Huntington Capital Invests in Vantage Mobility International

Huntington Capital, the San Diego-based lower middle market private equity fund, placed a growth investment in Vantage Mobility International. Vantage makes tools for conversions to place wheelchair lifts and other accessibility products in vehicles. Huntington invested in the company from its second fund.

PRESS RELEASE:

Huntington Capital Invests In Leading Personal Mobility Transportation Solutions Provider.
Huntington Capital Fund II, LP (“Huntington”), a San Diego based lower-middle market focused private equity mezzanine fund, is pleased to announce its growth investment in Vantage Mobility International (“VMI”), a leading solutions provider in the personal mobility transportation market.

Founded in 1987, Vantage Mobility International is a manufacturer of vehicle conversions and platform lifts for wheelchairs and other accessibility products within the personal mobility transportation market. The company operates out of a state of the art conversion facility located in Phoenix, Arizona. In partnership with OEM manufacturers such as Chrysler, Dodge and Honda, coupled with their nationwide mobility equipment retail dealer network, VMI has grown to become the 2nd largest provider of lowered floor, wheelchair accessible mini-vans in North America. For more information on the company please visit their website at www.vantagemobility.com.

“VMI fits well with Huntington’s list of desirable company qualities. It maintains strong brand recognition in the market, a healthy balance sheet, a talented management team and a very high quality product. We were also attracted to their values driven culture with an emphasis on continual improvement. The team reflects a sense that the product in which they produce improves the quality of life of many people, and this shows from the CEO on down,” said Huntington Managing Partner Morgan Miller.

“We conducted an exhaustive search for mezzanine financing partners and ultimately selected Huntington as one of the companies on our short list,” noted VMI CFO Tim Barone. “During our due diligence process the people at Huntington stood out for their thoroughness and partnership personality. After they were chosen as our partner of choice, our positive opinion of the Huntington team was only enhanced by their ability and willingness to work out the key details and get the deal finalized, and we at VMI look forward to a long and prosperous relationship together.”

“We look forward to helping the company build upon its’ long tenured track record of success by providing this growth capital investment,” indicated Huntington Senior Associate Joel Gragg. “All of our due diligence and interaction with the company has only served to further confirm the high quality of product and people throughout the organization.”

Vantage Mobility
Founded in 1987, Vantage Mobility International (“VMI”) is a leading manufacturer of vehicle conversions and platform lifts for wheelchairs and other accessibility products; the company maintains the 2nd largest market share within the personal mobility segment in North America. For more information on the company please visit their website at www.vantagemobility.com.

Huntington Capital
Based in San Diego, CA, Huntington Capital is a leading mezzanine capital provider to lower middle market companies throughout California and the Southwestern United States. Founded in 2000, Huntington is currently operating out of its second fund, Huntington Capital Fund II, which it raised in 2008 with capital commitments from a group of leading institutional investors. Huntington seeks to invest in established lower middle market businesses generating between $10 million and $75 million in revenues across a broad range of industries; investments are typically structured in the form of growth capital, buyout or acquisition financing ranging between $1.0 million and $6.0 million. The firm has invested in approximately 35 companies since its founding. Partners Morgan Miller, Barry Wilson and Tim Bubnack lead Huntington’s management team. For more information please visit www.huntingtoncapital.com.


Serent Capital Invests in Cardon

Serent Capital, the California-based private equity firm, invested in Cardon Healthcare Network, a Texas-based provider of patient account management for hospital systems. Specifics on the deal were not publicized; David Kennedy, co-founder of Serent, worked on the transaction from the PE firm.

PRESS RELEASE:
Serent Capital, a private equity firm focused on investing in profitable, high growth services businesses, today announced an investment in Cardon Healthcare Network (”Cardon” or the “Company”), a leading provider of Medicaid eligibility and revenue cycle management services for hospitals. Founded in 1997, Cardon has grown to become one of the leading independent third party eligibility providers in the country, working with over 330 hospitals in 33 states to help their patients become eligible for coverage under Medicaid and other third party programs.

“We are very excited about Serent’s decision to invest with us. Partnering with them truly sets the stage for the next phase of our company’s growth and innovation,” said co-founder Doug Cardon. “Serent’s team brings a wealth of experience as executives of and advisors to successful growth businesses. We believe this partnership will enable us to expand and strengthen the value our clients receive across all our service lines. Innovative and cost-effective hospital account management services that deliver dollars are what our clients need. We want to remain the best at it. This investment is key to that goal.” Doug Cardon and the executive team at Cardon will continue in active leadership roles, and new executive team members will likely be added in the coming months to support the Company’s growth.

Serent has spent considerable time over the past year evaluating opportunities in the hospital revenue cycle management industry. “With hospitals facing intense pressure to recover revenue from third party payer sources, there will continue to be growing demand for effective outsourced services, particularly in the area of Medicaid eligibility,” said David Kennedy, co-founder and General Partner of Serent Capital. “With its exceptional service delivery platform and talented management team, Cardon has established itself as a clear leader in its field. We look forward to working with Cardon to drive further growth and service innovation in the years ahead.”

About Cardon Healthcare Network
Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, Cardon Healthcare Network is one of the leading providers of third party eligibility and patient account management services for hospitals throughout the country. Cardon works closely with its hospital clients in helping their patients become eligible for Medicaid and other third party programs to help cover their cost of care. In addition, Cardon provides a range of other specialized revenue cycle management services aimed at helping hospitals reduce their levels of uncompensated care and improving cash flow. For more information on Cardon, please visit www.cardonhealthcare.com.
About Serent Capital
Serent Capital invests solely in growing, profitable, services businesses. We invest in great businesses that are already successful, delivering compelling solutions that address their customers’ needs. As those businesses grow and evolve, the opportunities and challenges that they face change continually. At Serent Capital, we understand those challenges, as we’ve seen them first-hand. Our principals’ experience includes roles as CEOs, strategic advisors, and board members to successful, growing businesses. By bringing our experience and capital to bear, we help growing businesses thrive. We are highly selective, choosing to invest in only a handful of businesses each year. Our selectivity ensures that all our companies receive the attention and expertise that they need. More information can be found at www.serentcapital.com.


