KKR Acquiring Mills Fleet Farm

Outdoor lifestyle retailer also offers c-stores, gas stations, car wash, auto service

Mills Fleet Farm gas station convenience store

APPLETON, Wis. -- Mills Fleet Farm, a Midwestern, value-based retailer of lifestyle merchandise serving active outdoor families as well as suburban and farm consumers, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, have announced that they have entered into a definitive purchase agreement where KKR will acquire Mills Fleet Farm.

Founded in 1955, Appleton, Wis.-based Mills Fleet Farm has 35 retail stores throughout four Midwestern states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota. Mills Fleet Farm offers national brand and private-label goods on a full-service basis, including fishing and hunting products, auto parts, farm and pet supplies, home improvement and home living goods, clothing and footwear, toys and food, among others.

It also offers convenience stores, gas stations, car wash and auto service at most locations. It opened its first gas station and c-store in Plymouth, Wis., in 1995.

"We have decided to partner with KKR in order to take Mills Fleet Farm to the next level of growth for the future," said co-presidents Henry Mills II and Stewart Mills Jr. "We took great care in our approach to finding the right partner who shared our values and would preserve the legacy the Mills family has built after serving the Midwest over the last 60 years. We truly believe KKR is the best fit for us organizationally and also the best fit for our employees."

Hugh Leasum, a member of Mills Fleet Farm's executive management team, said, "Mills Fleet Farm has grown into the region's most trusted full-service retailer of everything you need for life, work, home and recreation. We are eager to work together with KKR and are confident this partnership will help us expand upon our already-unparalleled customer service and continue to best serve our local communities."

"We are proud to partner with Mills Fleet Farm, a highly differentiated brand in the Midwest, and invest behind its continued growth," Nate Taylor, Member on KKR's private equity team, said. "In doing so, we remain committed to Mills Fleet Farm's founding values--and those shared by KKR--of honesty, integrity, hard work, service and loyalty to our customers and partners. We anticipate investing significantly in the business, adding infrastructure, stores and local jobs."

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction. Closing of the transaction is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary conditions.

New York City-based KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages investments across multiple asset classes including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and hedge funds.