Case Study: Key Technology

Baird Advises Key Technology on Sale to Duravant

 "We have great expectations for the future of our combined teams… Duravant's strong commitment to investment and growth will enable Key to accelerate the execution of our overall strategic plan."

– Jack Ehren, CEO, Key Technology

Baird recently advised Key Technology on its sale to Duravant, a portfolio company of Warburg Pincus. Baird also provided a fairness opinion to Key Technology’s board of directors.

Key Technology is a leading designer and manufacturer of automated sorting, conveying and processing equipment, primarily for the food market. Key’s automated technology delivers increased yield, greater safety of end food products and improved quality to its customers. The transaction resulted in an exceptional outcome for Key Technology’s shareholders.

Business Overview

  • Key Technology is a worldwide leader in advanced food sorting, processing and material handling equipment
  • Key's product portfolio includes highly intelligent optical inspection and sorting systems, vibratory conveying solutions and other high value food processing equipment, along with extensive aftermarket parts, service and support
  • Long‐term relationships with most of the largest food industry players globally
  • Corporate headquarters in Walla Walla, Washington, with additional production facilities in Oregon, Netherlands and Belgium

Process Overview

  • Strong Buyer Interest: Key’s extensive food processing and material handling technology, attractive market dynamics and clear customer value proposition resonated with strong strategic interest
  • Accelerated Diligence Review: Proactive approach to addressing key buyer focus areas, including a third party market study to define the addressable market opportunity, an operations study to highlight potential operational efficiencies and the future margin potential, and a quality of earnings analysis to optimally position one-time items and public company / stock-based compensation costs
  • Competitive Tension: Multiple parties completed business, commercial and financial due diligence, driving competition and an attractive combination of price, terms and certainty for Key’s shareholders
  • Premium Outcome: Transaction delivered Key shareholders a 1-day premium of approximately 51%, with a merger agreement signed two days after receipt of best and final proposals

Learn more about Baird’s Global Industrial Team at

Baird’s Global Investment Banking Team

Other Relevant Baird-Advised Transactions


Baird served as a financial advisor to Duravant LLC, a leading global manufacturer of engineered equipment and automation solutions for food processing, packaging and material handling applications, in its sale to Warburg Pincus LLC, a leading global private equity firm focused on growth investing.


Baird served as a financial advisor to Cimbria Holdings Limited, a leading manufacturer of products and solutions for the processing, sorting, handling and storage of seed and grain to deliver more productive agricultural solutions, in its sale to AGCO, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural solutions.


Baird served as financial advisor to IMI Holding Corp., a leading provider of highly engineered solutions for magnetic separation and material handling, particle processing and process automation applications, in its sale to DNS Capital, LLC, the investment office for the business enterprise of Gigi Pritzker and Michael Pucker.

The transaction listed above was selected for its relevance to our Global Industrial experience and does not represent all Baird transactions. View a full list of transactions.