Mergers and Acquisitions

Clifton Gunderson completes four acquisitions in one week; Zizzo acquires Excite New Media; Illinois firm acquires Sussex mortgage office; Visteon rejects Johnson Controls’ offer

Clifton Gunderson completes four acquisitions in one week

Milwaukee-based Clifton Gunderson closed four acquisitions last week – when it announced its purchase of Humes & Barrington LLP, U.S. Tax Advantage, Stockton Bates and BKD.

The acquisitions gave Clifton Gunderson additional offices in St. Louis, New York, Boston, Chicago and Houston.

Humes & Barrington joins Clifton Gunderson under the regional leadership of managing partner Steve DeBruyn.

"We are excited for the many growth opportunities the merger with Humes & Barrington will provide for our firm, our clients and our future clients," said DeBruyn. "Humes & Barrington is a major player within the St. Louis business community and has earned a solid reputation with its clients for quality and expertise. We are eager to combine these strengths with ours and build for our firm’s future and the future for our clients. This is a great fit for both firms."

All of the 60 partners and employees of Humes & Barrington will remain in the company’s St. Louis offices.

Through the acquisition of U.S. Tax Advantage, Clifton Gunderson will add 14 tax professionals to the firm, including partners Mark Gasbarra and Lester Fuwa.

 “Mark has had significant success in building USTA and has a history of insightful international tax strategies and solutions using methods that complement and translate to our other tax consulting services," said McMasters. "We are eager to leverage his leadership and experience to further strengthen the breadth of tax services we provide to our clients."


Zizzo acquires Excite New Media

Zizzo Group Advertising and PR (ZGA+PR) today announced the acquisition of Excite New Media, a Milwaukee-based strategic web, social media and digital marketing agency.

To reflect the full-service integrated capabilities, the merged company is changing its name to Zizzo Group Marketing + PR + New Media (ZGM+PR+NM). The company’s expertise includes strategic marketing, public relations, media buying, creative services and new media development.

Anne Zizzo will continue as president and chief executive officer of the company. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Today’s marketing climate demands total online and offline integration,” Zizzo said. “This acquisition brings together the best, most seasoned and proven talent in the region and a portfolio of services that are unmatched.”

The combined company has 36 staff members. The Excite New Media staff has moved from their previous offices at 1101 N. Old World Third St. to the Zizzo Group offices at 648 N. Plankinton Ave., Suite 270, in downtown Milwaukee.

“With the breadth of services that we can now provide to our clients, we will be better positioned to ensure our client’s campaigns are cohesive and deliver the greatest results,” said Thomas Chung, senior vice president of interactive and former partner of Excite New Media. “Our clients will continue to benefit from the commitment to excellence and client focus we have always offered.”

Illinois firm acquires Sussex mortgage office

Bloomington, Ill.-based Mortgage Services III, LLC (MSI) is expanding its Home Loan Division into the greater Milwaukee area by acquiring Complete Mortgage Inc. of Sussex. The newly acquired team will be located at 20510 Watertown Court, Waukesha. The Waukesha office will focus on home purchases as well as refinancing current mortgages using conventional, FHA, VA and USDA programs.

Mark Young, president and chief executive officer of Mortgage Services III, said, "I am extremely pleased that John Scaffidi and his staff have joined the MSI team. Complete Mortgage has been a valued Wholesale Lending partner for years and will be a valued asset to the Mortgage Services Home Loan Team."

Visteon rejects Johnson Controls’ offer

Visteon Corp. has announced that its board of directors has rejected an unsolicited offer by Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. to acquire Visteon’s key assets in its interiors and electronics businesses.

“Without risk-adjusting your proposal, our careful analysis demonstrates that your acquisition of selected assets, while excluding certain liabilities, would accelerate other costs and would not significantly enhance recoveries to our creditors or provide recovery for our equity holders,” Visteon said in a letter to Johnson Controls.

Visteon, which is based in Van Buren Township, Mich., also expressed concerns about Johnson Controls’ recent contacts with Visteon’s customers and “aggressive characterizations” of its proposal could damage Visteon’s business and relationships with key customers.

Johnson Controls said that it still hopes to acquire Visteon, following the Michigan company’s announcement.


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