Mergers & Acquisitions

New York company acquires Valeo Inc.

EB Sport Group LLC of Younkers, N.Y., has announced the acquisition of Sussex-based Valeo Inc.

Under the terms of the agreement, EB Sport Group now owns and manages Valeo’s assets, including all intellectual property.

A subsidiary of E&B Brands, EB Sport Group is the parent company of Sportline Inc., Sports & Leisure Technology Corp. and now Valeo.

Together, the companies design, develop and market a variety of fitness-based products geared toward fitness monitoring, conditioning, strength training and cardiovascular health under brands such as Sportline, Everlast and Bally Total Fitness.

Valeo manufactures fitness gear and workplace safety products, ranging from lifting gloves, body balls and jump ropes to mechanics gloves, knee pads and joint and back supports. The company recently engaged in an active search for a partner that could best represent the Valeo brand and help take it to the next level.

“We are interested in seeing Valeo grow and, more than any other company, felt EB Sport Group was the best partner to make that growth happen,” said Ted Yewer, founder and chief executive officer of Valeo. “They have respected brands, an outstanding management team and a great reputation in the sport and fitness market. That combination convinced us that they have what it takes to help Valeo reach its next level of potential.”

“For the past 20 years, the Valeo team has built a well-respected brand, a loyal customer base, and a great reputation in the industry. We’re thrilled to add Valeo to our portfolio of sport and fitness businesses,” says Brian Anderson, president of EB Sport Group. “We intend to grow the Valeo business by investing in product development, brand development, and by giving the Valeo team the tools they need to continue growing the business.”

“The future of Valeo is in good hands, and we are looking forward to the next chapter under the ownership of EB Sport Group,” said Phil Welch, vice president of sales for Valeo. “They have impressive infrastructure and operational capabilities, as well as a proven history of introducing innovative new fitness gear every year. This change in ownership will enable us to take Valeo to the next level.”

‘Johnny V’ sells Monsoon concept, Brookfield location

Milwaukee restaurateur “Johnny V” Vassallo, the owner of Mo’s Restaurants, announced recently that he has sold his Monsoon Wok & Lounge concept and brand and the Monsoon location at 17800 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, to Michael Polaski, who was the initial investor in the restaurant.

The sale is the latest move by Vassallo to streamline his business operations to concentrate on his most successful restaurant concepts: Mo’s A Place for Steaks, located in downtown Milwaukee and downtown Indianapolis; and Mo’s Irish Pub, located in downtown Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. In August, Vassallo closed his Moceans and Mo’s Cucina restaurants in downtown Milwaukee and dropped plans to open a Moceans restaurant in Manhattan.

Mo’s Restaurants still owns and operates the Monsoon in downtown Houston, Texas, and will continue to operate it under a license from Polaski.

Polaski now owns all of the intellectual property for the Monsoon Wok & Lounge concept, Vassallo said, and is planning to open additional locations in the Midwest.

“That’s why he bought it,” Vassallo said. “He really likes the concept. He wanted to buy it so he could do more.”

Polaski also owns Mi-key’s a restaurant at 811 N. Jefferson St. in downtown Milwaukee. That location was the original home of Monsoon.

Baird fund acquires Seattle company

Baird Capital Partners (BCP), the U.S.-based buyout fund of Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s Baird Private Equity business, announced it has acquired Seattle-based MedData.

MedData, a premier medical billing, coding and data management company, has provided services exclusively to hospital emergency departments nationwide since 1980.

As a part of the transaction, BCP appointed Douglas Thompson as MedData’s new chief executive officer. Thompson has a 15-year track record of success in the billing and payment processing industry. He previously served as CEO of Open-c Solutions (billing and customer care), was president of NWP Services (billing and collections), was CEO of Avolent (electronic billing presentment and payment) and was president of DST Output’s Electronic Commerce division (billing).

Richard Pugh, founder and retiring CEO of MedData, will remain a significant shareholder and active member of MedData’s board of directors.

BCP partner Randy Mehl said, “Mr. Thompson’s leadership and experience, complemented by BCP’s financial resources and deep expertise in health care and payment processing, should provide the ideal platform for the next phase of growth for MedData.”

Canadian company acquires J.C. Licht stores

Benjamin Moore & Co. Ltd. recently announced the sale of its four J.C. Licht stores in the Milwaukee area to an independent buyer, Appleby Decor Centre of Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

“We’re excited to introduce to Milwaukee and our customers a new concept that is specific to providing home consulting and in-store design services, while adding more breadth and depth of product lines,” said Yasin Andani, managing director of Benjamin Moore Appleby Decor Centres. “Each store offers a full spectrum of home décor options, and personalized service to make the home decorating experience more convenient and enjoyable.”

