Warren Buffett's favorite banker has filed to take Weber public - and the grill maker could secure a billion-dollar valuation

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Warren Buffett's favorite banker has filed to take Weber public - and the grill maker could secure a billion-dollar valuation
Warren Buffett. AP Images
  • Warren Buffett's longtime banker plans to take Weber public, SEC filings show.
  • Byron Trott's BDT has been the grilling company's majority shareholder since 2010.
  • Buffett has lauded Trott's dealmaking skills, expertise, and trustworthiness.

Warren Buffett's favorite banker has filed to take Weber public, paving the way for the grilling specialist to deliver a billion-dollar IPO.

BDT Capital Partners, helmed by founder and CEO Byron Trott, has been Weber's majority shareholder since 2010 and has agreed to sponsor its IPO. Weber boasts a global installed base of 50 million grills, and commands a 24% share of the global market, according to its draft IPO filing.

Notably, Weber has enjoyed some benefits from the COVID-19 pandemic, including higher demand for outdoor spaces and activities thanks to social-distancing measures and lockdowns. The company's revenue surged 62% year-on-year to $963 million in the six months to March 31, and its net income tripled to about $74 million during that period.

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Weber raked in over $1.5 billion of revenue in the year to September 30, up from $1.3 billion in its previous fiscal year, making a billion-dollar public valuation for the company seem reasonable.

Trott, who worked at Goldman Sachs before launching BDT in 2009, has advised Buffett on several Berkshire Hathaway deals. Those include the conglomerate's purchases of McLane, Marmon, and Pilot Flying J over the past two decades, as well as its financing of Mars' acquisition of Wrigley in 2008.

"He understands Berkshire far better than any investment banker with whom we have talked and - it hurts me to say this - earns his fee," Buffett, a notorious skeptic of bankers, said about Trott in his 2003 letter to shareholders.

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"Byron is the rare investment banker who puts himself in his client's shoes," the investor and Berkshire CEO said in his 2007 letter. "Charlie and I trust him completely."

Trott's BDT has raised over $18 billion in total across its investment funds, and made more than $7 billion of co-investments, according to Weber's IPO filing. Its non-Berkshire deals include JAB's past purchases of Panera Bread and Krispy Kreme, and JAB-owned Keurig's takeover of Dr Pepper Snapple a few years ago.

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