Comweb Corporation announces Sale of William F. White International Inc.

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

Paul Bronfman is pleased to announce 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 incredible growth over the years.  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+.  

Whites’ Chairman/CEO Paul Bronfman, commented:

“This transaction with Sunbelt is a watershed moment for me personally and Whites. 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.” says Bronfman. 

Ashtead’s CEO Brendan Horgan, commented:

“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 US.  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 December 2, 2019.  Paul 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 exciting new platform.

Paul Bronfman further commented:

“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.  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.

 

Further inquiries:                                                                                             Ashtead Group contacts:

Comweb/William F. White Int’l contact:                                                          Will Shaw, Ashtead Group plc    

Paul Bronfman                                                                                                +44 (0)20 7726 9700                                       

416-239-5050                                                                                                  James McFarland, Maitland

                                                                                                                           +44 (0)20 7379 5151       

 

William F. White International Inc. (Whites). (www.whites.com) Founded in 1963, William F. White International Inc. is Canada’s most iconic provider of production equipment to the entertainment industry.  With offices across the country, the company services productions of all sizes from coast to coast and houses an extensive state-of-the-art inventory.  The Whites group includes Whites Studios, Whites Camera, Whites Lighting & Grip, Whites Location Equipment Supply, and Whites Specialty Equipment.

Comweb Corporation (www.comwebgroup.com) was founded by Paul Bronfman in 1988. The company’s first foray was a partnership with famed writer/producer Stephen J. Cannell in 1988 to build and manage Canada’s first Hollywood-style studio complex, North Shore Studios in Vancouver. The studio was the home of original smash TV series hit, The X-Files. Comweb Corporation is a founding shareholder of Pinewood Toronto Studios (www.pinewoodgroup.com/studios/pinewood-toronto-studios), a 12-stage production lot with over 300,000 square feet of space. Comweb Group Members include Comweb Aviation, Comweb Foundation, Comweb Hungary, Comweb Real Estate and Comweb Studio Holdings. Comweb Corporation was the parent company of William F. White International Inc. (Whites) since 1989. Whites was recently sold to Ashtead Group/Sunbelt Rentals of Canada Inc.