Charlie Claffey, President, Claffey Pools
Charlie Claffey, President, Claffey Pools

Claffey Pools of Southlake, Texas, has been acquired.

This is the third PSN Top 50 Builder in the Dallas area to be purchased by the same holding company.

Last summer, the firm Concentric Equity Partners of Chicago acquired Plano, Texas-based Riverbend Sandler Pools as the start of a consolidation effort targeted at the Lone Star State. With the purchase, it started a holding company, also named Riverbend Sandler Pools.

In November, the holding company purchased Fort Worth-based Pulliam Pools. The Claffey acquisition was finalized Dec. 31.

"They are a premier brand in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and the quality of their business, people and customers definitely aligned with what we have at Riverbend and Pulliam," said Riverbend Sandler CEO Bruce Mungiguerra. "They also fill a nice void in the metroplex between Riverbend and Pulliam."

A mainstay on the PSN Top 50 Builder list, Claffey last ranked No. 8 and reported nearly $32 million of residential construction revenue in 2020. It is known for building mostly high-end installations, with jobs averaging approximately $142,000. The company was founded in 1987 by Paul Claffey, father of the most recent principals/owners, President Charlie Claffey, Sales Manager Brian Claffey and Senior Design Consultant Shelley Claffey.

"We’re a great company, and they’ve acquired a great asset," said Charlie Claffey. "And in return we believe that they’ve got the bandwidth to help us capitalize on the brand. And we just believe they’re a solid, ethical, honest partner."

The Claffeys will remain with the company in their current roles. The three siblings also now hold part ownership of the company. The builder's 95 employees also will remain on board.

"Everything is exactly the way it was the day before the [acquisition's] close versus the day after the close," Mungiguerra said. "That’s the whole design. We’re acquiring companies to continue operating as they were. Then we’ll continue building stronger relationships between the companies, work on subcontractor relationships and distribution relationships, so we can build synergies among the groups, gain efficiencies in back office and pricing and whatever avenues we can work from to improve the business in general."

As Riverbend Sandler continues to grow, it has revealed some more of its plans. For the time being, it will continue its focus on the Lone Star State. With a firm hold now in the Dallas area, it is currently looking at established builders in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

In addition to focusing on construction, Riverbend Sandler plans to make significant headway in service and maintenance, both by growing the service divisions of its builders and by acquiring existing service and maintenance companies. In doing so, it expects to become a major player in the state's pool service and maintenance market.

That was part of the attraction for the Claffeys, who wanted to more fully develop their service division after the experience of helping about 1,000 clients repair the freezing event of 2021.

"We’ve been searching for a partner that would help us assure that... we have the ability to maintain every pool that we build," said Charlie Claffey. "Concentric Equity Partners, to a large degree, cut their teeth in ... maintenance and service. It’s a skillset that they’ve proven in other industries."

While the company prefers owners to remain on board for the long haul, that is not a requirement. The stake ownership of selling individuals will vary based on several factors, including how involved they want to be in Riverbend after the acquisition, officials said.

Riverbend Sandler is a member of Carecraft, so the builders it purchases will become part of the Carlsbad, Calif.-based buying group by default.