The Akron maker of Biofreeze, a rub-on pain reliever, and other rehabilitation and wellness products distributed worldwide, has a new owner.
An affiliate of Gridiron Capital LLC of New Canaan, Conn., bought the decades-old Akron manufacturer, called Performance Health and Wellness Holdings Inc., for an undisclosed amount from another private equity firm, Cortec Group of New York City.
Thomas A. Burger Jr., co-founder and managing partner of Gridiron Capital, said in an email the investors plan to keep the business in Akron.
The company, also known as Hygenic Corp., has manufacturing facilities in Akron and Malaysia. It employs about 130 locally, according to a worker at the Akron facility at 1245 Home Ave.
Cortec Group’s Fund IV had owned the Akron business since spring 2007. Cortec said in a recent news release that under Cortec’s ownership, the company “delivered strong performance and remains a leader in each of its core clinical end markets.”
Gridiron Capital was founded in 2004. Its other current investments are a diverse group of companies, including Apex Engineering International of Wichita, Kan., and Executive Cabinetry of Simpsonville, S.C.
The Akron company was founded in 1925 by Walter Keith as a manufacturer of vulcanized rubber dentures, according to the Hygenic Corp. website. Keith had purchased assets of a Michigan company while still working as an employee of the old Seiberling Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron.
Keith initially marketed the materials from his Akron home, and the product line grew to include latex dental items, waxes and foot comfort mats for dentists, bank tellers and others who stood for long periods of time.
Keith eventually moved the business from his home to a building on West Market Street before building the facility on Home Avenue in 1956.
Other significant events include the company opening a factory in Malaysia in 1995 and selling its dental division in 1997.
It acquired the Biofreeze and Prossage brands in 2006 when it purchased Performance Health Inc. Prossage Heat is marketed as a warming ointment for deep tissue massage.
Performance Health also makes engineered products primarily used for specialty health-care applications, sold under various brand names, including Thera-Band (exercise resistance bands).
Primary products include the resistance bands and tubing, topical analgesics, and foot care products, as well therapy and exercise products used by physical therapists, chiropractors and others.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.