2010 proved to be a strong year in mergers & acquisitions within the lawn and landscape industry. Major industry players and local businesses both made moves to solidify their positions through strategic acquisitions.
This article includes publicly announced transactions within the industry. Although there were transactions reported in many parts of the country, activity was strongest in New England, Texas and Florida, all of which are key markets for the industry. Other regions with multiple transactions include the Midwest and Colorado.
Among major industry players, ValleyCrest strengthened its presence in both New England and in Florida, two key markets. ValleyCrest acquired Waverly Landscape Associates, Inc. of Belmont, Massachusetts. Waverly operated four branches in the Boston metro area.
In December, ValleyCrest reported that it has acquired two companies in Florida, Nanak’s of Longwood and Raymow Enterprises of Oldsmar. Nanak’s ranked 29th while Raymow ranked 99th on the 150 for 2010. ValleyCrest reported that these two acquisitions increased its overall landscape maintenance business by approximately 10%.
The Brickman Group began the year with the acquisition of The Green Plan, based in the Denver suburb of Broomfield. With approximately $13 million in revenue,The Green Plan ranked96th on the Landscape Management 150.
Brickman also acquired First Class Lawn and Landscape of Indianapolis, adding its two branches to Brickman’s six existing branches in the market, solidifying its leadership there.
Yellowstone Landscape Group acquired Texas Services, Ltd. Which became the tree services division of Yellowstone’s BIO Landscape & Maintenance unit in Texas. Yellowstone also acquired Forest Hills Lawn Service, Inc. of Dallas, Texas, marking its first significant operation in its hometown of Dallas, Texas. Forest Hills became a part of BIO.
The Davey Tree Expert Company acquired Hartney Greymont Inc. of Needham, Massachusetts. Hartney operates a tree care, lawn and landscape business in New England. Hartney was an existing ESOP-owned company and was acquired by Davey, the largest ESOP-owned company in the industry.
Environmental Design Inc. (EDI) and Davey have entered into an agreement to combine their large tree transplanting resources and expertise into Houston-based EDI. The strategic alliance will supplement the marketing of the service nationwide through the Davey network of tree and landscape experts. Bartlett Tree Experts acquired Preservation Tree Care of Beaufort, South Carolina.
Lawn Dawg, Inc. of Nashua, New Hampshire announced its first acquisition, Weed & Feed Professional Services of Plymouth, Massachusetts Lawn Dawg indicated that the acquisition will expand its commercial services.
Denver-based Swingle Lawn Tree and Landscape Care acquired Tropic Green Lawn & Tree Care of Denver and Conservative Tree Care, Inc of Windsor and Arbor Care Plus of Fort Collins.
SavATree, a Bedford, New York-based provider of tree, shrub and lawn care services, announced a merger with DeerTech. DeerTech’s service program protects shrubs and plants from deer and combines a patented ultra-sound technology with a proprietary treatment program.
SavATree, also announced a merger with Autumn Tree Care Experts, expanding SavATree’s presence into the Illinois market.
Although it does not usually announce individual acquisitions, TruGreen Lawncare, a unit of Memphis-based ServiceMaster, continued its tuck-in acquisition program and indicated that it intended to continue to do so.
In a major development late in the year, ServiceMaster reported that it is exploring strategic options relating to TruGreen Landcare, its commercial landscape maintenance business, including the potential sale of the business.
In other transactions:
Atlanta-based Ed Castro Landscape, Inc. acquired Earthtones, an Atlanta-based residential maintenance company.
New Leaf Landscape Maintenance of Southampton, New York, acquired Lion Landscaping of Sag Harbour, New York.
Burhoe Landscaping and Lawn Service of Unionville, New York, has joined The Yard Group, based in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Noon Turf Care of Hudson, Massachusetts, acquired Lawnmaster Boston West, making the company the largest independent privately owned lawn care company in the state.
New England Irrigation acquired the accounts of Underground Concepts of Hopedale, Massachusetts.
Shemin, The Landscape Supply Company acquired former Skinner locations in Austin, Lewisville and Houston, Texas.
Horizon Distributors, Inc. expanded its presence n the Las Vegas market with the acquisition of Turf Equipment Supply.
Atlanta-based Arrow Exterminators acquired Armand Pest Control of West Palm Beach, Florida, which provides lawn and ornamental services in addition to pest control and termite services.
Insight Equity II, LP, a Dallas-based private equity fund acquired a controlling interest in the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based Berry Family of Nurseries.
The Riverside Group agreed to sell Waco, Texas-based The Dwyer Group to TZP Group. Dwyer is a holding company of seven franchise businesses focused on residential and commercial services. In early 2010, Dwyer entered into an agreement to market landscape services franchises under The Ground Guys brand in the United States.
The Scotts-Miracle Gro Company did not complete any acquisitions during the year.
In a post-script to the unsuccessful acquisition and subsequent closure of the Smith & Hawken stores by Scotts, Target announced that it had acquired the Smith & Hawken brand and other intellectual property from Scotts. Scotts also announced the planned divestiture of its Global Professional Unit which served nursery and green house growers and specialty agriculture.