Former Brickman and ValleyCrest execs team up for acquisition

The Chicago landscape purchase is the latest in an already active M&A market.

CHICAGO – Two former ValleyCrest and Brickman executives have joined forces to acquire Moore Landscapes, a second-generation commercial landscape company in the Chicago market.

Andrew Brennan, who spent 11 years with ValleyCrest and left as executive vice president and chief operating officer, joined ClearLight Partners in late 2015 and will serve on Moore’s board. Joel Korte, a former senior vice president for Brickman’s Midwest operations, takes over as Moore's CEO.

This is the first landscape industry investment by ClearLight, a $900 million firm based in Newport Beach, California.

“Joel and I have looked at a few businesses together since last summer. We have very similar things we're looking for – a great culture, great work for great customers. You walk into this business and you feel that immediately,” Brennan said.

The company was founded in 1948 by Floyd Moore, and operated by his two sons, Eric Moore, CEO, and Victor Moore, president. They will remain with the company as minority equity holders, Brennan said. Moore operates four main divisions: commercial maintenance, commercial construction, snow and ice management, and interiorscaping.

Brennan said Moore’s management team averages 20 years of tenure. “When you find a group of talented people who have been together that long, it says something very positive about the organization and the culture and what the company is doing,” Brennan said.

Moore Landscapes employs 200 people in peak season, Korte said, and has two offices: one in Chicago and its headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois.

Neither Brennan nor Korte would disclose the terms of the acquisition, or Moore’s 2016 revenue.

The acquisition is the latest in an already active mergers and acquisition market. Lawn & Landscape has reported on eight major acquisitions by landscape companies in just the first five months of 2017, including purchases by the Grounds Guys, Monarch Landscape, Yellowstone, Rentokil Steritech, Gothic Landscape, SavaTree and BrightView.

“I think clearly there's been some good successes in the industry. Investors like the recurring revenue profile of the business, and what they perceive as its relative resilience in the face of economic headwinds,” Brennan said. 

Moore Landscapes was advised by CCG Advisors, led by Brian Corbett.

pictured above: The Moore Landscapes team, from left, Victor Moore, Joel Korte, Eric Moore and Andrew Brennan, at the Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier in Chicago. 

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