Analysis: What McCloskey’s acquisition of Lippmann-Milwaukee means

By |  September 17, 2018
John O'Neill

O’Neill

McCloskey International announced within the last few weeks that it acquired Lippmann-Milwaukee, the privately held company that manufactures crushing equipment. To learn more about the deal and its impact on the industry, P&Q caught up with John O’Neill, vice president of sales at McCloskey International.

How did McCloskey’s acquisition of Lippmann-Milwaukee come about?

The owner of our company, Paschal McCloskey, had worked with Lippman since the start of [McCloskey], so he was always very aware of their position in the marketplace.

We used to install Lippmann feeders in our equipment that was custom built for customers, so we were very familiar and there was a lot of respect for the company. As McCloskey grew, we still recognized the need for a larger product offering. We saw an opportunity to maybe combine the two companies, and we reached out to the Turner family. It was a very simple transaction.

The Turner family and Paschal were able to come to a deal pretty quickly. The process itself was pretty smooth. Culturally, both companies being private helped. They were very welcoming to us and very open. They saw us as a good brand and a good product line to be associated with.

Lippmann, established in 1923 and regarded for its heavy-duty jaw crushers, is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Lippmann-Milwaukee.

How does Lippmann fit into McCloskey?

Lippman has been around for a long time and developed a great team of people. Some have been on staff for 40 years plus, so there’s a great bed of knowledge there. It’s a get-the-job done culture.

Any company that’s survived 90 years is doing something right. There weren’t huge egos in place or cultural differences where we have to try and merge those. It’s a can-do attitude at their facility, and we think it’s the same at our facilities. We had some crossover with distribution, and there’s been a lot of respect on both sides for management and products. We’re just working at making both teams communicate without one overwhelming the other.

Will Lippmann-Milwaukee equipment now be branded as McCloskey?

What we look at is the culture and history of the Lippmann customer. It’s pretty distinct to a McCloskey customer, so we’re deciding what products can make the crossover pretty easily.

We’ll be taking some of Lippmann’s legendary reputation in the large jobs – big impactors, stationary projects – and expanding our offering to the McCloskey network. They’ve typically been very strong in North America, and McCloskey will help with expansion of the global reach.

We’re still going to keep the two brands and two dealer networks in place – there will be no major shakeups there. I often tell our sales guys if you approach an organization with strengths and weaknesses, try to maximize their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses, but build upon that.

What does the future of these two companies hold?

We’re looking to expand their team. We are looking to invest in Milwaukee and the infrastructure there, the people there, etc. One of the natural concerns of the Lippmann people was that we’re going to come in and strip everything out, which isn’t the case.

We can build machines anywhere, but it’s hard to find good people. Paschal has been pushing that we’re here to stay and we’re here to grow it. Our history has been, when we do buy companies, we have grown them in place. We’ve put some aggressive growth targets in sales, and with sales we need product, and with product we need more people. We’re already looking to hire more people.

We take the opportunity that we’re always hiring. We have to bring people in all the time, and if they fit in and want to work, there’s always a job for that. This business is tough and it’s not for everyone, but we want people that, if they work for us, they have very rewarding careers.

Anything to add about the acquisition?

Our plan is for rapid growth. We’re looking for people who want to grow with us, both domestically and internationally. We have the resources to invest in the product line and chase all available business. We’re going to invest in inventory and increase our parts and service availability, so I think we’ll have a fantastic product offering that will be made in America and compete with foreign brands.

Zach Mentz

About the Author:

Zach Mentz is the managing editor for Pit & Quarry magazine. He also serves as the managing editor for Portable Plants & Equipment magazine. Zach received a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from John Carroll University, where he served as editor in chief for the university’s student newspaper, The Carroll News. His previous experience also includes time spent in the Cleveland Indians communications department.

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