Cooper Standard Automotive Inc. has not been shy about its intentions to diversify beyond the automotive industry.
If it wasn't heard before, its latest deal broadcasts the message loud and clear.
The firm has entered an agreement to acquire Lauren Manufacturing and Lauren Plastics — two subsidiaries of New Philadelphia, Ohio-based Lauren International Ltd. — for an undisclosed amount.
Lauren's manufacturing and plastics businesses produce extruded and molded parts of organic, silicone, thermoplastic and engineered polymer products. The units specialize in sealing solutions for industrial and specialty automotive applications.
"We're excited about the acquisition," said Keith Stephenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Cooper Standard.
"We've spent a lot of time identifying target companies that we think will fit our business profile, but also would be complementary to what we're doing and allow us to accelerate our growth in the non-automotive space within our core technology. Lauren rose to the top of that list when we scanned the non-automotive sealing suppliers. We engaged with their leadership and felt very, very strongly that this was a quality business and a great cultural fit with Cooper Standard."
The deal is pending regulatory approvals and consent from the related parties. Stephenson said the firm doesn't anticipate any issues and expects the deal to close sometime in the third quarter. All employees, including Lauren's leadership team, will transfer with the business.
Kevin Gray, chairman, CEO and president of Lauren International, said Lauren was contacted by an investment banker who pinpointed his company as one that would fit within Cooper Standard's Industrial Specialty Group. He confirmed that Cooper Standard was the only suitor for the rubber and plastics manufacturing units.
Stephenson said Lauren shares a lot of common values with Cooper Standard, specifically a commitment to its employees and a strong sense of giving back to the community.
"Cooper Standard really emulates exactly the culture, business philosophy and integrity that Lauren Manufacturing and Lauren Plastics has had for its entire business life," Lauren Manufacturing President Lisa Huntsman said. "As we continue to grow by double digits, we understand to get to that next level it always takes the infrastructure and systems to help get you there. As we got to know the executives of Cooper Standard, they're just like us. That gave us great comfort in knowing that these guys are going to be great partners."