Toro to acquire zero-turn mower OEM
By Chad Elmore17 January 2022
Acquisition expected to expand Toro’s position in zero-turn mower markets
The Toro Company has acquired privately-held Intimidator Group, based in Batesville, Ark. The Intimidator Group designs and manufactures Spartan Mowers, a professional line of zero-turn mowers known for its distinctive styling. The purchase price was $400 million.
Sold through an established dealer network, Toro said Spartan Mowers has strong brand recognition in southern regions of the United States, appealing to rural markets and large acreage customers. Intimidator Group also designs and manufactures an line of powerful and versatile side-by-side utility vehicles.
“The addition of Spartan Mowers to our portfolio strategically positions us to be an even stronger player in the large and rapidly growing zero-turn mower market,” said Richard M. Olson, chairman and chief executive officer of The Toro Company.
“Spartan’s product lineup complements our innovative Exmark and Toro branded equipment and provides unique opportunities to further leverage technology and design, procurement and manufacturing efficiencies. We are confident the combined efforts of our teams will help advance our strategic priorities while providing unparalleled products, technologies and service to our customers.
“This move also reinforces our commitment to disciplined capital deployment, including prudent investments in our business, strategic acquisitions, dividend growth and share repurchases, all of which position us to deliver compelling shareholder returns long-term.”
Through the direction of founders and owners Robert and Becky Foster, the Intimidator Group’s brands include Spartan Mowers and Intimidator UTVs: as well as the eNVy Neighborhood Vehicle.
“Our success and growth is the result of our dedicated team of employees, dealers and supply partners for which we are truly thankful and excited to be taking this next step in our journey together,” said Robert and Becky Foster, owners of Intimidator Group. “The Toro Company has a rich history and proven track record of growing brands with the resources to fuel our future growth. With a shared commitment to furthering innovation, serving customers and supporting our people and communities, we look forward to joining The Toro Company and continuing to provide best-in-class products and service to our customers.”
The transaction has already received customary regulatory approvals and was paid with a combination of cash on hand and short-term borrowings under the company’s existing revolving credit facility. The Toro Company expects this acquisition to be modestly accretive to fiscal 2022 adjusted earnings excluding transaction and integration expenses.
For calendar year 2021, Intimidator Group net sales were approximately $200 million.
In a separate statement announcing the sale of the company Jan. 14, the Fosters said, “It has been our honor along with a dedicated team of employees, dealers, and suppliers, to build since 2013 a significant company that has positively impacted many.
“Today, we are excited to announce that our company will graduate and move on to become part of The Toro Company which has a long-standing legacy of excellence with resources to fuel our future growth. The similarities our two companies share in our values and vision in the zero-turn mower industry will make for a very exciting future for our dealer network and each member of our Intimidator Group team, the city of Batesville, Independence County, and for the State of Arkansas.”
Manufacturing and operations for the Intimidator Group are expected to remain in their Batesville facilities.
The Fosters, which also founded and sold Batesville ZTR manufacturer Bad Boy Mowers before launching the Intimidator and Spartan brands of equipped, shipped their first new UTV on August 7, 2013 and re-entered the ZTR market with the Spartan brand of mowers in October 2015.
For Toro, the acquisition is the latest in a string of interesting acquisitions, including Colorado-based autonomous equipment specialist Left Hand Robotics and the manufacturer of the Ventrac brand of tractors.