Southfield-based Halberd Acquires Online Video Conferencing Firm

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Halberd Corp. — a holding company and incubator for early-stage, high-growth businesses in Southfield — has acquired Tampa Bay, Fla.-based Crowd Connex Corp., which owns Aspyre.com, an online video conferencing platform that will launch this summer.

It’s the first acquisition for Halberd, which started after CEO John C. Maddox had difficulty launching his own business — a website he describes as “a Craigslist for business” — in 2008. While Sellmybusiness.com is no longer in the picture, Maddox says Aspyre.com has great potential.

“We’re asking, ‘Do they have something that has a big enough market that with the right coaching and access to capital they can get a good foothold and grow in it?’ ” he says.

And the answer is probably yes. The new website will target the virtual education and mentoring marketplace — a $50-billion-plus industry, says Jeffrey S. Stanislow, Aspyre’s president.

“Surveys from Mentoring.org state that there are more than 60 million people in the U.S. alone that either need a mentor or want to mentor other people,” Stanislow says. “Add to that the number of people starting new careers, or new areas of interest like hobbies and sports that need coaches. And we cannot forget tutoring and other types of counseling.  We are excited about all the possibilities.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IN OTHER M&A NEWS, Troy-based Packaging Concepts + Design has been acquired by its management team in partnership with O2 Investment Partners, a private equity firm in Bloomfield Hills. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We wanted to find a partner that shared our strategic vision for our business and O2 was that partner,” says Richard Kaspers, president and CEO of PC&D, which provides packaging solutions for Tier 1 automotive suppliers and OEMs. “We now have the resources to take advantage of the significant growth we see in our existing markets as well as capture market share in other niche segments that we do not currently serve.”

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