Powermatic/Jet/Wilton sold to new owner-Good or bad for the customer?

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Forum topic by ksubenny posted 10-11-2013 01:10 PM 4872 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 2305 days

10-11-2013 01:10 PM

Walter Meier AG, the parent company of Powermatic, Jet and Wilton has agreed to be purchased by a private equity firm of Tenex Capital out of New York, more details are linked below.

What says the users-do you think this will be good or bad for us and what would you like to see out of the new company? Generally I cringe when I hear private equity buying a company as it often leads to breaking out and selling it off in pieces, but in this case I’m optimisitc. The new owners already own NAP GLADU which is a manufacturer of industrial grade cutting tools(moulder, tenoner heads, replaceable inserts etc) that we use extensively in the company I work for and we’re extremely happy with how they perform and the service we get from them.

What do you think, is this good for us as users or not?

Link 2

36 replies so far

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3333 days

#1 posted 10-11-2013 01:28 PM

I think it will be good for the private equity firm. They want their money + profit back as soon as possible which usailly means selling off IP and business units. Im sure Jet will be another Porter Cable (remember when they made good tools). I am looking forward to buying my first Jet Palm Sander at Walmart for $19.99 including a starter kit of sand paper :)

View bigblockyeti's profile


5817 posts in 2167 days

#2 posted 10-11-2013 01:33 PM

It could go either way. The JET brand, IMHO, has been a decent Taiwanese brand so I doubt that’ll change much. Wilton has always been smaller in the woodworking market than many others. Powermatic has been reducing quality while maintaining price for a while and if they want to stay competitive that will have to change.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5215 posts in 4407 days

#3 posted 10-11-2013 02:40 PM

And the famous last words are….........(drum roll):
“We’ve just bought your company, and nothing is going to change.” (cymbal crash)

-- [email protected]

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3333 days

#4 posted 10-11-2013 02:53 PM

I lived through one of these private equity firm buyouts. First it was nothing is going to change everything is going to stay the same we just see an opportunity to have this firm help us grow followed in the next six months by (in order)

Company amex taken away and had to use personal cards for company travel
No new IT equipment being bought, current refresh cycles canceled
Manager laid off along with several other managers
Company stopped contributing to 401 and dropped pretty much every other benefit besides health and dental
Business unit being sold off laying off half of people in said business unit
everyone in the company being laid off besides for the people they needed to sell off the company’s Intellectual Property to competitors.

It was really fun. I knew what exactly was going to happen and it did. They did what ever they could to make money on the deal as soon as they could. They put the company out of business, made a tonne of money on the deal, sold off the products and brands to the competitors and moved on to the next company. Look on the bright side. at least all of the current executitaves at Jet will get a huge severence package and if they do good the private equity firm will take them on to help them with dismantling other companys.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3418 days

#5 posted 10-11-2013 03:02 PM

Like Bill said, and that’s how it went for the last two jobs I lost :-(

And both companies were sold again in 4 years.
One is now owned by Chinese interests and the other by a Chilean group.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3313 days

#6 posted 10-11-2013 04:33 PM

I am very sorry to hear this. It bothers me a lots.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Woodknack's profile


12866 posts in 2827 days

#7 posted 10-11-2013 05:04 PM

Well they are going out of business, I heard it at the local woodworking store. Parts won’t be available for years. And they are going to raise prices by 300%.

-- Rick M,

View MrRon's profile


5616 posts in 3690 days

#8 posted 10-11-2013 05:12 PM

I really don’t see much good coming out of this; especially for the woodworker. Equity companies or holding companies are out to make money through diversification. They have no real interest in the company or what it makes. Many times they will buy a company as a write-off loss for their portfolio of holdings.

Penton is a holding company that owns Delta, Dewalt and several others. There is another; the Bosch, Skil group. They have a high end and a low end line.

This might be an indication that they are losing repeat sales. When someones buys a cabinet saw for $3000, it’s usually not a repeat buy. That’s the same reason how Henry Ford learned; you can’t sustain a market without continual change. Jet hasn’t changed their line to any appreciable amount over the years. How often can you change the paint color?

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2884 days

#9 posted 10-11-2013 06:04 PM

MrRon, Dewalt is owned by Stanley Black and Decker. They also own Porter Cable, Devilbiss, Bostich, Oldham and several others. They used to own Delta until it was sold to Chang Type Industrial a couple of years ago. Some of the Stanley B&D hardware and security products were sold to Spectrum Brands Holdings. You may be thinking of Pentair which manufactures the Devilbiss products for Stanley B&D.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View Woodbum's profile


876 posts in 3512 days

#10 posted 10-11-2013 07:45 PM

Ask the folks who USED to work at Anheuser-Busch and Heinz. Layoffs, firings, careers ruined, cost cutting to the point of not doing more with less…but doing less with less. Short term gain and then move on to the next pigeon. Where is Porter Cable today? Relegated to being the next big blue box’s house brand. It’s a new world out there ladies and gentlemen. We can piss and moan all we like but this change is as inevitable as all of the other business changes that have occurred in history. We will just suck it up again and go with the flow. Some product lines make the quality cut (Dewalt) and some don’t (Porter Cable). But let’s be cautiously optimistic. This time it COULD be different.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 3240 days

#11 posted 10-11-2013 11:39 PM

1+ Woodbum. Except the part about this one being different. It’s a race to the bottom.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3131 days

#12 posted 10-12-2013 01:17 AM

Anybody ever heard of the auto industry’s “planned obsolescence” model? With a declining market, the tool companies made a mistake in making their tools too well (proof of “no good deed goes unpunished”)!!! The old stuff just doesn’t wear out. The home appliance folks figured it out. I’d be surprised if anybody will be bragging about a 25 year old Maytag washer in a few years.

View toolie's profile


2163 posts in 3075 days

#13 posted 10-12-2013 01:44 AM

I am very sorry to hear this. It bothers me a lots.

i wouldn’t worry too much. regarding their products, i doubt they’d go from decidedly average to outright poor overnight, but there is that possibility. of course, that kind reduction in the standards to which their tools would conform would probably be associated with a healthy increase in the price of their tools.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3080 days

#14 posted 10-12-2013 03:23 AM

Powermatic, Jet, and Wilton.
I don’t own any of their products.
Powermatic is too expensive, and other brands in that price range would probably get my business even if I could afford them.
Jet products are “all sizzle, no steak” in my opinion. Their machines are priced like champagne…...but are built like malt liquor. Well, maybe not malt liquor. I view Jet’s quality/feature to be on par with Grizzly’s, but with an additional 25% added to the price.
Wilton makes some good vises. I’d LOVE to score a “bullet vise” if a used one ever popped-up for a reasonable price. But I don’t do nearly enough heavy-duty work to justify buying a $600 vise.

Bottom line- I don’t see this takeover affecting the consumers much at all. I don’t think they had enough market share to have any affect. That probably what the PEF is hoping to change.

View Hinge's profile


79 posts in 2135 days

#15 posted 10-12-2013 03:42 AM

Good for us.

-- The Jesus is my Savior

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