Black Pearl Capital Buys Canadian Oilfield Equipment Products Maker

International private equity firm Black Pearl Capital Partners is buying Canadian Energy Equipment Manufacturing, a maker of equipment for oilfield services firms. Tyler Hague, founder of the company, will remain on board as CEO.

PRESS RELEASE:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 19, 2011 — Black Pearl Capital’s private equity fund, Black Pearl Capital Partners (”BPCP”), today announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of Canadian Energy Equipment Manufacturing FZE (”CEEM”), a specialist in custom-made equipment for the oilfield industry. As part of the transaction, Tyler Hague, the founder of CEEM, will continue as its Chief Executive Officer.

“BPCP’s expertise, knowledge, and substantial financial resources will enable us to increase our product and services offering in order to continue growing our existing customer base and expand CEEM’s regional footprint,” said Tyler Hague, CEO of CEEM. “This move is fundamental to the company’s long-term potential and to its immediate growth path within the region.”

Based in the UAE, CEEM specializes in the manufacturing of unique and custom-made equipment for the oilfield industry. One area of its expertise is the design and manufacturing of Advanced Hydraulic Workover Units/Rigs (”AHWU”), a vital component of any field development, maintenance and drilling operation. The Company further provides multiple oilfield related services such as Water Jet Cutting, CNC Plasma Cutting, Steel Fabrication, Machining, Grit Blasting and Painting. CEEM has a large and diversified customer base including the leading oilfield services companies such as Weatherford International, Halliburton, Tesco Top Drives and Cudd Energy Services, who count on its high quality services and tailor made solutions for their operations worldwide.

“We are impressed with the track record of the CEEM management team. The Company has secured multiple contracts with leading oil services companies by continuing to deliver high quality purpose built equipment on time and on budget. Our ambition is for CEEM to be a leading UAE based provider of equipment to oil and gas service providers in the MENA region,” said Reza Irani, CEO of Black Pearl Capital. “We are committed to our investment strategy in this sector, and believe oil services are poised for long term growth with an increasing requirement for high quality, affordable and creative equipment and solutions.”

About Black Pearl Capital Partners
Black Pearl Capital Partners is a private equity fund with a committed capital of USD 50m set up and managed by Black Pearl Capital (”BPC”). BPC is an asset management and advisory firm registered in the Cayman Islands, with offices in Europe and the Middle-East where its dedicated team of professionals provide its clients with specialized wealth and investment management services, as well as deal specific transaction advice. For more information, visit http://blackpearlcap.com.


NewSpring Capital Provides Raritan Inc. With Equity Injection

NewSpring Capital, the Pennsylvania-based private equity firm, invested an unspecified amount in Raritan Inc., the New Jersey-based power management and efficiency firm, from its Newspring Growth Capital II Fund. Marc Lederman will join Raritan’s Board of Directors in conjunction with NewSpring’s investment.

PRESS RELEASE:
RADNOR, Pa., and SOMERSET, N.J., Jan, 18, 2011 — Raritan Inc. today announced that NewSpring Capital (”NewSpring”), a leading provider of private equity capital in the Mid-Atlantic region, has made an investment to support Raritan’s growing power management business that helps companies improve energy efficiency and operations in their data centers. Funds were provided through NewSpring’s growth equity fund — NewSpring Growth Capital II, L.P.

Raritan plans to use the investment proceeds to facilitate its rapid and accelerating growth in the data center power management market through the development of new products and expansion into additional geographies.

As a leading provider of secure IT infrastructure management solutions, Raritan entered the power management solutions business three years ago to help companies monitor and manage the energy usage of servers and other IT devices in their data centers. Raritan’s power management solutions include award-winning software offerings — Power IQ® and dcTrack™ — and the industry’s largest portfolio of intelligent power distribution units that uniquely provide detailed, accurate energy information.

Raritan’s intelligent power distribution units and energy management software are used by customers of all sizes, from local organizations to leading Fortune 500 companies, and across every industry.

“We are in the enviable position of experiencing rapid growth in our power management business, and having world-class customers — such as ADP, Cisco, Deutsche Bank, eBay and Royal Caribbean — embrace our power solutions,” said Bob Dennerlein, Raritan Chief Financial Officer. “We are delighted to have NewSpring Capital, which is synonymous with innovation and in creating value, help us on our growth path. It is a major vote of confidence in the growth potential of the power management space and in Raritan’s ability to deliver technology innovation to this market.”

“For the past 25 years, a key driver of our success has been constant innovation. Our vision of providing IT management solutions that alleviate major data center pain points has led us into the power management sector where energy costs have become an ever increasing pressure on our customers. We look forward to working with NewSpring as we go through the next evolution of our business. NewSpring brings a breadth of knowledge and resources in the IT sector that should prove invaluable throughout our partnership as we continue to build Raritan into the leading provider of power management hardware and software,” said Ching-I Hsu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raritan.

“Raritan has a demonstrated track record of developing IT infrastructure solutions that are highly valued by its customers. Ching-I is a true visionary who has shown the ability to identify the latest IT infrastructure challenges and lead his organization to effectively address those demands,” said Marc R. Lederman, a General Partner of NewSpring. “The Company has achieved significant traction in the power management market by delivering high quality products with superior functionality in conjunction with industry leading service. We look forward to working with Raritan’s management team as the Company continues to expand its comprehensive portfolio of power management hardware and software products.” Marc Lederman will join Raritan’s Board of Directors in conjunction with NewSpring’s investment.

About NewSpring Capital
NewSpring Capital is a family of private equity funds providing growth and expansion capital to companies primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region. NewSpring Capital currently has over $600 million of assets under management. The family of NewSpring Capital funds consists of (i) NewSpring Health Capital, which provides equity capital to healthcare companies within the healthcare services, specialty pharmaceuticals and medical device sectors, (ii) NewSpring Mezzanine Capital, which provides mezzanine capital for expansion stage and buyout opportunities in the business services, healthcare, information technology, and specialty manufacturing sectors, and (iii) NewSpring Growth Capital, which provides equity capital to growth and expansion stage companies with a focus on business services, enabling technology and information technology. NewSpring Capital has offices in Radnor, PA, Short Hills, NJ, and Washington, DC. To learn more about NewSpring Capital, please visit www.newspringcapital.com.

