Emory & Co. off to record-breaking ’08

Emory & Co., a Milwaukee investment banking firm, has closed three deals so far this year and has another four deals under letter of intent.

Emory & Co., a Milwaukee investment banking firm, has closed three deals so far this year, and has another four under letter of intent.

"It’s already a record quarter," said Victoria Fox, managing director. "It will be a record half if we close the rest (this half) and it will be a record year too."

"It’s phenomenal. A lot of them were deals that started at the end of last year."

Emory & Co. has six deals under letter of intent or in preliminary negotiations. The firm’s closed deals and deals under letter of intent represent more than $150 million in transactions, Fox said.

Five of the transactions involve strategic buyers.

In early February, Milwaukee-based Graphics Distribution Inc. purchased Paradise Media Products, a New Jersey software distributor. Emory & Co. advised Graphics Distribution in the acquisition, Fox said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Graphics Distribution is folding Paradise Media Products into its local operations, Fox said, and is bringing two of the company’s employees to work in Milwaukee.

Emory & Co. also advised a Wisconsin-based national food company, whom Fox declined to name, in its purchase of an east coast manufacturer of veggie burgers. The burgers are sold in Whole Foods, natural food stores and co-ops, Fox said.

"It’s a product extension and will continue to exist as its own entity," she said.

Emory & Co. is also helping two European companies that are looking to expand into the United States through acquisition, Fox said. One of those buyers, a German company, is searching for a $10 million to $30 million revenue company to acquire.

Although banks are being more cautious about lending money, Fox and Emory & Co. have not seen any difficulty in getting financing for mergers or acquisitions.

"Banks are doing lots of due diligence, but the bank funding is there," she said. "There is not any difficulty from the senior debt side of funding deals. Between funded private equity and mezzanine (financing) we’re coming up with more than enough. There’s no slowdown that we’ve seen yet."

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