LED Display Manufacturer Watchfire Signs Acquired By Private Equity Giant

July 26, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The LED display firm Watchfire Signs has been acquired by a deep-pocketed private equity firm, though no deal terms or intentions were announced.

The deal was done by Miami-based H.I.G. Capital, which has $50 billion of equity capital under management. It has a staggering number of companies under its portfolio.

Based in Danville, Ill., Watchfire is primarily known for outdoor LED displays, with its highest profile work the vast LED canopy hanging over several blocks of Fremont Street in Las Vegas. It is one of relatively short list of US manufacturers competing with a much longer list of Chinese LED firms for North American business.

Says HIG in announcing the deal:The Company serves a highly diverse base of local sign dealers, independent billboard operators and large national accounts.

H.I.G. is partnering with the current management team to provide capital and resources to support the Company’s growing position across multiple segments of the digital display industry, including indoor & outdoor LED signage, digital billboards, and video scoreboards. Watchfire’s strong brand reputation and expansive customer network have allowed the Company to establish an installed base of over 65,000 LED displays, highlighting its position as a leader in the large and growing digital display market.

Steve Harriott, CEO of Watchfire, said, “I am happy to be partnering with H.I.G. Capital to continue to drive growth, both organically and through aggressively pursuing add-on acquisition opportunities. We are excited to leverage H.I.G.’s considerable experience investing in outdoor advertising companies to accelerate our own growth initiatives.”

“We believe Watchfire represents an ideal opportunity to invest in a premier provider of digital signage at a time when market tailwinds such as digital transformation and the replacement of aging signage will continue to drive growth,” said Ryan Kaplan, Managing Director at H.I.G., adding “We look forward to supporting Steve and the rest of his executive team as they continue to lead the Company through its next exciting phase of expansion.”

The deal does not directly reference AERVA, the digital signage software platform that Watchfire acquired back in 2015.

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