About Raritan
Raritan is a proven innovator of power management, infrastructure management, KVM and serial solutions for data centers of all sizes. In more than 50,000 locations worldwide, Raritan’s award-winning hardware and software solutions — including intelligent PDUs, energy management software, KVM-over-IP and Serial-over-IP access products — provide IT and facility directors, managers and administrators with the control they need to increase power management efficiency, improve data center productivity and enhance branch office operations. Based in Somerset, NJ, Raritan has offices worldwide serving 76 countries. For more information, visit www.raritan.com. Raritan is an active member of the Green Grid, Climate Savers Computing Initiative, and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design associations. The company has been recognized by the EPA for its contribution to the agency’s data center initiative.


Spurned Suitor KKR Still Has Love For Sara Lee

KKR’s interest in Sara Lee is all over the place today.

My compadres at Thomson Reuters are reporting that KKR is potentially interested in Sara Lee and could possibly partner with an interested party. JBS, the Brazilian meat processor, is considering Sara Lee while another PE consortium, which includes Apollo, Bain and TPG, is also lurking, Reuters says. C. Dean Metropoulos is also part of the group, various reports say.

However, the New York Post is reporting that Sara Lee’s board has shut out KKR from potential sale talks. It seems that KKR made a “low ball” offer for Sara Lee that has incensed the company’s board and the PE firm has been frozen out of talks since August. The report didn’t mention –not that I see—what the offer was.

Sara Lee also rebuffed a $17.50 a share, or $11 billion offer from JBS in December, Bloomberg News reported this week. JBS could make a revised offer for the food company. But Sara Lee is likely holding out for $20 a share, or almost $13 billion, Bloomberg says.

So why all the interest in Sara Lee? It’s the brands. Sara Lee’s products—which include Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park franks—are well-known by consumers. Also, Sara Lee fits the PE strategy of cutting money-losing divisions/people to increase profits. Sara Lee is always selling something. The company currently has an $11.69 billion market cap. Debt is about $3 billion.

Late last year, Grupo Bimbo agreed to buy the North American Fresh Bakery unit of Sara Lee for $959 million. Sara Lee, in December, also closed the sale of its Body Care and European Detergents businesses to Unilever for 1.21 billion Euros.

Shares of Sara Lee were up 10 cents to $18.29 late Thursday.


PE Pros See Rosy Future (but Not This Year)

Private equity firms are nearly unified in their belief that things will get better. It just won’t be this year, that’s all.

Nearly 70% of respondents to this year’s BDO USA PErspective Private Equity Study, when asked which quarter or year they felt 2007 levels of dealmaking will return, said “2012 or later.” BDO study included perspectives from more than 100 respondents from about 100 funds ranging in size from $30 million to $35 billion.

They’re not bullish on getting increased leverage anytime soon either; more respondents said that for their last, as well as for their next, deal, it is expected no more of the transaction than 60% would be paid for with debt.

“No one expects the double dip anymore,” said Lee Duran, BDO’s private equity practice leader. “But there’s still uncertainty.”

But it’s not all bad news.

When BDO conducted its private equity study a year ago, a whopping 38% of respondents said they had engaged a turnaround professional during the previous year and an astounding 81% of them said they had sought to renegotiate debt. This year’s study still had two-thirds of interviewees acknowledging they tried to renegotiate debt, and only 26% overall said they had called in for reinforcements in the form of turnaround pros.

Middle market investors are getting bullish on healthcare for the 12 months ahead, after big LBO shops like Providence Equity Partners and Apax Partners started gobbling up hospital systems and service outsourcers almost as soon as the Obama Administration revealed ambitious plans to provide millions more Americans with access to better care. Forty-three percent of respondents expect the greatest amount of opportunities to emerge in the healthcare space, specifically pertaining to deals in the $250 million to $500 million range. Last year, more survey respondents anticipated opportunities in healthcare to emerge than in any other sector, but the BDO survey did not break down responses by deal size.

This year, middle market and lower middle market investors also expect to find dealmaking opportunities in the manufacturing and technology spaces.

That isn’t to say that bigger LBO shops are ready to back out of the healthcare sector (but, you already knew that). Respondents prepared to make deals sized $1 billion and up said the bulk of their opportunities will be coming in retail, natural resources, financial services and, also, healthcare.


peHUB First Read

Tech: More raves and faves from CES

Ca-Ching: Drugmaker NextWave Pharmaceuticals gets a $45M Series C

Selling: AIG unloads its Taiwan unit

Stocks: Foreign markets up, U.S. shares poised for a lift

Selling, Pt. II: Thermo Fisher Scientific will dump up to $1B in assets

Outsourcing: Evergreen Solar moves jobs to China

Snitchin’: Former Primary Global Research analyst cops a plea

Ca-Ching, Pt. II:
Formspring wraps $11.5M fund with Redpoint, Baseline

Locked & loaded:
Gun sales reportedly surge in the aftermath of the Arizona tragedy


Tilton’s Salacious Style Turning Heads and Deals

Today’s most risqué PE profile goes to the WSJ’s story on Lynn Tilton, the founder and CEO of Patriarch Partners.

Tilton, according to the story, has “platinum blond hair, tight leather skirts and a penchant for racy remarks.” Behind Tilton’s glam facade is a sophisticated distressed debt investor and manufacturing tycoon who has become one of the richest self-made women in America. She heads Patriarch, a New York PE firm, and “owns all or part of 74 companies with revenues of more than $8 billion and 120,000 employees,” the WSJ says.

Tilton built her fortune by buying down-and-out manufacturing firms and bringing them back to life with new management teams and products. She revived a defunct Maine paper mill by turning it into a maker of alternative fuels. A money-losing helicopter maker founded by Howard Hughes Tilton made profitable through exports and sales to U.S. rescue workers and the military, the story says. Tilton also bought up auto-parts companies during the depths of the depression.

