Blackford Capital in Grand Rapids Acquires Southern California Automation Company

Blackford Capital, a lower middle market private equity firm in Grand Rapids, has acquired Eight12 Automation in Aliso Viejo in southern California. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
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Blackford Capital in Grand Rapids has acquired Eight12 Automation in southern California. // Photo courtesy of Eight12 Automation

Blackford Capital, a lower middle market private equity firm in Grand Rapids, has acquired Eight12 Automation in Aliso Viejo in southern California. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition expands Blackford Capital’s PACIV Industrial Automation platform.

Eight12 serves a client base representing a variety of end markets including life sciences, medical device, food and beverage, steel processing, automotive assembly, consumer products, and water filtration. Throughout its history, the company has maintained a strong reputation in the rapidly growing systems integration and automation space.

Founded in 2011 by Witney Johnson, Eight12 joins Blackford Capital’s PACIV Industrial Automation Platform just five months after the January 2024 acquisition of Pennsylvania and Ohio-based Data Science Automation.

With offices in Puerto Rico, Indiana, and the European Union, PACIV is a leading full-service provider of an extensive slate of industrial process automation and systems integration services including validation, instrumentation, and turnkey solutions, primarily for manufacturers in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. It was acquired by Blackford Capital in June 2023.

“Eight12 is an exciting addition to the PACIV industrial automation platform, offering strategic geographic expansion and perfect alignment with our vision of operating in highly regulated end markets,” says Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. “We’re just getting started, but we’ve already seen impressive synergies and collaboration between PACIV/DSA and Eight12 and are confident this is just the beginning.”

The highly fragmented industrial automation sector is one of the fastest growing global industries, according to Blackford. It is conservatively projected to reach a market size of $395.1 billion by 2029.

Since the platform’s inception in 2023, Blackford Capital’s acquisition strategy has yielded cost and capability synergies, strategic geographic expansion to allow better service to existing and new clients, and a growth trajectory that will differentiate it and expand relevance in a quickly consolidating market.

Witney Johnson, Founder of Eight12, will assume the position of principal engineer and West Coast Region manager at PACIV USA following the acquisition. All other engineering staff will retain their positions.

“We are delighted to be part of the PACIV family, expanding our access to new customers, geographies, and experienced engineering resources,” says Johnson. “The impressive synergies with PACIV and DSA bring us national and international expansion opportunities, and improve our ability to serve our clients, particularly those in the medical device and laboratory testing businesses.”