In 2004, Andani and his family business purchased Appleby Paint, a Benjamin Moore dealer in Burlington. He acquired his second Burlington location in January 2006 and opened his third store in Milton, Ontario, in May 2007.

“After researching this opportunity in Milwaukee and considering the purchase, I was impressed with the community and the local brand recognition of J.C. Licht within the home decorating and paint industry,” Andani said. “This is an opportunity to maximize my cross-border operation experience at the store level and bring future success to Benjamin Moore’s world-class products.”

The four local Benjamin Moore Appleby Decor Centres are located at 17800 Bluemound Road in Brookfield; 208 W. Silver Spring Drive in Glendale; 7221 S. 76th Street in Franklin; and 420 S. First Street in Milwaukee. 
New displays, lighting, and other visual elements have been installed throughout each store, in addition to new signage and showroom reconfigurations.

The renovation of the Appleby Decor Centre on First Street in Milwaukee into a Benjamin Moore Signature store will be complete by year’s end. 

West Bend resort sold

Timmer’s Resort on Big Cedar Lake has been sold to George Prescott, a West Bend businessman and philanthropist, for nearly $1.8 million.

The 6.9-acre property in the town of West Bend in Washington County is located on the east side of the 1,000-acre lake. The restaurant and eight cabins, used previously as part of a summer resort, had been on the market since December 2005.

Previous owner Jack Timmer was initially asking $3.5 million for the property. Timmer said he completed the transaction with Prescott within seven days last week.

Timmer said he had larger offers on the table but preferred Prescott’s offer because “it was a ‘clean deal’ with no financing.”

Prescott issued a written statement about the transaction, saying he appreciated the history of the property, which had been in the Timmer family since 1864.

“Timmer’s is the only resort left of the original hotels and lodges on Big Cedar Lake,” said Prescott, adding that he feared “some other buyer might not appreciate the lake and its history.”
Prescott said he would work to preserve the restaurant, and small improvements will be made in the near future.

Even with the pending sale, Timmer’s restaurant has remained open for business. The restaurant is operated by Meredith Imekus.

The sale of the property was completed by Terri Fredrich of First Weber and Prescott’s GP Management Services.

Prescott is the former owner of Prescott’s Supermarkets. Three years ago, the Prescott family made a $2.1 million donation to fund research into Parkinson’s disease. Prescott also recently finished building a new multimillion dollar home on Big Cedar Lake, which is near the Timmer’s property.

Milwaukee senior care franchise has new owners

The Home Instead Senior Care franchise in Milwaukee is under new ownership.

The franchise, which provides professional non-medical, in-home services to seniors in the Milwaukee area, has been sold to Melody and Herb Beighley by the previous owners, Jenny and Steve Rayl.

“We’ll continue to deliver high-quality, personalized, in-home care, giving older adults a chance to enjoy life in their own homes,” said Herb Beighley, Home Instead Senior Care, with a worldwide network of more than 750 independently owned and operated franchises.

The company’s caregivers provide companionship services and help clients maintain their independence by assisting them with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, laundry, shopping, light housekeeping, driving and incidental transportation.

“Our services are flexible and designed for practically any living arrangement where an older adult simply needs human interaction or help with non-medical, day-to-day activities,” Beighley said. “We’re available from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day depending on our clients’ needs.”

Management team buys out Stoughton plant

Cummins Inc. announced it has reached an agreement to sell Universal Silencer Inc. (USI) of Stoughton, Wis., to the Stirling Group, a new company led by current USI general manager Randy Eppli.

The Stirling Group includes other key members of Universal Silencer’s management team.
Universal Silencer, currently part of the Cummins Filtration business, provides unique solutions in industrial noise control. Universal Silencer employs 230 people.

“The transition of ownership to the Stirling Group ensures a sale to people who have a vested interest in USI. They are in the best position to grow the business,” said Pamela Carter, president of Cummins Filtration.

“We believe this is a very good day for the future of the Universal Silencer business, customers and employees,” said Eppli. “USI has a strong foundation in acoustics, filtration and emission control solutions for our customers, and our new investors are very supportive of investing in this foundation for the long-term growth of the business.”

USI provides custom-engineered solutions to noise and emissions issues for industrial applications of large diesel and turbine engines, compressors, blowers and other air movement equipment.

The transition process has begun, and the sale expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2007. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Cummins Inc. operates a plant in Oak Creek.

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