Type: Case Studies

Relationships That Ignite Mobility

Strategic Transaction Enhances the Success of a World Leader

Nearly 50 years ago, a pioneer founded a company with the goal of bringing independence to millions who, like him, were disabled.  That company is BraunAbility and it has grown into a world leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts.

The company’s success, growth and market position garnered the attention of many suitors who viewed BraunAbility as a unique asset.  Although BraunAbility was not on the market, it was compelled to evaluate the possible benefits a strategic transaction might create for its equity holders.  As part of this process, the company turned to its team at Taft.  The result was a successful collaboration with Patricia Industries, the United States division of Investor AB, which has a storied commitment to successfully buying, holding and growing iconic-brand companies.

The Challenge

For companies like BraunAbility, successfully completing a strategic transaction requires the balancing of many interests.  Continuity of management, autonomy and execution of the company’s vision must be balanced with the interests of a new investor that often include specific growth targets and an eventual exit.

Marrying these interests requires a true partnership, with the company and its new investor working together to achieve their mutual goals.  Thus, choosing the appropriate suitor was of paramount importance. Investor AB’s and Patricia Industries’ successful track record of growing its acquired companies, together with their “patient capital” approach to investing, made it the company’s first choice.  The company believes that these factors, coupled with Investor AB’s and Patricia’s presence in the health care and mobility industries would enable BraunAbility to achieve its long-term growth strategy.  Ultimately, BraunAbility agreed to join the Investor AB and Patricia family of companies in what has turned out to be a highly successful combination.

Taft in Action

For BraunAbility to meet its goals and successfully complete a transaction with Patricia, the company needed an advisor who not only understood its business, but also one who would work with its management team and stakeholders to navigate the complexities of a large transaction with global implications and do so on an expedited basis.

The company turned to its team at Taft for counsel. And Taft delivered, quickly assembling a cohesive team of merger, acquisition and finance attorneys, together with experts in tax, ERISA, antitrust, labor and employment, environmental, intellectual property and other substantive areas, from multiple offices.  Taft’s lawyers worked closely with, and advised, BraunAbility’s management team and stakeholders regarding all aspects of the deal and worked under a very tight timeframe to draft the transaction documents and close the sale. 

Results & Impact

In only a few short months following the parties’ first discussions relating to the transaction, Patricia Industries acquired BraunAbility for $425 million, financed with a substantial pool of equity which included participation by the BraunAbility management team.  As contemplated in the acquisition, the pre-sale BraunAbility management team has continued to lead and manage the company to even greater success than it had achieved before the sale.

Taft has had the privilege of being there with its long-time client every step of the way, having served as a trusted advisor and counsel to BraunAbility before and after the sale.

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