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After 110 years, family sells West Chester fan-maker to private-equity firms

Lasko sells to Comvest, JW Levin

Lasko Holdings Inc., the West Chester firm that calls itself "the largest provider of portable fans and heaters in the United States," says two private-equity firms, Comvest Partners of Florida and JW Levin Management Partners of New York, are buying a controlling interest in 110-year-old Lasko. Members of the Lasko family will remain as investors.

"Lasko is uniquely positioned as a result of its domestic production facilities," including its headquarters design center, and assembly plants in West Chester; Franklin, Tenn.; and Fort Worth, and a distribution center in Columbia, Lancaster County, to serve current customers while supporting "new products, categories and geographies," Comvest partner Tom Clark said in a statement.

The buyers and seller didn't say how much the deal is worth. Since its founding in 2000, Comvest has put an average $17 million each into 140 small and midsize companies it has backed.

As part of the deal, Lasko chief executive Bill Lasko will retire, and Levin chief executive Jerry W. Levin will take over as chairman and interim CEO. Levin is a veteran retail turnaround executive: He previously served as CEO of Wilton Brands, American Household (Sunbeam), Coleman, and Ronald Perelman's Revlon. Other members of Lasko's management team will remain.

Levin pledged to continue Lasko's "high level of customer service."