With these successes, the WSJ notes the “distraction of her personality.”

“Her office uniform usually includes five-inch stilettos, an eight-carat diamond necklace and the occasional black leather jumpsuit. Her office walls are filled with whips and handcuffs sent to her by friends, Hashemite daggers given to her by Middle Eastern royals, New Age paintings and a portrait of her stretched across the hood of a black Mercedes.”

Tilton’s comments are even racier. When visiting Detroit, Tilton got a cool reception from Tony Brown, Ford Motor Co.’s purchasing chief who asked her if she was like other PE execs that “strip and flip” their companies. “You must be mistaken,” she shot back. “It’s only men that I strip and flip. My companies I hold long and close to my heart.”

Interestingly, I looked back at an October profile of Tilton from The Deal that is called “Tenacious PE.” That story also made mention of Tilton’s edgy style but didn’t spend so much time on it. (Tilton reportedly told NPR that “I need to look sufficiently fierce to make sure that I garner the respect that I deserve.”)

Yes, Tilton does have stiletto heels, leather pants and diamond encrusted watches. And yes, the WSJ story is more interesting (and it does mention employee churn at Patriarch being high because of Tilton’s tough personality) but I learned some interesting bits from The Deal without the constant focus on her salaciousness. For instance, Tilton’s PE firm has about $500 million in dry powder and it’s taken part in some interesting transactions. Here’s more from The Deal:

“Tilton’s media profile also began to grow as Patriarch began to target more iconic American brands. There was the drawn-out brawl for Polaroid Corp. last year, eventually won by Hilco Consumer Capital LP and Gordon Brothers Brands LLC. And this year, Patriarch made it to the final stages of bidding for Newsweek, which was eventually sold to audio equipment mogul Sidney Harman. Over the past 10 years, Patriarch has bought into 250 distressed companies, most with revenue below $500 million. Recent investments include Tripology, a map and travel guide turned online travel company, and Rochester Hills, Mich.-based auto parts manufacturer Dura Automotive Systems Inc.”


peHUB First Read

Facebook Showdown: Return of the Winklevosses

Back in Business: GM eyes former auto loan business, Ally Financial

Fundraising:
Adknowledge pulls a whopping $45 million

Snitchin’: Now including alleged insider trading from a PE deal!

Funding:
Holtzbrinck Ventures and HarbourVest wrap a new early stage fund

Fine Tuning: That’s all Goldman says their practices need

Einhorn’s Crystal Ball: Strikes again, and St. Joe Co. gets an inquiry from the S.E.C.

Stocks: U.S. heading up, most foreign markets did the same

Justice: For DeLay, and not justice denied

Champions!: Auburn’s storied program defeats the Oregon Ducks at the gun… at a stadium that sold its naming rights to an online college


Thoma Bravo Buys Manatron for International Land Systems

Thoma Bravo, the Chicago-based private equity firm, acquired Manatron Inc., a property tax and records management software data system based in Michigan to integrated into its International Land Systems asset. Based in Maryland, International Land Systems will integrate Manatron International into its platform as a separate division. Terms of the deal were not specified.

PRESS RELEASE:
PORTAGE, MI — January 10, 2010 - Manatron, Inc., a global leader in integrated property tax and records management software for state and local governments, today announced it has acquired International Land Systems (ILS) Inc., creating a new division: Manatron International. The acquisition was led by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., ILS provides land management and land administration software systems and professional services to government clients in the U.S. and internationally, as well as private sector and non-governmental organization (NGO) clients worldwide.

ILS is considered a leading expert in legal international cadastre systems – a government’s public records and registries of land ownership, value and extent for legal and taxation purposes. The company designs, develops and markets a number of land management and land administration software products. ILS has deployed software and provided services and training in more than 30 countries worldwide including: China, Qatar, Jamaica, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Germany, Ghana, and the United States. The company has offices located in Kiev, Ukraine and Cochabamba, Bolivia.

“This is a very exciting acquisition for Manatron, as ILS immediately expands our business into the international market space,” said Bill McKinzie, president and CEO of Manatron. “With ILS, Manatron will establish an international operating division within the company, Manatron International. In addition, Peter Rabley brings with him over 20 years of international property experience as well as a strong management team and skilled staff.”

McKinzie added: “ILS has unmatched expertise in the area of international cadastre and registry systems. That insight fits well with Manatron’s established expertise in the valuation aspects of cadastral systems – what is located on the land and the value of that asset (e.g. house or business, garage, etc.). Operating as one company, we can seamlessly go from providing systems that document legal property ownership to systems that value the property and its structures, giving governments the information they need to effectively tax properties. We will offer the only truly ‘complete’ land records solution on the market.”

Peter Rabley, president and CEO of ILS, will become part of the executive leadership team at Manatron and will serve as executive vice president, Manatron International. ILS has a staff of approximately 85 employees located in three countries who joined Manatron effective December 31, 2010.

Rabley added: “I am pleased that my team and I are able to join a company of Manatron’s reputation and financial strength. Our clients will certainly benefit from the additional resources and expertise Manatron has, particularly in the area of property valuation and taxation systems. The acquisition only strengthens our position as a global leader in integrated land administration software and services.”

About Manatron, Inc.: Manatron, a privately-held company and an investment of private equity firm Thoma Bravo, LLC, provides software and services for state and local governments to completely, fairly and efficiently assess real and personal property, and to bill and collect the related property taxes in their jurisdictions. Manatron’s software manages the entire property life cycle, which includes deed recording, land records, GIS (Geographic Information System) integration, valuation, assessment administration, personal property, business licenses, cashiering, tax billing and collection, delinquents and tax sales and e-government. Professional services consist of data conversions, installation, training, project management, hardware maintenance, forms processing and printing, consulting and appraisal services. Manatron is headquartered in Portage, Michigan and has offices throughout the United States. Manatron currently serves over 1,500 customers and manages approximately 40 million parcels.

