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Wednesday, 14 January 2015


ACCEL bought by MSD & Superchips owner

Investor Z Capital Partners, the owner of El Paso, Texas based MSD Powersports, has added to its powersports portfolio by acquiring ACCEL.

The Cleveland, Ohio based ACCEL group includes brands such as Mr. Gasket, Mallory Ignition, Lakewood, QuickTime and Hays.

“The acquisition of ACCEL significantly enhances our position in ignition technology and allows MSDP to expand our product portfolio aimed squarely at diehard racing and street performance enthusiasts,” said Rick Ruebusch, Chief Executive Officer of MSDP.

“ACCEL complements our existing brands, providing us with both increased capability and an unmatched footprint in the aftermarket. With this complementary acquisition and ACCEL’s impressive portfolio of brands, MSDP has

an even greater ability to serve our customers with new, innovative product offerings.”

Z Capital Partners bought MSDP out of Chapter 11 in December 2013. At that stage it was part of Autotronic Controls, which had been founded in El Paso, Texas, in 1970. The MSDP "portfolio" also includes the (originally British) Florida based Superchips/Vigilante engine tuner operation, meaning that the new group line-up now includes three different brands, engineering pedigrees and performance culture heritages, all of which have product for the Harley-Davidson performance aftermarket.

Z Capital Partners was founded in 2006 as an investment vehicle by James Zenni, who is Chairman of MSDP and CEO of Z Capital.

“ACCEL is a natural fit for MSDP and a valuable addition to the company’s product portfolio,” said Zenni. “Since making our investment in December 2013 [in MSDP via its then named Hot Rod Brands LLC investment vehicle], MSDP has experienced significant growth, as well as enhanced its product innovation, brand marketing and distribution strategies.

"We look forward to the company’s continued success with the addition of ACCEL and its impressive collection of brands.”

James Zenni founded Z Capital in 2006. Having acquired MSD (El Paso, Tx) and Superchips (Sanford, Fl) he has now added Cleveland, Ohio based ACCEL (and the group's other famous name brands such as Mr Gasket, Mallory, Hays and Lakewood) to his burgeoning powersports industry portfolio: "We look for businesses that have defendable market share and high cash-flow"

According to Bloomberg Business Week, Mr. Zenni "has experience of investing in opportunistic, value-oriented private equity, mergers and acquisitions and related strategies". He co-founded Black Diamond Capital Management, L.L.C. (BDCM) in 1995, and was responsible for all portfolio management and business operations at the firm until he divested his ownership interest in 2006. Bloomberg went on to say that "he was responsible for numerous distressed debt/private equity transactions at the firm."

Z Capital Partners has approximately $1.9 billion of assets under management and offices in Lake Forest, IL, and New York, NY. The company says that their approach in private equity "includes making control investments in companies that may require growth capital, balance sheet and or operational improvements.

Z Capital portfolio companies are said to currently have aggregate worldwide annual revenues of approximately $1.5 billion, sell products in over 30 countries, and employ in excess of 190,000 associates directly and through joint ventures.