Therma-Tru, a leading designer and manufacturer of residential entry doors in the United States, was acquired by the Home and Hardware business of Fortune Brands, the Lincolnshire, Ill., owner of Master Lock, Moen, and MasterBrand Cabinets, among other brands. Therma-Tru's chairman, Deke Welles, will become a consultant. Carl Hedland took over as Therma-Tru's CEO and president when the deal, valued at $925 million, closed in late November.

Why would a private company that was so successful for so long want to sell to a public company? Welles explains that although Therma-Tru had established a strong market presence--its annual sales exceed $400 million and dominates about 25 percent of the market--the company felt it was not reaching its true potential. "The big keep getting bigger," Welles notes. "Being closely held, we had more limited access to capital. We wanted to be able to grow and enhance our products."

Before selling the company, which was founded in 1962 in Maumee, Ohio, Welles says he first researched other Fortune acquisitions. "Fortune gives companies autonomy and resources to allow them to reach higher levels of the game," he says. Therma-Tru has production facilities in Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Arizona, and Mexico.

The deal was negotiated over the better part of the summer, says Welles, and the details just "fell into place." The deal was announced two weeks before Welles had hip replacement surgery. The timing of the deal was beneficial to both companies, said Welles. He joked that people came up to him and said, "Now you can pay for your hip replacement."