More information about Manatron, Inc. is available at the Company’s website www.manatron.com. In addition, learn more about Manatron on Facebook and Twitter.


M8 Capital Invests $4.2 Million In a German-Based Mobile Technology Company

M8 Capital made a $4.2 million investment in SCHAD, which is a Hamburg, Germany-based mobile technology company. M8 Capital is a London, U.K.-based venture capital fund that exclusively invests in mobile technology. SCHAD GmbH is already backed by eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG.

PRESS RELEASE:
M8 Capital, the venture capital fund investing exclusively in mobile technology, announced today a US$ 4.2 million investment in German mobile technology company SCHAD .

SCHAD’s technology allows engineering staff of global enterprises to remotely access, monitor and manage their plants, systems and facilities from mobile phones (BlackBerry/iPhone/Android/Windows) and other mobile devices (iPads/tablets).

The technology frees maintenance engineers from centralised control centres, and allows them to monitor and manage their plants and facilities from anywhere. As a result, the system can significantly reduce unscheduled downtime, allows for shorter maintenance response times and reduces overall maintenance costs for the world’s largest businesses.

SCHAD will use the investment to further develop its product line and to expand globally.

High-Tech Gründerfonds of Germany, who had provided seed and start-up funding to the Company, will also participate in this new funding round, which is being led by m8 Capital.

Within the past two years, SCHAD’s technology has been implemented by leading global enterprises including Ford, BASF, Vanderlande Industries, FRoSTA, Deutsche Lufthansa, Volkswagen and the Airports of Cologne/Bonn, Munich and Berlin.

In recognition of its success, SCHAD was recently awarded the 2010 Innovation Award for “Transforming Enterprise Business Performance” by Blackberry. “With an impressive array of international clients like Volkswagen and BASF, SCHAD has proven that its technology enhances profitability of global enterprises. With this investment from m8 Capital, we are confident that SCHAD will emerge as the leading company mobilizing large industrial processes around the globe,” said Joseph Kim, Partner at m8 Capital.

“We welcome onboard the m8 Capital team who bring a wealth of know-how and experience that can only aid the future growth of SCHAD GmbH,” said Alexander von Frankenberg, Managing Director of the High-Tech Gründerfonds.

“The significant investment from m8 Capital enables us to grow even faster and fully develop our product line. We aim to establish Extend 7000 as the global standard for mobile access to Factory Automation and to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). In m8 Capital, we have a strong and knowledgeable investor who believes in the high potential of our innovative mobile technology,” said Christian Schad, the founder of the company.

For more information, please contact:

• For m8 Capital: Chris McCafferty, chris@kaper.uk.com, +44 7801109654

• For SCHAD: Anne Bettina Jäger, bj@cream-communication.com, +49 40 43 17 91 26

• For High-Tech Gründerfonds: Dr. Alexander von Frankenberg, a.frankenberg@htgf.de, +49 228 82300 102

About SCHAD’s Extend 7000

Product functions of Extend 7000 include active notifications to service staff, mobile observation and operation of operations, mobile access to plant documentation to allow for better diagnostics and service, and detailed logging and reporting to enable future improvements to systems.

With Extend 7000, all available personnel can be informed of plant status and incidents immediately. Hence the closest workers are able to respond in real time, allowing potential problems to be addressed before serious issues occur. Further, as Extend 7000 provides control as well as monitoring, even if immediate site access is not possible, technicians have the ability to take corrective action remotely.

Extend 7000 meets the requirements of automation systems to provide constant real time plant information combined with the ability to take immediate action based on this information. The innovative use of mobile handset technology allows Extend 7000 to provide this. Extend 7000 enables plant technicians, maintenance personnel and management to always be in touch with plant status via the popular BlackBerry® mobile device.

Extend 7000 uses several key components to provide this real time overview. The backbone of the system is the system server, which includes the Device Manager and System Manager. These components provide communications to the BlackBerry wireless infrastructure while also exchanging information with the project server. The project server incorporates communication, notification and trend servers, who collectively handle communications with production equipment.

The architecture uses proven Microsoft® SQL Server technology to operate the system and project information databases and runs under Windows Server operating systems. This ensures easy installation, configuration and maintenance. Finally, end-to-end 256 bit AES encryption assures security.

About m8 Capital

m8 Capital invests exclusively in mobile technology. Mobile technology is changing everything we do. Mobile technology is enabling services, products and information to be more pervasive, more relevant, and more convenient. m8 Capital looks to support entrepreneurs and their companies that are positioning themselves to be at the forefront of all things mobile. Previous investments include mobile train ticketing technology leader Masabi and trust-based recommendation platform provider Rummble.

About SCHAD

SCHAD was founded by Christian Schad in Hamburg, Germany in November 2007. The company has developed a unique system for mobile operating and monitoring machine and plant system controls: Extend 7000. The innovative system uses public mobile networks and enables mobile access to control technology of machines, plants and buildings. With implementing Extend 7000 companies can reduce down times and thus save costs. Extend 7000 is applied in miscellaneous industries and business sectors - including logistics, automotive, chemical industry, facility management, food industry, energy supply as well as oil and gas. SCHAD offers its product on a global scale and cooperates with accredited partner companies from Europe and North America. The aim of SCHAD is to establish Extend 700 as the global mobile systems for operating and monitoring machine and plant system controls. The solution Extend 7000 shall be established as the standard for mobile access to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).

About High-Tech Gründerfonds

High-Tech Gründerfonds invests venture capital in young, high-opportunity technological companies implementing promising research results in an entrepreneurial manner. The start-up companies are planned to lead their R&D projects to the production of a prototype or a “proof of concepts” or market launch by means of the seed financing of up to 500k EUR. The High-Tech Gründerfonds has a fund volume of around 272m EUR. Investors of the public-private partnership are the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, the KfW bank group as well as the six industrial groups BASF, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Robert Bosch, Daimler and Carl Zeiss.

M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com.


