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Waco-based Neighborly selling to New York private equity firm

Waco-based Neighborly selling to New York private equity firm

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Neighborly, the Waco-based company that continues to grow globally, will get a new New York-headquartered owner just a few months after announcing it would open a second operating center in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Founded by Don Dwyer, a franchising whiz from New York who moved to Waco in the early 1980s, Neighborly originally did business as The Dwyer Group. Family members held positions with the company, and daughter Dina Dwyer-Owens once served as its top executive, following in her father’s footsteps.

No Dwyer family member remains involved in day-to-day operations. Neighborly’s Waco campus will continue to serve as a headquarters along with its D-FW center, President and CEO Mike Bidwell said.

The company changed hands, and names, and now is being sold by New York-based Harvest Partners to New York-based KKR, “a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets, and insurance solutions,” according to a press release announcing the sale.

Under “Our Experience” on the KKR website, the company says “we have consistently been a leader in the private equity industry, having completed private equity transactions with nearly $650 billion of total enterprise value as of March 31, 2021.” It has a presence in Europe and Asia.

Bidwell said in the press release the pending sale “is a strong validation of our business-building strategy and differentiated ability to deliver essential home services.”

Neighborly is the corporate parent of 28 business brands involved in improving, repairing and enhancing consumers’ homes and property. The lineup’s household names include Window Genie, Mr. Handyman, Mosquito Joe and Mr. Electric.

The Neighborly campus sprawls across acreage at 1020 N. University Parks Drive, its sign visible to those passing near Cameron Park and Lake Brazos. It supports more than 4,800 franchisees collectively serving more than 10 million customers in nine countries. Franchisees often travel to Waco for training in new techniques. Last November, when it announced Neighborly would open a second headquarters in the Irving-Las Colinas area in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Neighborly employed about 300 at its Waco campus, the company said.

Bidwell, responding to questions about the sale’s impact on Waco, said Waco and Las Colinas both would continue serving as headquarters.

Last November, addressing Neighborly’s second location, Bidwell said the company for some time pursued a new hub in North Texas “that is perfectly suited for the continued growth of our worldwide business.” He said Irving leaders already had welcomed Neighborly “with open arms, and we are excited … to call this community our second home.” Bidwell said the Las Colinas site would afford easier access to D-FW International Airport.

The Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce president issued a statement last November saying a highly reputable company such as Neighborly choosing the area for expansion would mean quality job opportunities and testifies to its business-friendly environment.

At the time of the announcement, Neighborly representatives said the company would expand its information-technology and digital marketing areas to Irving. They said employment there might reach 200 full-timers by fall 2026, but those predictions were made before the COVID-19 pandemic damaged the economy.

KKR, the new buyer, serves as corporate parent to dozens of small-to-midsize companies, the most notable being Academy Sports & Outdoors and Lyft.

“In a large and highly fragmented industry, Neighborly stands out for its differentiated strategy of bringing together adjacent services under a diversified and tech-enabled platform, and — most importantly — for its unrivaled dedication to customer service,” KKR managing director Felix Gernburd said in Thursday’s press release. “We are thrilled to be investing in the Neighborly team as they continue to execute on their mission: enriching people’s lives by delivering amazing experiences.”

KKR did not return calls seeking additional comment.

Nicholas Romano, partner at Harvest Partners, said his company appreciated working with Bidwell and his team in building Neighborly.

“Thoughtful investments in technology and human capital have resulted in a platform positioned for accelerated growth in the coming years,” he said in the press release. Harvest did not provide further comment.

Neither side provided financial details of the proposed sale, which is expected to close during the third quarter this year, according to the press release.

“We are excited to embark on our next chapter of growth with KKR’s support and global expertise and look forward to continuing to be a partner of choice for both customers and franchise owners in the years to come,” Bidwell said.

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