Meriwether Capital has acquired Tonka Equipment. The company manufactures customized drinking water treatment solutions for small and mid-sized municipalities. The sale of the company was led by Lurie Besikof Lapidus & Company. Meriwether targets lower middle-market companies that are leaders in niche markets.
Private equity firms have acquired 29 other water treatment related companies since 2000, according to the PitchBook Platform. The largest acquisition was Apollo Investment Management, The Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and GS Capital Partner's $4.35 billion LBO of Nalco in 2003. 2008 was a busy year for the sector with seven acquisitions. However, the acquisition of Tonka is the first this year. With water shortage issues continuing to mount, the water treatment industry could see see continued interest from private equity investors, particularly firms such as Merit Capital Partners and Patriot Capital Funding, who have experience with multiple water treatment related companies.