interested in Briggs’ small gas-powered engine products that are aimed at the residential market, for example.

4. Lastec Introduces World's Biggest Zero-Turn Mower

Lastec introduces the world’s biggest zero-turn mower with the 120 inch cutting width WZ1000 flex deck commercial zero turn mower. The WZ1000 joins the Lastec range of commercial and golf course mowers known throughout the world for a premium quality of cut with independently flexing decks. Built in the USA and starting at $48,900 USD, the WZ1000 provides up to 8.73 acres/hour coverage to fit the wide area production needs of commercial landscapers, lawn care professionals, sports fields, and golf courses.

5. KPS Partners Remove Todd Teske as Briggs & Stratton CEO

According to a report from the Milwaukee Business Journal, KPS Partners have replaced Todd Teske as CEO with Steve Andrews, who "led KPS Capital Partners’ portfolio company International Equipment Solutions LLC." The report stated Briggs & Stratton will also have a new board of directors, even though KPS Partners initially indicated it would retain Teske and the current board. 

Andrews had previously led International Equipment Solutions, which operates 14 manufacturing facilities and employees 2,700 people. KPS Partners sold International Equipment Solutions' attachments division to Black & Decker in March of last year.

6. Judge Approves Plan to Sell Briggs & Stratton

On Sept. 15, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Barry Schermer approved Briggs & Stratton’s plan to sell the company to New York City private equity firm KPS Capital Partners.

Depending on when the sale is completed, Briggs’ unsecured creditors will receive 7-10 cents on the dollar.

Briggs & Stratton Corp.’s unsecured creditors will receive 7 cents to 10 cents on the dollar. According to a report from the Milwaukee Business Journal, attorneys for Briggs & Stratton and its unsecured creditors committee said the sooner the sale is transacted, the more money will be available.

7. DR Power Equipment Enters Battery Powered Zero-Turn Mower Market with Acquisition of Mean Green Products LLC

DR Power Equipment, a division of Generac Holdings Inc., today announced the closing of a purchase agreement to acquire the assets of Mean Green Products, LLC, the leading battery powered, commercial grade turf care manufacturer, headquartered in Ross, Ohio.

DR Power Equipment designs and manufactures a full line of professional-grade, outdoor power equipment. Mean Green Products designs and manufacturers an innovative commercial line of zero-turn and walk behind, battery powered turf care products that provide quiet, zero emissions and minimal maintenance options as compared to traditional commercial mowers.

8. Scag Power Equipment to Introduce Turf Storm Spreader-Sprayer during 'Scag LIVE' Online Tradeshow Booth Event

Scag Power Equipment, a Division of Metalcraft of Mayville, is excited to announce its upcoming “Scag Live” online product introduction event to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Attendees of “Scag Live” will learn about all of the newest Scag products and product enhancements, as well as get the chance to submit questions to the Scag team, which they will answer live. Other products to be showcased will include offerings from Scag’s sister companies, Versatran, Gamache Systems and FJR Automation.

Highlighting the program will be the introduction of the new Scag Turf Storm stand-on spreader-sprayer product. According to the company, the Turf Storm is a must-have tool for the serious landscape chemical applicator, and anyone looking to expand their lawn care offerings. A natural fit for large commercial properties, the Turf Storm also makes itself at home while treating residential lawns. With right-sized liquid and dry capacities, the Turf Storm will help operators get more done per day for maximum productivity and profitability.

9. Creditors Fail to File Objection to Briggs Fast-Track Sale to KPS

The unsecured creditors committee, who had vowed oppose Briggs & Stratton’s plan for a fast-track Chapter 11 sale to private equity firm KPS Capital did not file an objection to the transaction by the Sept. 10 deadline, reports the Milwaukee Business Journal. The hearing on the sale plan is scheduled for Sept. 15, and no bids were submitted to compete with the bid from KPS.

According to the report, an attorney for the unsecured creditors had said in an Aug. 31 interview that they planned to challenge the planned sale of the Wauwatosa-based manufacturer to KPS Capital Partners. Robert Stark said at the time his clients remained “very dissatisfied” with the way Briggs & Stratton filed for bankruptcy after negotiating with KPS to serve as the stalking-horse bidder and provide $265 million in short-term financing.

10. KPS Capital Acquisition of Briggs Ready Must Close by Sept. 25

According to reports, Briggs & Stratton has reached agreements to proceed with the selling the company through Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Sept. 25. Any delays beyond that, reports the Milwaukee Business Journal, will result in substantially smaller payments to credits.

In a filing with the bankruptcy court on Sept. 14, Briggs said the sale to New York City private equity firm KPS Capital Partners isn’t completed by Sept. 27, the deal among Briggs, KPS Capital and Briggs creditors will become null and void.