â€‹DBusiness magazine has partnered with the Association of Corporate Growth Detroit Chapter to honor its recipients of the ninth annual M&A All Star Awards for 2016. Winners were recognized at an event on April 12 at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. The Detroit chapter of ACG Global represents a 400-member professional organization focused on middle-market growth, private investment, and M&A work across southeast Michigan. Founded in 1954, ACG Global has 59 chapters and 14,500 members worldwide. Overall, ACG serves 90,000 investors, owners, executives, lenders, and advisers to growing middle-market companies.
All Star Investment Bankers of the Year
Greg Alkhas, managing director
Cliff Roesler, co-founder and partner
â€‹Angle Advisors, Birmingham
Acquiring Company: Northeast Industries Co. LTD, Changchun, China
Acquired Company: Delphi Corp.’s Global Reception Systems Business (Delphi is based in Troy and Global Reception Systems Business is based in Germany)
Why This Deal is an M&A All Star
The northeast region of China has an aging industrial base that has lagged as it relates to development. The Chinese government, including Xi Jinping, president of the People’s Republic of China, sought to bring new technologies to the region to accelerate growth. Greg Alkhas, managing director, and Cliff Roesler, co-founder and partner, of Angel Advisors in Birmingham, identified China-based Northeast Industries Co., a manufacturer of low-technology mechanical parts, as a company that could benefit from the sophisticated engineering capabilities of German-based Delphi’s Global Reception Systems. The year-long deal, executed in Angel Advisors’ Birmingham office, was a perfect fit, and President Xi himself congratulated Northeast Industries on the transaction. The proceeds from the divestiture are expected to be reinvested in higher growth opportunities in the Detroit area.
All Star Investment Banking Firm of the Year
Quarton International, Birmingham (U.S. office)
Why Quarton International is an M&A All Star
In late 2015, Quarton Partners, a banking and investment firm in Birmingham founded in 2010, merged with a larger German firm, Blue Corporate Finance. The new company was named Quarton International, and today it includes 14 employees from Quarton Partners, along with 36 employees in offices located in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the U.K. The new firm operates as an equal partnership. Quarton International provides advice on M&A transactions and complex securities, along with assisting with raising equity and debt capital. The deals the firm is involved in range from $25 million to $500 million. The Birmingham-based division includes Rob Parker, partner and president of North America operations, and Andre Augier, chairman and CEO for North America. The pair say they take the time to understand the complexity of the agreements they work on, as well as the client’s motives and goals. Parker has nearly 20 years of investment banking experience and Augier has nearly 30 years of experience.
All Star CPA Firm of the Year
Plante Moran Transaction Advisory Team â€‹
Plante Moran, Southfield
Why Plante Moran’s Transaction Advisory Team is an M&A All Star
With a focus on the middle market and transactions between $20 million and $200 million, Plante Moran’s Transaction Advisory Team participated in more than 170 deals in 2015, up nearly 16 percent from the year before. Nearly 40 of the completed transactions included a buyer or seller located in Michigan. The team — withleadership from Michele McHale, a partner in the firm’s Southfield office — serves both financial and strategic buyers, and deal volume is split 70/30 between the two, respectively.
Approximately half of the deals reached last year were evenly split between health care and manufacturing/distribution companies, with the remaining share predominantly focused on service companies. The majority of the strategic buyer
clients served by the Plante Moran team, which also works with private equity companies, are headquartered in Southfield. The global accounting firm has more than 2,200
employees in 22 offices worldwide.
All Star Attorney of the Year
Robert S. Bick, of Counsel
Williams, Williams, Rattner & Plunkett PC, Birmingham
Acquiring Company: Magellan Health Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.
Acquired Company: 4D Pharmacy Management Systems Inc., Troy
Why Robert S. Bick is an M&A All Star
Robert Bick, counsel of Williams, Williams, Rattner & Plunkett in downtown Birmingham, negotiated numerous complex issues and documentation in facilitating Magellan Health Inc., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., to acquire Troy-based 4D Pharmacy Management Systems Inc., a privately held, full-service pharmacy benefit manager. Due to several complicating factors, the $85-million deal took more than a year to negotiate, obtain regulatory approvals, document, and close. Bick was able to craft numerous out-of-the box solutions to meet the conflicting goals of both parties, mitigate risks on each side to acceptable levels, and obtain the government approvals required to consummate the transaction. As part of the transaction, 4D Pharmacy was able to ensure that its headquarters, employees, and jobs remain in Michigan. In turn, Magellan committed to hire additional employees and expand its operations in the state. During his nearly 30-year legal career, Bick has negotiated and closed hundreds of M&A transactions. He is a graduate of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School, both in Ann Arbor.
