The Stephens Group Acquires Kele, Inc.

February 25, 2020

Partnership enables continued growth of the leading specialty distribution platform for the building automation industry

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – FEBRUARY 25, 2020.  The Stephens Group, LLC (“The Stephens Group”) announced today that it finalized its acquisition of Kele, Inc. (“Kele” or the “Company”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Based in Memphis, Tennessee, and founded in 1983, Kele is the leading distributor of building automation peripherals and controls solutions.  Kele provides more than 11,000 customers access to over 125,000 SKUs in 24 product categories from over 300 leading suppliers, including manufacturers of various sensors, flow meters, transmitters, switches, gauges, valves, actuators, relays, controllers, enclosures, tools, lighting, power supplies and numerous other products critical to the proper functioning of commercial building automation systems (e.g., HVAC and lighting).  The Company’s products can be integrated into pre-existing, new construction and retrofit applications, and a large portion of demand comes from the recurring break/fix needs of the installed base of existing commercial buildings.  In addition to having a robust product offering, Kele offers a variety of value-added services including product selection expertise, technical support, custom panel assembly, calibration and programming, order tagging and kitting, as well as a broad selection of Kele® branded products.

“We are thrilled to add Kele to our family of companies,” said Clay Hunter, Managing Director at The Stephens Group.  “We’ve been searching for the ideal platform to capitalize on long-term systemic trends toward automation in all areas.  Kele is a well-recognized and critical supply partner to the fragmented building automation industry.  We have tracked the business for over a decade and the opportunity arose to partner with this team as a result of this highly targeted approach.  Kele is perfectly situated at the intersection of specialty distribution and engineered industrial products, two of the industry sectors we know best.  CEO Richard Campbell and his team are top notch and have built an impressive platform.  We are looking forward to working together to execute on our shared vision to extend the leadership of this value-added, truly specialty distribution business.”

“We are very excited to partner with The Stephens Group,” said Campbell.  “Their unique combination of high caliber private equity capabilities paired with a flexible, permanent capital source make them the right partner for our team as we look to continue executing on our strategy.  Their team knows our industry and business model well and we look forward to tapping into their resources to help accelerate our growth both organically and via acquisitions. On a personal level, having grown up in Arkansas, I’ve known of and have a particular fondness for the Stephens’ long history of successful partnerships.  I am especially pleased to be a part of the Stephens family.”


The Stephens Group, LLC is a private investment firm that partners with talented management teams to help build valuable businesses. Backed by the resources of the Stephens family, The Stephens Group has a long history of providing sophisticated, strategic expertise and taking a partnership approach to help companies successfully achieve their strategic visions and build long-term value. With over $1.5 billion invested since 2006, The Stephens Group targets investments in industries across the U.S., including industrial and commercial products and services, specialty distribution, B2B food and consumer products, technology infrastructure and tech-enabled services, as well as select opportunistic situations.


Ronald M. Clark
General Counsel
The Stephens Group, LLC