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MHS Global, a provider of material handling automation technology, and Fortna, a software and solutions provider for warehouses and distribution centers, are combining. The companies will form a multi-billion-dollar company that provides parcel, warehouse and distribution and lifecycle services.
The details of the deal were not disclosed, and the transaction is still subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Both companies belong to the investment portfolio of Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), a private equity firm that invests in middle market growth companies. THL will remain the majority owner of the combined company. A subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will acquire a minority stake in the company to support the deal.
MHS’s robotic solutions include a multi-pick robotic end effector, a robotic singulation and induction, autonomous mobile robots and a dual picking robot. Fortna’s solutions include automatic guided vehicles and self-driving vehicles, autonomous mobile robots, picking and packing robots and an automated storage and retrieval system.
“Fortna has been a trusted advisor driving competitive advantage for our clients as they build direct-to-consumer models, increase service levels, and enable a lower cost to serve,” Rob McKeel, CEO of Fortna, said. “The combination with MHS will enable the model to scale with our clients globally and allow the combined company to drive further innovation in operating models, software, and automation.”
McKeel will be the CEO of the combined company, while Scott McReynolds, the CEO of MHS, will be the president. Jim Carlisle, the managing director at THL and head of both technology and business solutions at the THL Automation Fund, will serve as the chairman of the board of the new company.
“MHS has built its reputation over the past 20-plus years by being a reliable and committed partner while expanding our capabilities and taking a progressive, tech-forward stance to deliver new products and solutions,” McReynolds said. “Combining with Fortna will allow us to accelerate our collective efforts on all fronts, to the benefit of our customers, employees, and suppliers.”
By combining MHS’s automation technologies and Fortna’s operational optimization software, the company will be able to provide end-to-end solutions in logistics operations.