A new, $500 million John Deere equipment dealer group is being formed through the merger of two family-owned businesses that have operated in the bistate area for a combined 187 years.

Mexico, Mo.-based Sydenstricker Implement Co. and Wm. Nobbe & Co., based in Waterloo, Ill., have merged to form Sydenstricker-Nobbe Partners, the St. Louis Business Journal reported.

It will begin joint operation of 26 Missouri and Illinois dealership locations in January, serving a combined 80 counties, including Franklin, Warren and St. Charles.

The new company will be owned and operated by the Sydenstricker family from Mexico and the Gabriel family from Macon, who together owned Sydenstricker Implement, launched in 1944; and the Nobbe and Obernagel families from Waterloo, Ill., who owned Wm. Nobbe & Co., founded in 1907.

Ted Briscoe, currently CEO of Sydenstricker Implement, has been named chief executive of the new company. He said the deal was not a recapitalization but a pure merger, with all remaining owners involved in the company as investors.

The merged company will have about $500 million in annual revenue, he said, as it looks to grow the group’s brand and services offered in the next few years.

The companies decided to merge now for several reasons, Briscoe said. “Industry momentum is moving to have fewer, bigger dealer groups, motivated by manufacturers wanting to be sure they have a strong dealer network to invest in keeping up with changes in technology and customer expectations,” he said. “The agriculture business is moving toward more technology and it’s taking more to meet customer demand.”

And with the trend to bigger dealer platforms, “It was fortunate to find two like-minded families that share the same value and culture to remain family-owned, rather than have outside capital come in and buy the group,” Briscoe said. The families involved wanted to keep the business for the next generation, he said.

“To support the growth in our industry, it was a natural step for two multigenerational family businesses from neighboring states to partner,” co-owner Eddie Sydenstricker said Tuesday in a statement.

“We are proud of our legacies and decades of commitment to our local customers and are excited to have the opportunity to join forces and continue as family-owned businesses for years to come,” co-owner Tom Nobbe said.

The dealer group serves the large and small agriculture market, construction, and turf and utility needs. Its offerings range from the largest combine to lawn mowers for homeowners, and skid steers and backhoes for the construction market, including professional landscapers.

“We have a mix of large agriculture and the small tractor market, which tends to be weekend farmers down to individual consumers,” Briscoe said. In addition to John Deere branded equipment, the group carries some complementary lines, mostly in specialty tools, he said.

Briscoe declined to disclose revenue or employee counts for the pre-merger companies but said that Sydenstricker was the larger in terms of both sales and employees. The new Sydenstricker-Nobbe has a combined 650 employees, and officials will begin working on a full integration of the companies, as they were organized somewhat differently, Briscoe said.

The integration will allow the dealer group to stay as close to the customers in local communities as possible, Briscoe said, with four newly named operating divisions to meet the needs of their territories:

Scott Brees, general manager of the Missouri North Division.

Kevin Cobb, general manager of the Missouri South Division.

Ben Poletti, general manager of the Metro Division.

Adam Bunting, general manager of the Illinois East Division.

Technical changes in the industry are calling for more training, both of dealer staff and of customers, Briscoe said, and one of the benefits of a larger organization is that it allows that type of investment.

Among the developments are more machine control – “think of a path toward autonomous vehicles,” he said, although John Deere hasn’t yet announced such products.