Evergreen Pacific Partners Buys into Good Source Solutions

Evergreen Pacific Partners, the Washington state private equity fund, bought a majority of Good Source Solutions, a California-based provider of foodservice closeout and specialized products to niche and special application markets. Evergreen Pacific Partners manages a pair of funds totaling $700 million and has primarily made West Coast investments in the middle market. Evergreen Pacific was co-founded by Timothy Bernardez, T.J. McGill, and Michael Nibarger.

PRESS RELEASE:
SEATTLE, January 6, 2011 - Evergreen Pacific Partners (“Evergreen”), Washington state’s largest private equity fund, announced today it has taken a majority stake in Good Source Solutions (“Good Source”), a Carlsbad, California-based provider of foodservice closeout and specialized products to niche and special application markets. Evergreen’s significant financial resources will complement Good Source’s already strong procurement and sales expertise in its niche markets, enabling faster growth and lower costs for Good Source customers.

“Evergreen’s extensive financial resources, as well as their track record of success in industries like ours, lays the foundation for major growth,” said Craig Shugert, Chief Executive Officer and President of Good Source. “This growth will benefit our customers in terms of better service, lower costs and more options.”

Founded in 1989, Good Source is a provider of foodservice closeout and specialized products to niche and special application markets. The company sources both closeout and custom food items from leading food manufacturers and processors, providing a reliable, long-term distribution solution for these companies’ closeout food supply. Good Source sells its products primarily to the corrections industry, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. The company has strong relationships with over 500 leading food manufacturers around the world.

The transaction will enable Good Source to make additional investments in several areas of the company, including: new product development; increased inventory; cold storage and repack facilities; its Treasure Box program (high quality, low cost bundled groceries offered through community action or outreach programs and faith-based organizations) as well as each of the other businesses which have presented growth opportunities for the future. No changes to senior management or employees are expected.
“Our investment in Good Source is in keeping with our fund’s strategic approach,” said
T.J. McGill, co-founder and managing partner at Evergreen Pacific Partners. “We look to invest in companies in traditional industries we can position for future growth. We also look for companies with talented management and strong customer relationships. Good Source is well positioned to extend its leadership position and we look forward to helping them achieve their goals.”

Evergreen Pacific Partners, which manages two private equity funds totaling $700 million, invests in traditional buyouts, management led buyouts, and growth equity investments involving traditional industry, middle-market companies in the Western U.S. and Canada. To date, the firm has completed nine transactions involving companies in Washington, Arizona and California in the manufacturing, distribution, construction, radio, cable television and consumer industries. Its investors include foundations, endowments, pension funds, and West Coast-based CEOs with experience in Evergreen’s target industries.

About Evergreen Pacific Partners
Based in Seattle, Wash., Evergreen Pacific Partners currently manages two private equity funds totaling $700 million, with a focus on investing in traditional, middle-market companies in Western North America. Evergreen Pacific was co-founded by Timothy Bernardez, T. J. McGill, and Michael Nibarger. Evergreen Pacific’s acquisitions and investments include Western Broadband (Phoenix, Ariz.), Finest City Broadcasting (San Diego, Calif.), Gene Juarez Salons & Spas (Seattle, Wash.), Good Source Solutions (Carlsbad, Calif.), Haney Truck Line (Yakima, Wash.), Puget Sound Truck Lines, Inc. (Seattle, Wash.) and Nickel Plate Express, Inc. (Portland, Ore.), Nuprecon (Snoqualmie, Wash.) and CST Environmental (Brea, Calif.).


CI Capital Partners Buys Tech Air

CI Capital Partners, the New York private equity firm, will acquire a controlling stake in Tech Air, the distributor of industrial, specialty and medical gases. CI Capital is making the buy from its CI Capital Investors II, L.P. fund. Specifics of the deal were not publicized. CI Capital’s legal counsel is Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Tech Air was represented by Boylan, Brown, Code, Vigdor & Wilson, LLP.

PRESS RELEASE:
CI Capital Partners, a New York-based private investment firm, and Tech Air, a distributor of industrial, specialty and medical gases, today announced that an affiliate of CI Capital Partners has acquired a controlling interest in Tech Air. The acquisition of Tech Air is the second investment CI Capital Partners has made out of its CI Capital Investors II, L.P. fund. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1935, Tech Air is a leading distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases delivered in “packaged” or cylinder form, related welding equipment and supplies. The company is headquartered in Danbury, CT and serves more than 4,700 customers from locations in New York and Connecticut.

Myles Dempsey Jr., Tech Air’s President and CEO, said: “We are pleased to have reached agreement on a transaction that provides terrific value for our ESOP employee shareholders while preserving both our independence and our relentless focus on our customers. CI Capital Partners has a strong track record of growing businesses, while building value and creating attractive opportunities for employees. We expect a bright future under their ownership.”

Joost Thesseling, Managing Director at CI Capital Partners, said: “Tech Air is an excellent growth platform in the industrial gas distribution sector. We have previously invested in this sector with great success and are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Myles Dempsey Jr, and Craig Dahlman, Tech Air’s Chief Operating Officer, and the rest of the Tech Air management team. The industrial gas distribution sector continues to be very fragmented, and we believe Tech Air is well positioned to participate in the consolidation of the industry. We look forward to providing the company with a significant amount of additional equity capital to support its expansion through add-on acquisitions.”

CI Capital’s legal counsel is Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Tech Air was represented by Boylan, Brown, Code, Vigdor & Wilson, LLP.

About Tech Air
Founded in 1935, Tech Air is a leading packager and distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, welding equipment and supplies. The company is headquartered in Danbury, CT. To learn more about Tech Air, please visit www.techair.com.

About CI Capital Partners
CI Capital Partners (formerly Caxton-Iseman Capital) is a North American private equity firm focused on consolidations of leading middle market businesses. The firm targets industries that are ripe for consolidation and seeks to substantially scale businesses through organic growth and acquisitions. Since its founding in 1993, the firm and its portfolio companies have made over 90 acquisitions representing over $5 billion in enterprise value. CI Capital’s existing portfolio consists of companies which collectively generate annual revenue in excess of $3.5 billion, EBITDA in excess of $300 million, and have more than 14,000 employees. To learn more about CI Capital Partners, please visit www.cicapllc.com.