All Star Consultant of the Year
Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner
Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Detroit
Why Jeff Lambert is an M&A All Star
Jeff Lambert, founder, president, and managing director of Lambert, Edwards & Associates in Detroit, advised and provided due diligence, along with offering marketing support, on more than 30 transactions in 2015. Lambert’s firm provided strategic counsel and tailored resources to help businesses communicate clearly, consistently, and effectively with their investors and throughout the M&A process. Under Lambert’s direction, the firm provided strategic guidance on transaction communications for Detroit-based Huron Capital Partner’s 25 transactions within 2015. These transactions included 19 acquisitions in 13 different operating partner for Blackford Capital, a private equity firm, and provided strategic support and counsel to the firm’s Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests in middle-market manufacturing, distribution, and service companies either headquartered or maintaining significant operations within Michigan. The fund supports Michigan’s economy by protecting and creating jobs within the state and reducing the export of capital from Michigan by out-of-state investors.
All Star Consulting Firm of the Year
PM Environmental Inc., Berkley
Acquiring Company: Kroger Co., Cincinnati, Ohio
Acquired Company: Hiller’s Markets, Commerce Township
Why PM Environmental is an M&A All Star
When Mike Kulka, founder and CEO of PM Environmental in Berkley, was presented with an opportunity to represent and provide environmental counsel to Cincinnati-based Kroger Inc., the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain, he personally oversaw the due diligence in the purchase of seven locally owned Hiller’s Markets. Kulka and his team were faced with special challenges — including performing the due diligence, property condition assessments, asbestos surveys, and hazardous materials inspections — under strict confidentiality among staff, landlords, and third-party property managers. Not even the PM Environmental employees knew who the client was, including accountants, engineers, and architects. Inspections had to occur during regular business hours, in and outside of the properties, as well as on the roof, without upsetting ordinary operations at Hiller’s specialty grocery stores. The team had to identify any potential issues at the facilities to ensure there was no environmental and deferred maintenance risk for Kroger to consider.
All Star Cross-Border Deal of Year
Peninsula Fund V Acquires Impact Unlimited
Acquiring Company: The Peninsula Fund V Limited Partnership, Detroit 500 Woodward Ave., Suite 2800, Detroit
Acquired Company: Peninsula’s Toronto-based portfolio company, Aura XM, acquired Impact Unlimited, Dayton, N.J.
Why This Deal is an M&A All Star
The Peninsula Fund V Limited Partnership, a private equity fund and part of Peninsula Capital Partners in Detroit, led by Scott Reilly, president and CIO, and Partner James Illikman, navigated this significant cross-border deal involving the Peninsula’s Toronto-based firm of Aura XM in the acquisition of Impact Unlimited in New Jersey. The combined companies, rebranded as Impact XM, provide strategy, creative, marketing, design, fabrication, installation, logistics, and storage of displays for trade shows and promotional events. By partnering with experienced management experts, the transaction was closed in short order. The acquisition team worked with portfolio management to identify Impact Unlimited as the most advantageous add-on target and worked collaboratively to complete the underwriting. Peninsula is currently focused on investing its $389 million of committed capital in this fifth partnership.
All Star Deal of the Year Under $50 million
Stratford-Cambridge Group Acquires
Speedgrip Chuck Inc.
Acquiring Company: Stratford-Cambridge Group, Plymouth
Acquired Company: Speedgrip Chuck, Elkhart, Ind.
Why This Deal is an M&A All Star
Stratford-Cambridge Group, through its portfolio company, GCG Acquisition Co. LLC, purchased the assets of Elkhart, Ind.-based Speedgrip Chuck in December 2015. The business was a second-generation company that specialized in the design and
production of work-holding components for precision machining. Tragically, the company’s president, the son-in-law of the founder, was stricken with cancer and passed away, and his spouse decided to sell the business. The opportunity was brought to the attention of Steve Ellis, managing director of Stratford-Cambridge Group in
Plymouth. During due diligence, it became
apparent that most of the financial information had been handled by the president before he died. This resulted in a new and arduous financial due diligence process to generate a great amount of information that did not previously exist. Additionally, after an initial environmental study, it was found that more work and reclamation would need to be done on the property. Both challenges resulted in the process
taking much longer than anticipated. Compelling aspects of this deal were that Stratford-Cambridge Group was not the lowest bidder. To close the transaction, the company built up a strong relationship with the management team by sharing its vision and strategy post-closing.
All Star Deal of the Year Under $10 million
Oakland Standard Acquires Motor City Fastener Inc.
