US LBM, the fast-growing holding company that is 2015's ProSales Dealer of the Year, announced today its acquisition of Lampert Lumber, the No. 32 company on the ProSales 100. The deal expands US LBM's operations in the Upper Midwest even as its owners continue to test the waters for a potential sale.
Founded in 1887 and based in St. Paul, Minn., Lampert runs 33 full-service lumber and building material sales locations in Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin. It recorded $188 million in revenue in 2013, 77% of it to pros.
Dan Fesler, Lampert's fourth-generation owner,will remain with the company as an adviser. Company president Bob Egan will continue in his current role and lead his existing team, US LBM said in its announcement.
A US LBM official said Lampert will continue to operate under its own name. This means in effect means two of the biggest names in the Upper Midwest will be owned by the same holding company. In October 2011, BlackEagle Partners, the private equity firm that created and owns most of US LBM, acquired Lyman Lumber Co.. Lyman has a lumberyard, millwork, and kitchen operation in Chanhassen, Minn.,southwest of Minneapolis, while Lampert has four facilities serving the Twin Cities. In addition, Lyman Lumber of Wisconsin is based in Eau Claire, while Lampert has 15 yards in the state..
In the announcement Fesler said Lampert chose US LBM "because they will be the best steward of our family business and legacy," and Egan said that being part of US LBM "will allow Lampert Lumber to continue to invest in our operations and enhance customer service levels." For his part, US LBM president and CEO L.T. Gibson said that what he described as the partnership with Lampert "continues US LBM's strategy of connecting market-leading teams and longstanding companies together, creating a unique platform in our industry."
Some of US LBM's admirers--a group that includes the company's rivals--have questioned how long that strategy will last. Numerous sources have told ProSales privately that BlackEagle has been quietly shopping US LBM to potential buyers. It has been roughly five years since BlackEagle,, with Gibson and Building Industry Partners, formed US LBM from just three companies that Stock Building Supply divested. It has since grown into a ProSales Top 10 firm with roughly 130 operations operating in 21 states. Gibson has pointed out that he and the companies that joined US LBM collectively own about a quarter of the business. Given the firm's overall profitability and growth, it's highly unlikely any new owner would want to tamper with success, Gibson says.