Escort Radar-Detector Maker Tagged

Escort radar-detector maker tagged
by Kelly Holman Posted 03:00 EST, 21, November, 2005

In a deal that could grab traffic cops' attention, Falconhead Capital LLC said Monday, Nov. 21, it has acquired a majority stake in radar-detector maker Escort Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Falconhead, a New York private equity firm, bought out Escort from Bethesda, Md.-based investment firm American Capital Strategies Ltd.

Financial terms were not released, but Escort chief executive Greg Blair and other members of the West Chester, Ohio-based company's management team will hold minority stakes in Escort. In addition, American Capital will retain a minority interest.

Formed 28 years ago, Escort is a big-league player in its sector. It makes more than 20 highway radar and laser-speed detection and related products under the Escort and Beltronics brand names. It has plants at West Chester and Mississauga, Ontario, and employs 250 people.

Major retailers such as Best Buy Co., Circuit City Stores Inc., Sharper Image Corp. and Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc. sell its devices.

"Under the leadership of CEO Greg Blair and his long-standing management team, Escort today is the unquestioned leader in its segment of the multibillion-dollar mobile electronics market," David Moross, chairman and chief executive of Falconhead Capital, said in a statement.

Moross said Escort is responsible for 85% of radar-detection patents that have been granted to date.

Officials from Escort were unavailable for comment, and officials from American Capital did not immediately return calls about the deal.

American Capital recapitalized Escort in July 2003, putting $42 million in the deal. The investment took the form of senior term debt, as well as junior and senior subordinated debt with warrants, and preferred equity.

Falconhead invests in leisure, lifestyle and media-related businesses. Earlier this year, Falconhead sold its Miramar, Fla.-based portfolio company Maritime Telecommunications Network to New York private equity firm Perseus LLC in a deal sources said was valued around $110 million. 

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