Mergers & Acquisitions

Ladish to acquire California firm

Cudahy-based Ladish Co. announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Chen-Tech Industries Inc. of Irvine, Calif., for approximately $59 million in cash and stock.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2008.

Kerry Woody, president and chief executive officer of Ladish, said, “Chen-Tech, with projected 2008 sales of about $50 million, is a highly regarded manufacturer of jet engine forgings for mutual customers such as General Electric. Chen-Tech’s expertise in forging nickel-based and titanium components for smaller jet engines serving single aisle, regional, and business aircraft is a great complement to Ladish’s expertise in forging larger engine components.”

Chen-Tech has been led by Shannon Ko for more than 15 years. Ko and his team will continue to manage Chen-Tech after the acquisition, Woody said.

“By combining Chen-Tech’s strengths with Ladish’s material technology and global market position, we have laid a foundation to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities. The merger provides Ladish with a broadened product offering and increased market share on mutual aerospace programs. Working together, we believe synergistic savings will further enhance long-term profitability,” Woody said.

Ladish manufactures highly engineered, technically advanced components for the jet engine, aerospace and general industrial markets.

Baird exceeds investment goal for venture capital fund

Baird Venture Partners (BVP), the venture capital group of Baird Private Equity, announced it has raised more than $170 million in committed capital for its third venture fund (BVP III), exceeding its target of $150 million.

Baird Private Equity is the global private equity group affiliated with Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

Institutional investors in the fund include returning investors State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), Lurie Investments, A. O. Smith Retirement Plan, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Marshall & Ilsley Corp., as well as new investors American Family Insurance, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Sentry Insurance, and the State of Illinois Treasurer’s Office of Technology Development Account.

BVP’s success is a testament to the strength of our global private equity platform,” said Paul Carbone, director of Baird Private Equity and BVP managing partner. “We are pleased to have received such strong support from our existing investors as well as many new limited partners.”

To date, BVP III has invested in two companies: LatinVest Investment Company II LLC, an Atlanta-based transaction processing company that provides funds transfer services that allows consumers to wire money to friends and family around the world; and InsideTrack Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of student coaching services to colleges and universities.

Established in 2000, BVP focuses on investing in early- and expansion-stage companies with experienced management teams and innovative, capital-efficient business models.

Some recent exits of the fund include: HireRight Inc.; NimbleGen Inc.; PharMEDium Inc.; and Tomotherapy Inc.

Bannerman is new owner of Brookfield inventory company

Jerry Bannerman is the new owner and president of General Business Services Inc. in Brookfield.

Bannerman previously served as general manager of the company that provides customized inventory reports for grocery stores, specialty food stores, pharmacies, clinics and hospitals.

The company has a history of providing services throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota since it was founded in 1959, but Bannerman said he plans to expand that footprint into Illinois and Missouri.

“We give retailers a competitive edge by providing a service that is objective and accurate. They can easily see which items are top sellers and which have been lost to theft or damage,” Bannerman said.

General Business Services can be especially helpful for smaller hardware and convenience stores that have tight margins, Bannerman said.

“Our staff members have decades of experience and can work with each owner to review the inventory and provide reports that are custom-designed for each location,” he said.

Additional information is available at www.countinv.com.

Beer Capitol acquires Miller Brands

As a fallout from the MillerCoors LLC merger, the beer distribution industry in southeastern Wisconsin is consolidating, with Pewaukee-based Beer Capitol Distributing Inc. acquiring Miller Brands-Milwaukee LLC of Wauwatosa.

Beer Capitol, which sells Pabst and other brands in Milwaukee County, has agreed to buy Miller Brands, which has sold Miller Brewing Co. products throughout Milwaukee County for many years, for an undisclosed amount.

The sale is set close by Oct. 31.

The consolidation will create one distributor for all Miller, Coors, Pabst and the newly relaunched Schlitz products throughout southeastern Wisconsin, with 250 employees and 2,000 sales accounts.

Beer Capitol is owned by Aldo Madrigrano and his family, which also operates W.O.W. Distributing Co. of Sussex and CJW Inc. of Racine.

W.O.W. Distributing sells MillerCoors products in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. CJW Inc. sells MillerCoors products in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.

The acquisition of Miller Brands will bring MillerCoors’ Milwaukee County accounts, including Summerfest, downtown Milwaukee and Miller Park, under the Madrigrano corporate umbrella.

“The joining of these two great companies represents a strategic move that better aligns both organizations with the newly formed Miller-Coors joint venture, building upon each companies’ recognized strengths in delivering exemplary customer service and developing long-standing relationships within local operating communities,” said Aldo Madrigrano, who will serve as chairman of the Beer Capitol after the sale.

Mike Merriman, president of Beer Capitol, will continue in that role, and Dave Neville, currently the vice president of sales for Miller Brands, will lead sales efforts.

“This is a joining of two great organizations and we fully intend to build on the strong consumer loyalty to the Miller brands in Milwaukee County,” Madrigrano said. “This deal gives us long-term continuity and combines the forces of a bigger, better and stronger service organization to serve our customers.”

Miller Brands president Steve Johnson and vice president Mike Gallagher will not be part of the leadership team of the merged company, a Beer Capitol spokeswoman said.

Miller Brands has about 150 employees in Wauwatosa. When asked about the status of those jobs, Beer Capitol spokeswoman Mary Brophy said, “There are no other changes planned at this time.”

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