Yellowstone to grow in the South, CEO says


Yellowstone Landscape GroupBunnell, Fla.-based Yellowstone Landscape Group plans to continue its growth in the southern U.S. following its acquisition by private equity firm CIVC Partners, based in Chicago. It will do so through organic growth and strategic acquisitions, CEO Tim Portland told LM.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much Yellowstone will grow this year, Portland said, but he expects “healthy” growth for the company that did about $100 million in 2014 revenue.

In any case, Portland expects the company’s new investment partner will help it close the gap with its larger competitors in the commercial landscape services niche. Yellowstone is one of the five largest commercial landscape companies in the country, he said, and it operates in only four states—Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.

“There’s a lot of space between $2 billion and $100 million,” Portland said, comparing the size of the industry’s largest firm, BrightView, created by last year’s merger of the Brickman Group and ValleyCrest Landscape Cos., to Yellowstone, respectively.

Who will Yellowstone acquire?

Potential acquisition targets are companies with make-ups similar to Yellowstone’s. The company focuses on commercial clients and is about 85 percent maintenance and about 15 percent design/build/installation.

“We’re not interested in rolling up companies or growing for the sake of growth,” Portland said, noting the size of a potential acquisition target doesn’t matter. “We’re interested in folks who have fantastic properties and great relationships with those property managers. We’re looking for folks with great quality reputations and high integrity and who see opportunity to have their business benefit from partnering with Yellowstone.”

As far as geography, the South with remain Yellowstone’s focus.

“There’s a lot of white space in between some of our markets, and there’s lot of room to grow our footprint while continuing to be in the South,” he said. That’s not to say the company wouldn’t look at other markets, he added, but the lower half of the country remains its priority.

For now, Yellowstone’s model will allow its subsidiary companies to retain their brands with the taglines, “a yellowstone landscape company,” although that approach may be reevaluated moving forward, Portland said.

As to why CIVC was a good fit for Yellowstone, he said the firm has generated great returns in the landscape industry with its past involvement with Brickman.

“That absolutely factored into our decision to select CIVC as a partner,” Portland said.

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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