NEW YORK – Global investment firm KKR and MPE partners announced the signing of a definitive agreement for KKR to acquire Bettcher Industries from MPE.

The acquisition includes all divisions of Bettcher Industries including its tooling business of handheld trimmers, tools and cutting consumables under the Bettcher brand and its process solutions group under Cantrell-Gainco, a manufacturer of processing equipment, yield enhancement and yield tracking systems for meat, poultry and fish operations. Further terms were not disclosed.

Birmingham, Ohio-based Bettcher provides automated machinery and semi-automated handheld tools for beef, pork and poultry processing plants globally. Products include processing and worker safety and comfort equipment.

“Bettcher is a leader in its space, designing innovative products that benefit customers and workers alike,” said Brandon Brahm, managing director at KKR. “We are enthused by the company’s leading brand and reputation and impressed by CEO Tim Swanson’s leadership. We could not be more excited to partner with the whole Bettcher team to continue to build on its iconic legacy with future growth.”

This transaction will conclude a minority ownership in Bettcher by the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), but KKR plans to continue building on this legacy with its own employee engagement program. KKR plans to allow all employees the opportunity to participate in any equity return alongside KKR.

“We are thrilled to see Bettcher as the latest example of our participation in the shared ownership movement,” said Pete Stavros and Nate Taylor, co-heads of KKR’s Americas Private Equity business.

“We believe food processing automation is an essential sector of the global economy benefitting from stable demand and attractive growth. We are incredibly excited to work with Bettcher to not only pursue its organic growth strategies, but also strategic acquisitions,” said Josh Weisenbeck, partner at KKR who leads KKR’s Industrials investment team.

The investment in Bettcher is a continuation of KKR Industrials’ commitment to employee engagement and building market leaders, and marks KKR Industrials’ third platform acquisition in 2021, including Flow Control Group and Charter Next Generation.

“At Bettcher, we are driven by our mission to help our customers feed the world,” said Tim Swanson, chief executive officer of Bettcher Industries. “We are excited to work together with KKR, a world-class investor who shares our vision of building platform scale while preserving our heritage of employee engagement and ownership that has been a cornerstone to providing our customers with meaningful, innovative solutions over the years.”

William Blair & Co and Kirkland & Ellis advised KKR and committed debt financing is being provided by UBS, KKR Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets, and Jefferies. KKR is making its investment in Bettcher Industries through its North American private equity strategy.