Nicolet Capital’s Transilwrap Buys Interfilm Holdings

Transilwrap Co., the Illinois-based asset of Nicolet Capital Partners, the Chicago private equity firm, is acquiring South Carolina-based Interfilm Holdings. Sperry, Mitchell & Company, Inc. served as advisor to the target.

PRESS RELEASE:
New York, NY (January 6, 2011) – Interfilm Holdings, Inc. (”Interfilm” or the “Company”) of Greenville, SC, has been acquired by Transilwrap Company, Inc. of Franklin Park, IL, a portfolio company of Nicolet Capital Partners, LLC, of Chicago, IL. Sperry, Mitchell & Company, Inc. initiated this transaction, assisted in the negotiations, and served as exclusive financial advisor to Interfilm.

Interfilm Holdings, Inc. (www.interfilm-usa.com) is one of the largest and most diversified value-added converters and distributors of flexible plastic films in the U.S. Interfilm provides complete in-house precision slitting of plastic films, combined with a national network of converting and distribution facilities. The Company serves a number of diverse end-markets, such as food, beverage, advertising and marketing, consumer products, and industrial products. Interfilm was founded in 1981.

Transilwrap Company, Inc. (www.transilwrap.com) is a manufacturer, coater, and converter of plastics used in the thermal laminating, printing, industrial, specialty packaging, and graphic arts markets. Transilwrap has multiple distribution locations throughout the United States and Canada with three key business units: thermal laminating films; printable plastics; and industrial packaging and specialty films. Transilwrap was founded in 1931 and is headquartered in Franklin Park, IL.

Nicolet Capital Partners, LLC (www.nicoletcap.com) is a private equity firm based in Chicago, IL that makes both majority and minority equity investments in businesses across a wide range of basic industries. The firm targets equity investments of $20 to $50 million in established companies with meaningful and sustainable market positions. In addition to its equity capital, Nicolet can provide committed debt financing for its transactions.

Sperry, Mitchell & Company, Inc. (www.sperrymitchell.com) is an investment banking firm specializing in middle-market merger and acquisition advisory services. Since the firm’s founding in 1986, Sperry Mitchell has completed hundreds of transactions in a wide range of industries, with values ranging from $10 to $450 million.


J. Crew Go-Shop Draws Suitors Sears, Urban Outfitters and PE

Go shops don’t usually produce a higher offer but don’t tell that to J. Crew.

Today, Sears Holding and Urban Outfitters are studying J. Crew’s books and are weighing making bids, Bloomberg News is reporting. Two PE firms are apparently also interested, the story says.

However, no one has made an offer for the preppy retailer. It’s also not clear which buyout shops are interested in J. Crew.

In November, J. Crew agreed to be sold to TPG and Leonard Green for about $3 billion. J. Crew must pay a $27 million breakup fee to TPG and Leonard Green if it accepts a higher offer. The retailer has until Jan. 15 to secure an increased bid.

Shares of J. Crew rose 83 cents, or 1.93%, to $43.90 in trading Wednesday. The stock of Urban Outfitters shed 16 cents to $35.72, while Sears added 50 cents to $71.96.

Go shops–which allow a target firm to shop around for a better deal–don’t usually result in a sweeter offer. However, there have been some exceptions. One of the most notable came in 2009 when CVC Capital Partners, a U.K. buyout shop, had a $4.2 billion deal to buy iShares, the ETF unit owned by Barclays. However, Barclays had a go-shop and decided to expand the deal and go with a strategic. The U.K. bank eventually sold Barclays Global Investors, which owned iShares, to BlackRock for a mammoth $13.5 billion.

Barclays paid a $175 million breakup fee to CVC for scuttling its deal.


Truffle Capital Sniffs out an Add-on Deal

Truffle Capital, the Paris-based private equity firm, revealed its LeadMedia has acquired Brazil-based online performance marketing firm MediaFactory. LeadMedia projects revenues for 2011 of $25 million with offices in Paris, San Paulo and Los Angeles.

PRESS RELEASE:

PARIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 04, 2011–
Truffle Capital, a major European private equity firm, today announced that its portfolio company LeadMedia has acquired MediaFactory, a leading online performance marketing company based in Sao Paulo (Brazil).

LeadMedia is a leading European online performance marketing company with headquarters in Paris, France. Founded by Stephane Darracq (a French serial technology entrepreneur) and backed by Truffle Capital, LeadMedia provides its business clients with a number of internet marketing solutions, including qualified traffic generation, lead and traffic retargeting, online customer relationship management (CRM), lead generation and the sale of tailor-made technology solutions for behavioural and semantic targeting.

Following its merger with MediaFactory, LeadMedia group intends to achieve a turnover in excess of 25 million USD in 2011 with its team of 100 specialists based in Paris, Sao Paulo and Los Angeles.

“Our presence in the Brazilian market since 2009 has enabled us to confirm the economic vigor of this sector, with its triple-digit annual growth rates! Acquisition of Media Factory means that we’ll have solid foundations on which to build our business, thanks to a high-quality local management team and 70 staff”, said Stephane Darracq, Chairman, LeadMedia.

Bernard Louis Roques, Truffle Capital’s co-founder in charge of the IT portfolio, commented: “The relevance of LeadMedia’s business model (as evidenced by strong growth in its home market in France) has been emphasized by the company’s entry onto the Brazilian market - a market with a sharp focus on performance marketing and social media. Thanks to this major acquisition, LeadMedia has created its second home market.”

About Truffle Capital (www.truffle.com)

Founded in 2002 in Paris, Truffle Capital is a major European private equity firm. It invests in and builds technology leaders in the IT, life science and energy sectors. With EUR400 million under management, Truffle Capital is managed by a team of four partners with decades of successful investment and entrepreneurial experience in both Europe and Silicon Valley. Truffle Capital seeks to achieve superior financial returns by leveraging its industry knowledge, extensive network and focus on spin-offs to identify business ventures that match latent market needs.


