Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers & Acquisitions

Wipfli to merge with Eide Bailly
Hewins Financial Advisors LLC and its affiliate, Wipfli Hewins Investment Advisors LLC, announced that their Wauwatosa-based affiliated accounting partner, Wipfli LLP, is merging with Eide Bailly, a national CPA firm based in Fargo, N.D.
The new firm will be known as EB Wipfli LLP, pending regulatory and final partner approval. The merger is expected to be finalized on June 1, 2012.
The company’s corporate headquarters is “likely going to be (located) in Minneapolis,” said Wipfli spokeswoman Jennifer Hacker Olsen. However, the merger will have no impact on employment at the Wauwatosa office, she said.
The Wipfli/Eide Bailly merger will double the firm in size and number of office locations and provide a consistently strong presence of talented and skilled professionals in 12 states.
EB Wipfli will become one of the 15 largest accounting firms in the nation. The new firm will have more than $314 million in combined revenue, serve more than 70,000 clients with 301 partners and operate 41 offices across the west-central United States and two offices in India.
After the merger, Hewins expects to serve more than 800 clients with nearly $3 billion in assets.
"With clients’ trusted advisors working as a team, this cohesive approach of coordinating tax, personal planning, estate planning and investment management helps our clients reach their financial goals and do so with peace of mind, even in these difficult times," says Roger Hewins, president and founder of Hewins.
Hewins currently has consultants in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Oregon and Northern California, and plans to expand across the United States with advisors from Eide Bailly.
In a joint statement, Jerry Topp, managing partner and CEO of Eide Bailly, and Rick Dreher, managing partner and CEO of Wipfli, said, “Together, our firms will have the depth of resources necessary to help our clients meet their future challenges and leverage future opportunities. We are excited about what this merger will mean for our clients our associates and our partners.”
Topp, who will serve as chairman of the merged firm, added, “We are proud to join forces with a firm of similar size, scope, culture and service philosophy. Eide Bailly and Wipfli are both committed to offering our clients top-quality service and customized solutions to help them thrive, and to providing our staff with a positive culture and exciting career opportunities.”
Dreher, who will serve as the managing partner and CEO of the merged firm, said, “We have forged mutual respect and a strong relationship with Eide Bailly over the years, and feel this is an outstanding opportunity to combine our collective talents and strengths to enhance the value we bring to our clients, associates and the communities we serve.”

Marcus family acquires Verlo Mattress Factory Stores

The Marcus family, owner of Marcus Investments LLC and a controlling stakeholder in The Marcus Corp. of Milwaukee, announced its acquisition of Fort Atkinson-based Verlo Mattress Family Stores, the nation’s only franchisee model in the $8 billion annual sleep specialty industry.
The purchase builds on the mission of Marcus Investments to acquire, steward and grow the legacies of successful entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses.
“Marcus Investments has actively sought investment opportunities with successful organizations that share a passion for their businesses and a commitment to superior customer service,” said David Marcus, president of Marcus Investments.
The announcement comes four months after Marcus Investments acquired the Southeastern Wisconsin Verlo Mattress Factory Store franchises.
The new Verlo Mattress Factory headquarters will be based in Milwaukee, with Chris Nolte as chief executive officer, Thomas Cass as company president and Scott Baitinger as chief marketing officer.

Chicago investors acquire Great Lakes Packaging Corp.
Chicago-based Arbor Investments has acquired Great Lakes Packaging Corp. a Germantown-based producer of value-added corrugated packaging and display products.
Great Lakes Packaging will join a packaging platform that includes Midland Packaging & Display of Franksville, Wis., with a design and warehouse center in Lemont, Ill.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Great Lakes Packaging serves a wide range of market segments in the Midwest and throughout North America and operates affiliate locations in Madison and Chicago. The company has 125 employees.
“Great Lakes Packaging has an outstanding reputation in the industry for innovation and customer service.” said Sieg Buck, operating partner at Arbor Investments and CEO of Arbor’s packaging platform. “Great Lakes’ management and employees have created an extremely well run business, and our complimentary product offerings and enhanced manufacturing capabilities will enable both companies to provide greater service to their customers.”
Buck all Great Lakes Packaging employees will be retained.
“Things will really remain business as usual and we’ll continue to operate both facilities,” he said. “Our goal is to add to both companies and grow throughout this coming year.”
Glen Arnold, former owner and chairman of Great Lakes Packaging, said, “Arbor is an outstanding fit for Great Lakes, as their knowledge and experience in the packaging and display industry will provide significant value to the company and help drive continued growth.”
“Becoming a part of this packaging platform will add tremendous value to the company going forward,” said Jim Nelson, president of Great Lakes Packaging. “We’re excited to begin working with Midland Packaging & Display, which has a reputation of delivering great value and outstanding packaging solutions to customers.”

