Mergers & Acquisitions

Atlanta investors buy Batteries Plus

Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, announced it has acquired Batteries Plus, a Hartland-based retailer of batteries and battery accessories.

Batteries Plus generates approximately $200 million in system-wide sales through 292 franchise and 15 company-owned stores in 41 states and Puerto Rico, serving both retail customers and commercial accounts.

The acquisition of Batteries Plus is Roark’s 13th in the franchise sector. Roark’s other franchise businesses include Carvel, Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Seattle’s Best Coffee International (all of which are owned by Focus Brands, a Roark platform company), McAlister’s Deli, Money Mailer and Fast Signs. Roark’s 13 franchise brands collectively have more than 13,000 points of distribution, 4,000 locations, 2,000 franchisees, and $2.9 billion in system-wide revenues in 50 US states and 33 countries.

“Batteries Plus is the market leader and category creator in the strong and growing batteries market,” said Neal Aronson, founder and managing partner of Roark Capital. “The management team, led by CEO Russ Reynolds and COO Tom O’Hare, has done an outstanding job of building the company’s brand, infrastructure and franchise base. We are very excited to partner with this outstanding team.”

Reynolds, who is investing alongside Roark in the transaction, will continue to lead the company as CEO.

“I’m very happy about Batteries Plus joining the Roark family of franchise brands,” said Reynolds, who was the 2005 winner of the Small Business Times Regional Spirit Award.  “Roark’s expertise and relationships in the franchise sector will be extraordinarily valuable to us as we execute Batteries Plus’ growth plan. Their ability to help refine best practices and identify opportunities for improvement in franchise businesses is second to none.”

Alan Epstein, chairman of Batteries Plus, said, “My family and I are very pleased that our legacy will be carried forward by Roark and the current management team. Roark has the experience, integrity and track record to sustain and grow Batteries Plus, and I am confident that our customers, employees, and franchisees will all benefit greatly from Roark’s stewardship.”

Fiserv to sell health care businesses for $775 million in cash

Fiserv Inc., a Brookfield-based provider of information technology services to the financial and insurance industries worldwide, has signed a definitive agreement to sell substantially all of its health care businesses to UnitedHealthcare, a division of Minneapolis-based United Health Group, for $775 million in cash.

UnitedHealthcare is one of America’s largest health care companies.

The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of 2007 or in the first quarter of 2008, subject to required regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. 

The transaction includes: Fiserv Health Plan Administration, the nation’s largest third-party administrator (TPA) of self-funded health plans; Fiserv Health Plan Management, an outsourcing service for mid-sized health plans and health care payer organizations; Innoviant, a prescription benefits administrator; Innoviant Pharmacy, a prescription mail-order service; Avidyn Health, a care management company; and four other components of Fiserv Health’s ancillary businesses.

Fiserv will retain its workers’ compensation services organization, which includes the recently announced WorkingRx acquisition. The company will also retain its CareGain Inc. technology business, which is used to intermediate health banking solutions. Both of these businesses will remain in the insurance segment.
“This combination will allow Fiserv Health clients to benefit from the wide range of capabilities within UnitedHealth Group, and create more opportunities for our Health group employees,” said Jeffery Yabuki, president and chief executive officer of Fiserv. “Now, Fiserv will be completely focused on expanding its technology leadership position across the financial services landscape.”

Fiserv will use the cash from the sale to pay down its debt, Lori Stafford, assistant vice president of external communications, told SBT.

The Wisconsin operations of Fiserv Health will become part of UnitedHealthcare, which plans to retain all of the Fiserv Health employees and locations, Stafford said.
Yabuki will be one of the featured CEO panelists at the Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast to be presented by SBT on Thursday, Jan. 24.


New owners take over West Allis florist shop

Earth, Wind & Flower has purchased Cornerstone Florist, a West Allis business based 6000 W. Lincoln Ave.
The Cornerstone name will be retained, but the company will be managed by Chris Dobs and Dan Block, who also own Urban Sense Flowers & Green House at 5911 W. Vliet St. in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

In addition to floral services, Cornerstone Florist is also a drop-off site for aur Computer Service (

Earth, Wind & Flower is an affiliate of the aur Enterprises network.

New owners plan to grow Menomonee Falls company

Exhibit Systems Inc., a trade show exhibit company in Menomonee Falls, is under new ownership and planning to expand.

The company is now led by president and chief executive officer Dick Magliocco and Dave Jentz, vice president. They acquired the company from founder David Johnson, who will continue to work for the firm during the transition and will serve as a consultant for the next five years.

The company’s employees will be retained.

Magliocco previously was employed for 28 years as vice president of Best Block Co.

“My full attention is turned to the growth and success of Exhibit Systems. We currently have 10 employees and work with a number of independent people and businesses as strategic partners. We retained all of our employees and anticipate adding staff as the company grows,” Magliocco told SBT this morning. “Our plan is to double the business in five years. We are adding new product offering such as event and seminar planning, custom display manufacturing and design for client’s trade show and point of purchase displays, photography and video production and finally and most importantly, adding new clients to our already good base of loyal customers.”

Jentz said, “It is exciting to acquire a successful business in a location that can provide the base from which to build a wider range of services to new and existing clients.  We are uniquely positioned to be one of the fastest, most agile and flexible exhibit houses in our industry. No project is too small or too large for Exhibit Systems.”

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