Precision Inc., a Brooklyn Center company that for more than 40 years has made electric transformers and magnetic components for manufacturers of all stripes, has been sold to TT Electronics, a British maker of microchips and other electronic parts.
The sale was completed last week and announced on Friday for undisclosed terms.
It marks an exit for Precision co-owners Dave Anderson and Lyle Shaw, who bought the firm in 1989 and grew it from $1 million in sales to around $25 million even as the U.S. electronic-parts industry consolidated and the firm faced the onslaught of new, lower-cost rivals from China.
"It's tough to be cheap and be in Minnesota at the same time," Anderson said on Monday. "But we did unique things. We did a lot of work in medical products and got into ultrafine wire winding."
Among local firms, Precision provided components for Sleep Number beds and in implanted devices produced by Medtronic and St. Jude Medical. It makes parts for firms in a variety of industries, has a small sales team in offices around the world and factories in Minnesota, Colorado and southern China.
TT will keep Precision's factory in Brooklyn Center and its 160 employees, signing some of its senior staff to incentives if they stay at least a year or more.
Anderson, 63, said he signed a one-year contract to advise the firm and its new managers.
"I don't look forward to leaving," said Anderson, who joined Precision 42 years ago. "But I'm getting used to the thought process."
He said Precision had been approached by several companies interested in acquiring the firm in recent years. He and Shaw, who is 74, began to think more seriously about a deal after realizing that the current economic cycle has been long and that, if a recession happened, component makers like Precision tend to be laggards in recovery.
TT approached the firm "late in the game," Anderson said, and he liked the British firm's strategy and the way Precision fit into it. "I personally felt they would be a better match for our people," he said.
In a statement, Richard Tyson, the chief executive of TT, said, "The acquisition of Precision is an excellent fit with both our business and our strategy for growth and higher margins. It has a strong position in markets where the proliferation of electronics is increasingly important and will extend our capability for power electronic solutions in the important medical, industrial and aerospace and defense markets in the U.S."
TT said it will be able to expand Precision's sales reach in Europe and Asia and "provide significant manufacturing and supply chain capabilities in Asia to support customers in region."