The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 4, 2013

New York equity firm acquires Watchfire

Staff Report
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE – Watchfire Signs, a leading manufacturer of LED signs and digital billboards, announced Thursday that it has been acquired by a fund managed by The Jordan Company, a middle-market private equity firm based in New York.

All members of the current management team, including Watchfire Signs’ President and CEO Steve Harriott and CFO Frank Dwyer, will continue in their current roles, according to a company press release Thursday afternoon. In addition, all senior Watchfire executives and the David Wood family will continue to be shareholders in the business. Members of the Wood family have been shareholders in Watchfire since the Wood family’s acquisition of the Time-O-Matic business in 1971.

Watchfire has experienced rapid growth during the last five years, according to the release. During this period, Watchfire has significantly increased revenue, doubled employment, built a state-of-the-art 200,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility on Maple Street and strengthened the company’s management team.

“The Jordan Company has a long history of buying and building upon outstanding companies in partnership with existing owners and management teams,” CEO Steve Harriott said in the release. “This is an exciting time for Watchfire. We are poised for strong growth in an industry that is still in its early stages. The Jordan Company understands the potential for Watchfire’s continued growth and increased market share.”

Watchfire Signs has been manufacturing outdoor electric signs since 1932 and has been manufacturing LED signs since 1996. The company has more than 45,000 outdoor LED signs and billboards in daily operation worldwide.

The Jordan Co., founded in 1982, is a middle-market private equity firm with more than $5 billion of committed capital under management and a 30-plus year track record of investing in and contributing to the growth of many businesses across a wide range of industries. The managing partners have been investing together for more than 20 years. Headquartered in New York, The company also has offices in Chicago and Shanghai.