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Friday, 27 April 2012 16:12

West Michigan Deal News: Oliver Products, Wolverine World Wide, Pyramid Scheme

Written by  MiBiz Staff
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A round-up of this week's activity on the West Michigan deal front.  


Milwaukee-based private equity company Mason Wells sold Grand Rapids-based Oliver Products Co. to an affiliate of Berwind Group, a family owned investment firm in Philadelphia. Oliver is a provider of medical device, pharmaceutical and food packaging. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a statement, Oliver CEO Jerry Bennish said Mason Wells’ investments helped align the company, which is “very well positioned” to grow with the new ownership.

Health Care Management of Grand Rapids announced April 23 that it had acquired Applied Technology Methods and Practices, known as ATMP Solutions, a health care technology and compliance consulting group based in Belleville, Mich. In a statement, HCM said the acquisition expands the company’s ability to assist health care providers and businesses in implementing HIPAA-compliant security management practices. HCM is a division of Kraft Business Solutions, also of Grand Rapids.

Joint ventures

Wolverine Worldwide Inc . (NYSE: WWW) announced two joint ventures in April. Wolverine joined forces with Tata International of India to market footwear and apparel in India. Each company will hold a 50 percent stake in the joint venture, which will help Wolverine gain wholesale distribution of its Merrell and Caterpillar brands in India. The Rockford-based company also partnered with Forus SA to form Lifesytle Brands of Colombia to allow the Merrell and Caterpillar brands and Forus’ RKF brand to better reach the Colombian market. Wolverine will own 51 percent of the joint venture and also purchased a 49 percent stake in Forus’ existing Colombian business, Forus SA Colombia, which operates 23 retail locations and sells direct to retailers in that country.

Capital investments

Venture capitalists put $41.3 million into 12 Michigan companies during the first quarter, according to the quarterly MoneyTree report from the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The lone VC recipient in West Michigan during the period was Intervention Insights, which conducts genetic tests on cancer patients to match them with the right drug regimen. The MoneyTree report lists Intervention Insights as receiving $710,000 in the quarter, although CEO Jerry Callahan said the money was from a $7.2 million investment made by a trio of venture firms last July. The first-quarter investments compare with four deals for $24.7 million in the prior fourth quarter of 2011 and seven deals for $3.98 million a year earlier, according to NVCA data.

Three West Michigan companies were among the nine businesses statewide to receive investments from the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, totaling more than $2 million. The local investments went to Axonia Medical of Kalamazoo, which is developing technology to rebuild and restore damaged peripheral or central nervous systems using tissue-engineered nerve grafts; Syzygy Biotech of Grand Rapids, which is developing biotech products for DNA amplification used in research; and Grand Rapids-based Varsity News Network, which is developing online high school sports publications.

Ownership change

The Pyramid Scheme, a bar and entertainment venue in Grand Rapids, is now fully owned by the brother and sister team of Tami and Jeff VandenBerg after partner Mark Sellers of BarFly Ventures gave up his stake in the business. Sellers’ decision to give up his ownership stake came on the heels of a several month long process, in which he decided to focus on other projects, Tami VandenBerg told MiBiz. Sellers will stay on as landlord. VandenBerg said the 58 percent share in the business is going to give she and her brother more flexibility. The owners are planning an indie-music festival, T-Rex fest, which will kick off June 16.


Read 1959 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 October 2012 00:34

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