J2 Acquisition, the investment vehicle backed by serial dealmaker Martin Franklin, made its debut acquisition after an almost two-year search with a deal to acquire U.S. engineer and oil pipeline contractor APi Group for about $2.9 billion.

Among APi Group’s 40 company holdings includes Tessier’s Inc., the mechanical contracting company which is headquartered in Mitchell and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. APi Group, which has about 15,000 employees, is based in New Brighton, Minnesota, as one of the state’s largest private companies. The sale is expected to close by the end of the 2019, and the plan is for APi Group to be a publicly traded company.

London-based J2, which is run by Franklin and long-time partners James Lillie and Ian Ashken, is looking to build on their track record of creating outsized shareholder returns, most notably with Jarden Corp. Through a string of acquisitions, they grew the small canning business into a diversified consumer-products giant that was sold for about $15 billion to the company then known as Newell Rubbermaid Inc. in 2016.

"We have the same ambitions here," Franklin said in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg Television. "This has the potential to be a far larger group than it is today."