Southeastern Wisconsin companies continued to evolve through mergers and acquisitions over the past year. Here is a look at some of the region’s other significant deals:
Wauwatosa-based insurance software company Zywave Inc. was acquired by California-based private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. from Los Angeles-based Aurora Capital Partners. Members of the management team, including CEO Jason Liu, invested alongside Clearlake Capital. Zywave also continued making its own deals, acquiring Texas-based Insurance Technologies Corp. and New York-based Advisen, which helped expand its international presence.
In December, Waukesha-based concrete precaster and machinery manufacturer Spancrete was acquired by Minnesota-based Wells Concrete, the fifth largest precaster in the U.S. The deal expanded Wells’ footprint and the company said it planned to keep Spancrete’s plants in operation.
Milwaukee-based enterprise software company PKWARE was acquired by St. Louis-based private equity firm Thompson Street Capital Partners in May. Later in the year PKWARE acquired California-based data privacy management firm Dataguise.
Sussex-based Power Test acquired two competitors in 2020. In March, the company acquired New Hampshire-based DynoMite Dynamometer and then in June it acquired Milwaukee-based Taylor Dynamometer.
Whitewater-based Universal Electronics Inc. was acquired in September by Atlanta-based East West Manufacturing to expand its manufacturing operations in the Midwest.
Milwaukee-based Super Steel LLC acquired Indiana-based Manitex Sabre Inc. in August in a deal worth up to $4.4 million. The move was expected to bring 50 jobs to Super Steel’s Milwaukee operations. The company has since said it would move its operations from the city’s northwest side to the former Telsmith property in Mequon.
In January, IBM acquired Milwaukee-based Salesforce consultancy 7Summits from private equity firm Sverica International Management. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company was to remain headquartered in Milwaukee as an independent IBM subsidiary under the leadership of CEO Paul Stillmank.
Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems expressed interest in parts of Briggs & Stratton during the bankruptcy process, but ultimately did not submit a qualifying bid. The rapidly growing manufacturer did expand its outdoor power equipment offerings with the acquisition of Ohio-based Mean Green Products LLC, a maker of battery-powered turf care products. Later in the year, Generac expanded its energy management offerings by acquiring Denver-based Enbala Power Networks, which helps control distributed power generation sources. Those deals follow several recent acquisitions in the clean energy space.
Milwaukee-based Dohmen made several acquisitions during the year, acquiring Delafield-based Salus Corporate Wellness in January, Chicago-based meal preparation and delivery company Cooked in February, and Madison-based online marketplace and logistics company FoodChain in April. Those moves came after divesting its life sciences business in 2018 and transitioning to a benefit corporation owned by The Dohmen Company Foundation.
Illinois-based Windy City-Fox Motorsports acquired the former Iron Town Harley-Davidson dealership in New Berlin from bankruptcy, but did not plan to reopen the dealership previously known as Hal’s in New Berlin. In November, the property was acquired by Middleton-based interior-home products retailer Nonn’s, which planned to turn the building into a showroom and warehouse.
Boston-based SV Health Investors LLC acquired a majority stake in Milwaukee-based health care technology company Health Payment Systems Inc. last month. The deal, intended to help fuel the company’s growth, installed SV executive in residence Tom Policelli as CEO with Terry Rowinski staying on as president.
The maker of the Pretzilla bread brand, Milwaukee-based Miller Baking Co., was sold in November to Benestar Brands, a portfolio company of Salas-based private investment firm Highlander Partners L.P. Miller had been family owned since 1923. The company launched Pretzilla in 2010 and said it would focus exclusively on it in 2018. Pretzilla founder Brian Miller said he would stay on with the company and no changes were planned to local operations.
After nearly two years spent exploring alternatives for its automotive business, Racine-based Modine Manufacturing Co. said in November it would sell a portion representing around $300 million in sales to Ohio-based Dana Inc. for $1, plus the assumption of $2 million in debt and $15 million in unfunded pension liability. Modine spent more than $27 million preparing to be able to sell the business and had also walked away from a potential deal in November 2019. Executives acknowledged the deal took longer than anticipated and said the COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays.
Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. completed the sale of its $200 million book-printing business last year. The company announced plans for the divestiture in 2019 after a planned acquisition of LSC Communications ran into regulatory roadblocks. In July, the company sold its Kentucky book plant to Minnesota-based CJK Group Inc. In November, Quad sold plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Berryville Graphics. The book business was originally acquired in 2020 as part of Quad’s acquisition of World Color. Quad also sold its Omaha, Nebraska packaging plant to Atlanta-based Graphic Packaging International for $40 million. In late 2019, the company sold its heavy industrial wood crating business in Franklin to Transpak.
Brookfield-based strategic employment recruitment company Cielo acquired a “significant foothold” in China with the acquisition in March of AsiaNet China, an executive search, recruitment, payroll and recruit process outsourcing business based in Shanghai. In December, Cielo added California-based advisement and consulting firm Talent Function.