Grace Matthews advises on Applied Adhesives sale

Company with Pewaukee roots sold to PE firm


Milwaukee-based investment bank Grace Matthews Inc. has advised Applied Adhesives on its sale to Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison.


Applied Adhesives, based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, supplies hot melt, water-based and reactive adhesives used in the packaging, assembly, graphic arts and paper converting sectors.

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The company was formed in 2012 when Pewaukee-based Ward Adhesives Inc. merged with Minneapolis-based Applied Products Inc. Applied Adhesives continues to operate an office in Pewaukee.

Minneapolis-based Goldner Hawn is a private equity investment firm. It acquired majority ownership of Applied Adhesives from Chicago-based private equity firm Ellipse Capital. Applied Adhesives management also held a significant minority stake in the company, and still holds a minority interest.

Grace Matthews was brought on to provide liquidity for Ellipse and other investors. It reviewed strategic targets in the distribution industry and private equity firms that could buy the company.

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Goldner Hawn has committed to continuing to expand the company through organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions.

“GHJ&M is the right buyer for Applied. Their experience and understanding of the manufacturing and distribution space combined with a commitment to management partnership will support Applied through its next phase of growth,” said Andy Hinz, managing director at Grace Matthews. “We are pleased to have assisted both the management team and Ellipse Capital through a successful process.”

“We have enjoyed working with management over the last several years to combine two leading organizations into a prominent adhesives distribution platform,” said Peter Gotsch, the managing partner of Ellipse Capital. “We believe Applied is incredibly well positioned to continue executing its growth strategy under new ownership.  The transaction is a terrific outcome for Applied’s shareholders and will allow management to maintain significant ownership in the business going forward.”

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