San Fernando Valley Business Journal

East Coast Firm Acquires ValleyCrest

By Mark Madler Wednesday, May 21, 2014

ValleyCrest Companies LLC, a leading Valley groundskeeping firm, is being acquired by an East Coast competitor in a deal that will create a company with deep nationwide reach in landscape design, construction and maintenance.

Terms of the deal announced Wednesday between privately held ValleyCrest, in Calabasas, and Brickman Group, in Rockville, Md., were not disclosed.

KKR & Co. LP, a prominent New York private equity firm that owns Brickman, will have a majority share in the combined companies. ValleyCrest owner, MSD Capital L.P., the New York investment firm of computer mogul Michael Dell, will have a minority stake.

The combined companies will have a workforce of more than 20,000 employees and revenue of more than $2 billion. Andrew Kerin, chief executive of Brickman, will keep that position at the new company, and ValleyCrest Chief Executive Roger Zino will become vice chairman.

“This is an ideal match that will advance the landscape profession by bringing together a passionate community of the best trained and knowledgeable landscape professionals in the country,” Zino said in a prepared statement.

ValleyCrest was founded in 1949 by Burton Sperber in North Hollywood who did landscaping out of a pickup truck and two used lawnmowers. He grew the company into a powerhouse of seven divisions employing more than 10,000 workers installing and maintaining landscaping in residential communities, sports stadiums, upscale resorts and corporate campuses.

Sperber died in 2011, and his son, Richard, who had been chief executive took over as chairman, with Zino taking the chief executive post.

Richard Sperber is leaving the company to pursue other interests, but he and the Sperber family will maintain a small share in the new company, according to a company spokesperson.