Comweb Corporation announces Sale of William F White International

Paul Bronfman (pictured above) has announced the sale of William F White International (Whites) to Ashtead Group through an affiliate of its wholly-owned subsidiary Sunbelt Rentals of Canada, Inc. (Sunbelt). Whites is Canada's oldest and largest rental provider of production equipment, services, and studio facilities to the motion picture, television, and digital media industries. Whites operates out of 13 locations across Canada and has over 450 employees.

The company was established in 1963. This sale of the wholly-owned subsidiary of Comweb Corp., based in Toronto, to Sunbelt will further support and accelerate growth over the years, according to the company. It says this growth is being fueled by the growing demand for media content worldwide driven largely by the thriving streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crave, Disney+, and Apple TV+.

"This transaction with Sunbelt is a watershed moment for me personally and Whites," says Whites' Chairman/CEO Paul Bronfman, commented. "As Canada's production industry undergoes exponential growth, Whites faces the most exciting opportunity in the company's history over the next few years. I felt it was time for Whites to align itself with a firm that has the resources, scale, and culture to create growth opportunities for our employees. This enables the business to better serve our customers' ever-expanding needs, allowing Sunbelt to take Whites to the next level. This deal is in the best interest of Whites and my employees."

Ashtead's CEO Brendan Horgan, adds: "Whites significantly enhances our capability to provide equipment to the film and television production market where increased demand for content is driving high growth opportunities. The acquisition will provide significant opportunities to cross sell our existing product range in Canada and develop our offering to this end market in the U.S. This acquisition is consistent with our long-term strategy to take advantage of structural growth opportunities through both organic investment and bolt-on acquisitions. I would like to welcome all Whites employees who have built this business into the iconic brand it is today to the overall Sunbelt team. We look forward to working with them to deliver on the major opportunities ahead."

The acquisition of Whites officially closed on Dec. 2, 2019. Bronfman will continue in his role as CEO through April 2020 to aid in the transition. Effective immediately he becomes Co-Chairman of the Whites operating division executive board along with Ashtead Group CEO Brendan Horgan focusing on strategic growth of this new platform.

"We are proud of the company our entire team has built over almost 60 years, and grateful for the customers who have consistently entrusted us to meet their needs," adds Bronfman. "As the industry changes, what won't change is our valued clients remaining at the forefront of all we do at Whites. They should expect to receive the same great products and services, the same level of customer care and satisfaction and the same options and innovation as they always have; we promise and will over deliver!" Bronfman says.

Lazard Middle Market LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to William F. White International Inc. and Dentons Canada LLP served as the Company's legal advisor.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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