Montage Partners Makes Home Warranty and Repair Investment

Montage Partners bought LY Inc. and National Home Warranty, affiliated companies that provide warranty contracts for Las Vegas-area residential home systems and appliances as well as repairs. The Benchmark Group acted as advisor to National Home Warranty and LY Inc. Montage Partners’ other investments include Desierto Verde, which works with commercial and residential real estate landscaping companies, and Riggs Plumbing, an Arizona-based company.

PRESS RELEASE:

Montage Partners Acquires National Home Warranty, Inc. and LY, Inc.

VOORHEES, NJ, January 3, 2011 — The Benchmark Group, Inc. is pleased to announce the sale of National Home Warranty, Inc. and its sister company LY, Inc. to Montage Partners, LLC a private investment firm. The transaction closed on December 31, 2010. Benchmark acted as the exclusive advisor to National Home Warranty, Inc. and LY, Inc.

About National Home Warranty, Inc.
National Home Warranty, Inc. provides home warranty contracts for systems and appliances for residential customers in the Las Vegas, NV metropolitan area. The Company provides residential customers with contracts to repair or replace electrical, plumbing, central heating and central air conditioning systems, hot water heaters and other covered appliances or systems that break down due to normal wear and tear. Repair services, under those contracts are customarily provided by NHW’s sister company, LY, Inc. LY is a provider of systems and appliance repair services in the Las Vegas metropolitan market. For more information go to www.lv-homewarranty.com

About Montage Partner, LLC
Montage Partners is a private investment firm that seeks to partner with mature family-owned and founder-owned companies in the western U.S. For more information go to www.montagepartnersllc.com


ABRY Partners Acquires Majority Equity Interest in York Risk Services Group

ABRY Partners closed its deal to invest in the majority stake of New Jersey-based claims-handling business York Risk Services Group in a secondary deal from Odyssey Investment Partners. The private equity firm has spent more than a decade handling business services deals. Among its other investments in the space are its 2008 deals in Gateway EDI, a claims processor for physicians, and Orion HealthCorp, a billing agency; Talent Partners, a payroll services provider to ad agencies, and Gould & Lamb, a claims settlement service. Harris Williams and Macquarie Capital advised York.

PRESS RELEASE:

York Risk Services Group, Inc., a premier national provider of claims-handling, specialized loss adjusting and other risk management services, today announced that ABRY Partners, a private equity firm based in Boston, has invested in and acquired a majority of the equity of York. Previously, the majority equity interest in York had been held by Odyssey Investment Partners, LLC. The terms of the transaction, which closed on December 28, 2010, were not disclosed.

ABRY is one of the most experienced and successful private equity investment firms in North America focused solely on business and information services, media, and communications investments. Since 1989, ABRY has completed more than $21 billion of leveraged transactions and other private equity and mezzanine investments, representing investments in approximately 450 properties.

“ABRY will be a great partner, and its investment will facilitate our continued growth and further improvements in the products and services we offer,” said Anthony Galioto, chief executive officer, York. “More importantly, the transaction will be positive for our clients, our employees, and our operations.”

“We are strong believers in the insurance services industry and excited to be participating in the sector through York,” commented Brent Stone, a partner at ABRY Partners. “We are also delighted to have the opportunity to partner with York’s talented management team.”

“It has been our pleasure to work with Tony Galioto and the world-class team at York,” said Jeffrey McKibben, a managing principal at Odyssey. “We have been pleased with York’s performance during our ownership and see a long future of continued growth for the company.”

York was advised in the transaction by Harris Williams & Company and Macquarie Capital.


Audax’s Great Expressions Dental Centers Makes Another Buy

The private equity firm, having invested in Great Expressions in 2008, has rolled up several regional dental care businesses since its initial deal and continues to pursue buys, according to Audax’s website. Prior investments included buys in Ohio, Florida and Michigan, among others.

PRESS RELEASE:

Great Expressions Dental Centers has completed the acquisition of Smilecare Dental Associates, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Smilecare operates 14 dental practices throughout Jacksonville providing general and specialty services including endodontics, oral surgery, and periodontics. Smilecare employs 23 general and specialist doctors and 110 team members.

The addition of the Smilecare practices to the Great Expressions’ family of dental practices makes Great Expressions a dominant provider of dental services in the Jacksonville market, now with 16 convenient offices and 18 practices representing general dental practice and all dental specialties. The combined Florida network of 77 affiliated practices makes Great Expressions the largest provider of dental care in the state.

Richard Beckman, Chief Executive Officer of Great Expressions, said, “Since being founded in 1982 by Drs. Kelley and Woodward , Smilecare’s mission has been putting Jacksonville patients’ well-being above all else by providing quality dentistry unequaled in the community. Both our companies focus on providing excellent dental care to our patients with practice cultures that empower and support the dental professionals. We are excited to increase our presence in Jacksonville with this addition of one of the market’s largest dental providers and look forward to working with Dr. Woodward, as a Regional Vice President, and the rest of the Smilecare team to rapidly integrate the companies. Going forward, we will continue building the business through strategic acquisitions and organic growth to further fill our footprint in the Southeastern United States.”

Dr. Woodward commented, “We are thrilled to affiliate with Great Expressions. Watching Great Expressions build its network and strengthen its model throughout Florida in recent years solidified our desire to join them and become the anchor of the Jacksonville market. Great Expressions is known in the industry for its gold-standard of patient care and attracting dental professionals with the highest regard for patient treatment. Great Expressions’ operational expertise and practice support will be a tremendous resource to our busy dental staffs.”

In recent years Great Expressions has expanded aggressively through acquisition. In 2010 alone, Great Expressions has acquired 39 dental practices. Since its acquisition by Audax Group in May 2008, Great Expressions has acquired 96 practices through 8 separate transactions. Inc. Magazine has named Great Expressions to its list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America each of the last two years.

Great Expressions Dental Centers is one of the leading, privately-owned dental practice management companies in the United States with 181 affiliated dental practices in seven states. GEDC professionals have been exceeding patients’ expectations for over 35 years and provide a full range of dental services including specialty dental care. For more information on Great Expressions Dental Centers call (888) SMILE-80 or visit online at www.greatexpressions.com.