Since Simplicity owns other "commercial" use product companies companies (Ferris,Snapper and Giant-Vac) I thought I would post this news .. Briggs Buys Simplicity Briggs & Stratton Corp. and its subsidiary, Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group, have signed an agreement to acquire Simplicity Mfg. in a $227 million deal that takes the world's largest small engine manufacturer a big step closer to the end users of its products. A mainstay among a dwindling group of manufacturers who sell product only through independent dealers, Simplicity's brands include Snapper, Ferris and Giant Vac as well as that of the parent company. Briggs & Stratton executives say the move allows the company to deliver more value to shareholders and develop closer relationships with OEM and retail customers. Simplicity officials cite Briggs' financial strength and opportunities for shared efficiencies. The company will operate as part of Briggs & Stratton's Power Products Group. According to industry sources, the Kohlberg & Co. affiliate investment group that purchased a majority share in Simplicity in 1994 had been looking to sell the company for some time. Milwaukee-based Briggs & Stratton is the world's largest air-cooled small engine manufacturer for lawn and garden equipment, employing more than 7,000 worldwide with annual sales of $1.9 billion. Simplicity Mfg. of Port Washington, Wis. is projecting sales of more than $300 million in fiscal year 2004. Founded in 1922, Simplicity was purchased by Allis-Chalmers Corp. in 1965, then sold in 1983 to members of Simplicity management and Wesray Corp., an investment group. Two years later, an Employee Stock Ownership Trust (ESOT) was formed and ownership of the company was transferred to Simplicity employees. In 1994 the ESOT sold a majority of shares to an affiliate of Kohlberg & Co., a private investment firm.