Leslie Doggett Acquires Rush Enterprises’ Texas and Louisiana Deere Dealerships

Doggett Heavy Machinery, a division of Leslie Doggett Industries, has acquired the Houston and Beaumont, Texas, John Deere construction equipment dealerships from Rush Enterprises for $26.2 million, making the company the largest Deere construction equipment dealer in the United States, the company said. The transaction was finalized Sept. 10.

The acquisition allows Doggett exclusive rights to sell John Deere construction and forestry products in all of Louisiana, east and southeast Texas, including all of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Brownsville, Texas. The company is also the largest Toyota Industrial Equipment dealer, it said.

The purchase boosts Leslie Doggett’s estimated annual revenues to more than $455 million and increases the total number of employees to about 710. The jump in revenues would rank Leslie Doggett No. 29 in the Houston Chronicle’s Top 100 Private Companies based in Houston from its previous spot at No. 43, it said.

“This acquisition complements Leslie Doggett’s existing John Deere enterprise, allowing Houston-based contractors doing business in East Texas, Southeast Texas and Louisiana to have a single-source provider of heavy equipment maintenance, repair and rental services,” said Brian McLemore, Leslie Doggett chief financial officer. “With our team’s focus on best-in-class customer service, Leslie Doggett drives to be the preferred provider of heavy equipment support services in all of its markets.”

The acquisition of Rush Enterprises follows Leslie Doggett’s 2007 acquisition of 11 Nortrax dealerships for $103 million, company-owned stores run by Deere & Co. In 2005, Leslie Doggett acquired dealerships in Corpus Christi, Victoria, Brownsville and Pharr from J.C. Brown for $20 million.

This acquisition is the 12th by Doggett in the past 17 years, allowing the company the unique distinction of building three separate dealership enterprises for three separate first-tier manufacturers — Case Construction Equipment, Toyota Industrial Equipment, and Deere — over the past 17 years.

Houston-based Torch Partners LLC acted as exclusive financial adviser to Leslie Doggett for the Nortrax acquisition as well as this transaction.

“The closing of this transaction generates substantial proceeds that will allow Rush Enterprises to continue to invest in our current businesses as well as look to add new, well-positioned acquisitions,” said W.M. “Rusty” Rush, president and CEO of Rush Enterprises. “As we said in June, we believe that the company proved it can apply its organizational knowledge of serving commercial customers to distribute products other than commercial trucks. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to re-enter the construction equipment dealership business in other areas of the country.”

Rush Enterprises owns and operates the largest network of commercial vehicle dealerships in North America, representing truck and bus manufacturers including Peterbilt, International, Hino, Isuzu, Ford, Mitsubishi and others.

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