Mason Wells acquires Texas firm

Milwaukee-based Mason Wells announced it has closed on the acquisition of Eddy Packing Co. of Yoakum, Texas.
The business will be owned by Mason Wells, management and other co-investors.
Eddy is a broadly diversified, premier processor of beef, pork and poultry products. The company offers a line of fully cooked, marinated, cured, fresh and frozen meat products. Eddy offers private label products to major retailers and foodservice distributors nationally.
“Mason Wells is pleased to be partnering with Eddy Packing to continue building upon its success, while expanding its market reach and developing new products,” said Greg Myers, managing director of Mason Wells. “Eddy has a dedicated management team and workforce, and a culture devoted to serving its customers.”
Ronald Beeman has owned Eddy since 1998 and will continue as an investor and member of the board of directors of the company. Scott McNair, a food industry executive with broad experience, including executive positions at Schwan’s, Tyson and ConAgra, has joined the company as chief executive officer.
“We are excited about our new partnership with Mason Wells and believe its experience in supporting growth-oriented businesses by bringing additional resources to the table will benefit Eddy’s customers, suppliers and employees, and enable us to grow on a national level.” said Beeman.
Co-investors included McNair, Akoya Capital, Hancock Capital Partners and the former owners of Eddy. Senior financing for the transaction was provided by BMO Capital Markets, Zions Bank and Associated Bank. Mezzanine financing was provided by Hancock Capital Partners.  
Mason Wells is a leading private equity firm that manages more than $800 million of capital through the Mason Wells Buyout Funds. Since 1982, Mason Wells has closed more than 80 transactions through the Mason Wells Buyout Funds and its predecessor funds. Mason Wells focuses its investments in the Packaging and Packaged Goods, Engineered Products & Services and Outsourced Business Services industries.

Shopko and Pamida to merge

Shopko Stores and Pamida announced they will merge to create one of the largest U.S. retailers focused on serving smaller and rural communities.
The merged company will be headquartered in Green Bay.
The combined entity will have nearly 350 locations in 22 states and plans for new store growth in the second half of 2012 and beyond.
With annual revenues of $2 billion, Green Bay.-based Shopko operates 149 stores in 13 states located throughout the Midwest, Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions.
Omaha, Neb.-based Pamida operates 193 stores in 17 states, primarily in the Mountain, North Central and Midwest regions, and has revenues of approximately $1 billion.
Pamida and Shopko are highly complementary in terms of locations and communities served.
The combined company will use the Shopko name and be led by Shopko president, chairman and CEO W. Paul Jones. Pamida president and CEO John Harlow will serve on the leadership team and help direct the integration process.
There will be no change to Shopko’s stores, and approximately $80 million will be invested over the next 12 months in the conversion of most of Pamida’s locations to the Shopko Hometown store concept and brand.
"Merging Pamida and Shopko is a great move for our businesses and our customers given our complementary strengths, store networks and consumer-centric retail models," said Jones. "The Shopko Hometown store format, featuring our unique merchandising strategy and improved store design, is an ideal fit for the smaller communities that Pamida serves with its exceptional service and community-minded approach. We intend to be the leader in this category by combining the best of Shopko and Pamida in our aggressive new store growth plans."
The Shopko Hometown retail format, developed over the past three years to augment Shopko’s larger store model, offers a differentiated and financially successful merchandising strategy. Shopko Hometown combines pharmacy services with a broad and dynamic offering of strong national brands and high-value private label brands of apparel, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items, and lawn and garden products – all in attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store formats that range from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet.
Over the past two years, Shopko has purchased seven stores from Pamida and successfully transitioned them to the Shopko Hometown format. These locations have delivered an improved customer experience and have seen a significant increase in store traffic, sales and profitability, affirming the potential of the merger.
Once Pamida’s chain-wide conversions are complete, the company plans to accelerate the addition of new Shopko Hometown stores in the second half of 2012 and into 2013.
Both companies are owned by affiliates of Sun Capital Partners Inc., a leading private investment firm focused on leverage buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies.
"This is an exciting move for Pamida, and the Shopko Hometown format will offer our customers an even better retail experience and a new and differentiated product offering that is not currently available in the smaller communities we serve," said Harlow. "Pamida’s great associates, store locations, focus on personalized service, and commitment to giving back in our local communities are all ideal complements to Shopko."
Financial details of the merger, which is expected to close in mid-February, were not disclosed.

Badger Meter to acquire Racine Federated

Milwaukee-based Badger Meter Inc. announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Racine Federated Inc. and its subsidiary in Thetford, England, for approximately $57 million in cash.
Racine Federated manufactures and markets flow meters for the water industry, as well as various industrial metering and specialty products. Combined sales for the Racine company are estimated to be approximately $43 million in 2011.
According to Richard Meeusen, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Badger Meter, the acquisition of Racine Federated gives Badger Meter several new flow measurement technologies, strong brands, a robust distribution channel and skilled employees.
"Building on our acquisitions of Cox Flow Measurement in 2010 and Remag in early 2011, the acquisition of Racine Federated will significantly expand Badger Meter’s global flow measurement business. It gives us a broader and deeper product line and an established customer base. It also provides opportunities for future growth and international expansion," Meeusen said. "Racine Federated offers its customers a wide range of flow measurement products. With approximately 40 percent of its business in water-related markets and 60 percent in markets including industrial, oil and gas, municipal and energy management, Racine Federated is an excellent addition to Badger Meter. The company has an outstanding reputation in the industry, a strong management team and an experienced workforce.”
John Erskine Jr., chairman of Racine Federated, said, "The combination of Racine Federated and Badger Meter will bring many benefits to our customers, including a broader range of flow measurement technologies, products and capabilities. We look forward to continuing to grow the business as part of Badger Meter."
Racine Federated employs approximately 120 workers at its facility in Racine. The Racine Federated management team will remain with the company.
Meeusen said the acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings during the first full year of ownership. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012, subject to customary closing conditions.
Racine Federated is a private company founded in 1970. The company manufactures turbine, variable area, hydraulic testing, differential pressure, vortex shedding and ultrasonic flow measurement products under the trade names Blancett, Dynasonics, Flo-Tech, Hedland, Preso and Racine Vortex. The company also manufactures Wyco brand hydraulic concrete vibrators for the construction and civic infrastructure industries.
Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. served as the exclusive financial advisor to Badger Meter on the transaction.

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