Acquiring Company: Oakland Standard Co., Birmingham
Acquired Company: Motor City Fastener Inc., Hazel Park
Why This Deal is an M&A All Star
Bob Puskas, president of Motor City Fasteners in Hazel Park, began his career at the company by loading nuts and bolts in his father’s garage. When he began to consider potential sale scenarios in early 2015, Puskas focused on identifying the right partner, who would serve as a value-added steward to this second-generation family business that had just celebrated its 50th year. Enter Birmingham-based Oakland Standard. What struck the principals of Oakland Standard when they were introduced to Puskas and his wife, Nancy, was the fact that they said their employees are treated as an extension of the family. This situation was a familiar one for Oakland Standard; over the past six years, Bryan Tolles, partner at Oakland Standard, sponsored the acquisition of more than 30 family-owned businesses. His partner, Dan Bickersteth, has served in a C-level capacity for three privately owned, family businesses. This combination of experience investing in and operating companies with an “extended family” resonated well with Bob and Nancy Puskas. The partnership the Puskas family, Motor City Fastener, and Oakland Standard decided to form was based on a mutual understanding of continuity, as well as the investment that would be made in advancing the careers of those who counted on Motor City Fastener to support their families.
All Star Deal of the Year Over $50 Million
Integrity Aerospace Group Inc.’s sale of X-Ray
Industries & Arcadia Aerospace Industries to
Acquiring Company: Applus+ Services S.A., Spain
Acquired Company: The transaction involved the sale by Integrity Aerospace Group Inc. in Troy of two major holdings. The divested entities included X-Ray Industries Inc., headquartered in Troy, and Arcadia Aerospace Industries LLC of Punta Gorda, Fla.
Why This Deal is an M&A All Star
â€‹Applus+ is one of the world’s leading testing, inspection, and certification firms. They provide solutions for clients in all types of sectors to ensure that their assets and products comply with environmental, quality, health, and safety standards. X-Ray Industries Inc. is the leading provider of independent Nondestructive Testing Services to the aerospace industry in the U.S. The company serves the outsource testing needs of critical component suppliers to virtually every prime aerospace company. Given the sensitive nature of the aerospace industry, sanction for this deal had to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an inter-agency of the U.S. government that reviews the national security implications of foreign investment in U.S. companies or operations. Obtaining such approval required significant effort. Playing a key role in the deal were Geaneen Arends, shareholder, and R. Peter Prokop, of cousel, from Butzel Long.
All Star Dealmaker Company of the Year
Huron Capital Partners LLC, Detroit
Why Huron Capital Partners is an M&A All Star
Based in Detroit, Huron Capital is a private equity firm with a long history of growing lower middle-market companies through its proprietary ExecFactor buy-and-build investment model. Huron Capital closed on a record 25 transactions in 2015. As a result, it was the most active year of completed deals, by number and magnitude, in the firm’s 17-year history. The transactions included four agreements in Michigan. Total transaction value exceeded $825 million, and the total revenue of the companies involved exceeded $775 million. The firm prefers complex situations where they can help companies reach their full potential by combining an operational approach, substantial capital base, and transaction experience with seasoned operating executives. Co-founded in 1999 by Brian A. Demkowicz, managing partner, Huron Capital has raised over $1.1 billion in capital through four committed private equity funds and invested in more than 100 companies. In turn, its portfolio companies have employed more than 7,500 people throughout North America. Huron Capital’s sector focus includes specialty manufacturing, business services, consumer goods and services, and health care.
All Star Restructuring Deal of the Year
Hilco Global Acquires Lee Steel Corp.
Acquiring Company: Hilco Global, Northbrook, Ill.
Acquired Company: Lee Steel Corp., Novi
Why This Deal is an M&A All Star
Lee Steel in Novi, along with its affiliates, was in discussions with Huntington National Bank regarding accommodations to meet the steel company’s anticipated liquidity needs. Huron Business Advisory, a division of Huron Capital Partners LCC, became involved and was engaged to measure the potential cash requirements, which were
significantly worse than Lee Steel had expected. Huron Business Advisory, Lee Steel, and Huntington then negotiated a plan to provide increased liquidity and deferral of principal requirements to give Lee Steel time to improve its operations and withstand the expected downturn in market pricing. When it became clear the company could not reach terms with its secured lender and unsecured creditors, Huron and the law firm of McDonald Hopkins prepared the company for a bankruptcy filing. Laura Marcero, from Huron Business Advisory, was appointed chief restructuring officer. Lee Steel filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2015. Huron consolidated the operational footprint from two manufacturing locations into one to make Lee Steel a more attractive acquisition target and to maximize its value. The result was a 363 sale of Lee Steel’s assets through two separate transactions to two different buyers.