By: G.F. Gay Le Breton and Alexander Aguilar May 19, 2023
Georges Media Group expanded its local presence in April with the acquisition of Arthur Hardy Enterprises, the publisher of the magazine and website which provide extensive coverage of Carnival parades, events and customs. The buyer will add this asset to its large portfolio of print and digital publications across south Louisiana including NOLA.com, theadvocate.com, Gambit, and daily newspapers in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
In 1976, Arthur Hardy was the band director at Brother Martin High School and his wife, Sue Hardy, taught at De La Salle High School. Looking for a side project and noticing a lack of coverage on Mardi Gras parades, the Hardies started Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide. Much like a TV Guide, the Mardi Gras Guide provided the schedule for Carnival parades much earlier than local papers. In their first year, they printed 5,000 copies, of which they sold only 1,500. They believed the guide had potential though and continued to grow it. In the 1980’s, the guide picked up traction, and in 1989 Mr. Hardy quit his job at Brother Martin to manage the guide fulltime. The website was added in the 2000s. After 47 years of ownership, Arthur decided to sell.
Dathel and John Georges, the owners of Georges Media Group, plan to expand the guide’s Mardi Gras coverage to a wider audience around the state. The guide will be included in the Group’s digital platforms as well as in The Times Picayune, The Advocate and Acadiana Advocate.
The Georges were also involved in another deal last month through John Georges’ Imperial Trading Co., a fourth-generation, family-owned convenience store wholesaler. That company expanded in the south east with the acquisition of Birmingham-based City Wholesale Grocery Co., itself a third-generation wholesale distribution company.
The acquisition of City Wholesale provides Imperial with its first distribution center in Alabama and adds 1,000 new retail, educational and hospitality locations to the 6,000 Imperial already services. The deal will add roughly $150 million to the buyer’s $3 billion in annual revenues. Founded by C.H. Pelias in 1906, Imperial is now the fourth-largest convenience store distributor in the U.S.
Other notable local deals in April include the sales of General Work Products, Southwest Engineers, and Fiji-Oil’s Port-Based Refinery in Avondale, and AOS’ acquisition of the Louisiana division of Alfred Williams & Company.
General Work Products, a Harahan based company that provides safety-critical cordage, rope and fall protection products across the country, was acquired by Bishop Lifting, one of the largest providers of wire rope, slings, rigging and related safety-critical products in the U.S. This deal marks Bishop’s twelfth acquisition since 2012 and is the fifth add-on since Altamont Capital Partners acquired the platform in February 2022. General Work Products will keep its branding and its teams across their five existing locations in California, Texas, Louisiana and New York.
Based out of Slidell, Southwest Engineers was acquired by C&S Chemicals, a leading provider of water treatment and animal health products and a portfolio company of ShoreLine Equity Partners. Southwest Engineers is an innovative chemical company specializing in industrial water treatment to protect against corrosion and biological growth. The acquisition builds upon C&S’ strategy to expand further into the industrial water treatment sector.
Bunge, through its Bunge Loders Croklaan joint venture with IOI Corp., entered into a definitive agreement with Fuji Oil New Orleans, LLC to purchase its newly constructed, port-based refinery located in IMTT’s Avondale Terminal. The facility has multi-oil refining capabilities and will enable Bunge to expand its existing customer base.
Global agriculture giant Bunge said the transaction will provide it with a scalable, complementary port-based footprint capable of connecting North American food, feed and fuel customers to global markets. Bunge has plans to expand the facility’s current capacity significantly. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
Finally, AOS Interior Environments announced the acquisition of the Louisiana division of Alfred Williams & Company. The deal makes AOS the exclusive MillerKnoll dealer in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The combined companies install over $50 million of furniture, fixtures and equipment in Louisiana annually, and employ over 90 people across the state.
G.F. Gay Le Breton is managing director for Chaffe & Associates Inc., responsible for the merger and acquisition activities of the firm. Alexander Aguilar is a financial analyst with the firm. Investment banking services are provided by Chaffe Securities Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. For more information, visit http://chaffe-associates.com.