Farrell brothers’ private equity firm docks another deal

dock and boathouse

A dock and marina built buy Meeco Sullivan in Oklahoma. (Meeco Sullivan)

Clay tennis courts, hospital laundry and now, floating docks.

Those are the industry niches targeted thus far by Tuckahoe Holdings, a 2-year-old downtown-based private equity firm run by brothers Peter and Stuart Farrell, the sons of Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell.

The company closed its latest deal – its fourth since launching in 2015 – on Dec. 29 with the acquisition of Meeco Sullivan, a New York-based company that builds marinas and floating docks.

Peter Farrell confirmed the transaction last week, without commenting on financial specifics of the deal.

“We think it will be a good investment over a long period of time,” he said, adding that the firm prefers holding onto its investments indefinitely with no set exit timeline.

“We want to buy and hold these businesses for a really long time,” he said.

Farrell said Meeco Sullivan is the second-largest company in the Tuckahoe Holdings portfolio. The firm’s largest deal was its first, when it bought NOVO Health Services, an Atlanta-based company that provides laundry service to hospitals.

Then in 2016 came its first deal with Richmond ties, as it acquired the Har-Tru Sports brand of tennis court clay and accessories from Goochland-based Luck Cos. Later that year it dove back into the healthcare laundry world and bought SRI Surgical Express in Tampa, Florida.

Farrell, who until last year was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, said the Meeco Sullivan deal came on the firm’s radar last year.

The company has a heavy concentration of its dock and marina business in New England, but has made its way to Richmond, where it built the marina at Rocketts Landing.

The Farrells said they toured the company’s New York facility and met with management and liked that it’s in a stable, niche industry and has been around for decades.

Meeco Sullivan was formed about a decade ago out of the combination of two companies that had been around since the 1960s.

“They have a family history to them. They had a lot of pride in it,” Farrell said.

Like its previous deals, Farrell said, it will keep existing management and employees in place to run Meeco Sullivan, other than moving some back-office accounting supervision in-house at Tuckahoe Holdings.

“But other than that we want them running the business on a day-to-day basis,” Farrell said. “We don’t pretend to be experts in the marina space. They’re the experts.”

The deal comes with around 120 employees, spread across manufacturing facilities in New York and Oklahoma.

Tuckahoe Holdings now oversees several hundred employees working in several states across its portfolio companies.

“About 30 months ago there were a couple of us; now we have several hundred employees across eight or nine states across the country,” he said.

Farrell would not comment much on Tuckahoe Holdings’ investment criteria, the size of companies it targets, how it funds its deals or how many investors are involved in raising funds for its acquisitions.

The firm keeps its office on the 20th floor of the SunTrust Center.

Farrell said it will take some time working Meeco Sullivan into the fold before going out for another deal later this year.

“We’ll take however long it takes to integrate them properly and hopefully we may come back to the market for another acquisition in the second half of the year,” he said.

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