The Brickman Group has agreed to be bought by global investment firm KKR & Co. for $1.6 billion in a move made to position the Rockville commercial landscaping company for further growth, executives said on Monday.
The deal is a strict ownership change that will retain the headquarters of Brickman — one of the largest landscaping companies in the nation — in Rockville, said LaNella Hooper-Williams, a Brickman spokeswoman. Los Angeles-based private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners is now privately held Brickman’s largest investor, acquiring a majority stake in 2007 for $847 million.
“It will be business as usual,” Hooper-Williams said.
Brickman was founded in 1939 in the Chicago area by Theodore W. Brickman Sr., a horticulturist for the Chicago Park District. His son, Dick, joined the family business in 1954, and the company started opening branches on the East Coast in the 1970s.
Scott Brickman of Potomac, Dick Brickman’s son, joined in 1986 and became CEO in 1998. Former Aramark Corp. executive Andrew Kerin took over as CEO in 2012, while Scott Brickman became board chairman, the position that had been held by his father.
Brickman Group has some 10,000 employees nationwide, with about 100 at the Research Boulevard headquarters and 1,600 in the Maryland-Virginia region, Hooper-Williams said. The company recently moved its headquarters from Gaithersburg to Rockville, and there are other offices in Montgomery County and Frederick among more than 160 branches nationwide.
Kerin said in a statement that the deal will allow Brickman to “accelerate our growth.”
Last year, the company had revenue of about $900 million, the second most among landscaping companies nationally behind Memphis, Tenn.-based TruGreen, according to industry publication Landscape Management. That was about double the $454.5 million that Brickman reported for 2005, according to a statement the company filed in 2006 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by Dec. 31.
New York City-based KKR, a publicly traded company, had $90.2 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30.
Brickman provides snow removal services besides landscape maintenance services that include lawn care, flower planting and care, and tree and shrub pruning. Clients have included McDonald’s Corp., IBM and Trammell Crow Co.