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MiBiz Growth Report: March 19, 2018

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, March 18, 2018 06:44pm

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for March 19, 2018.

• M&A: Kalamazoo-based Imperial Beverage Co. will enter the Upper Peninsula market after acquiring the beer distribution business of Bayside Beverage from Highland Park-based Great Lakes Wine & Spirits LLC. The move also consolidates distribution for the MillerCoors family of brands as well as opens a new territory for Imperial, which now has four locations in Michigan, according to President Joe Cekola. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal included an 18,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Ishpeming, Mich. as well as distribution rights for Constellation Brands’ import portfolio, the Boston Beer Co. family of brands and a handful of craft beer brands, including Michigan-based Griffin Claw Brewing Co. and Latitude 42 Brewing Co. Imperial plans to hire roughly 20 employees as a result of the acquisition, including four employees from Bayside. A year ago, Imperial also expanded into spirits as an authorized distributor agent for the state. For Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, the deal follows an August sale of beer distribution rights in Traverse City and Petoskey to Grand Rapids-based Alliance Beverage Distributing LLC.

• M&A: Zeigler Automotive Group of Kalamazoo acquired its first Buick GMC Cadillac store with the purchase of Grossinger Autoplex in Lincolnwood, Ill., north of Chicago. According to a statement, the store is Zeigler’s 24th location, which includes dealerships in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. The family-owned Southwest Michigan dealership group operates 74 franchises at 24 locations in that footprint. Zeigler plans to invest in bringing the 60,000-square-foot store up to General Motors’ brand standards and rebrand it as Zeigler Buick GMC Cadillac. Earlier this year, Zeigler Automotive Group sold a Honda store in Amherst, N.Y. that it acquired in 2013 to Northtown Automotive Cos., according to a report in The Buffalo News. The store was a geographical outlier as Zeigler’s only dealership in the state. Zeigler Automotive ranked 64th nationally with 14,378 new car sales, according to Automotive News data from 2016, the most recent year available. The company generated a little more than $1 billion in revenue that year. 

• M&A: Grand Rapids-based ArtiFlex Manufacturing LLC, a tooling and automation firm, has acquired US Forming Technologies LLC, a boutique die and stamped products engineering firm also based in Grand Rapids. The deal strengthens die engineering and product development capabilities at ArtiFlex, according to a statement. It also bolsters the company’s capabilities to help customers engineer and produce lightweight closure and structural stamped assemblies, ArtiFlex CEO Erin Hoffmann said in a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. US Form Tech specialized in low-volume tooling and equipment and engineering for the defense, automotive and appliance industries. ArtiFlex — a 50-50 joint venture of Grand Rapids-based International Tooling Solutions and a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Worthington Industries Inc. (NYSE: WOR) — employs more than 1,000 people across seven locations in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.

• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Precision Aerospace Corp. and the affiliated Precision Micro Mill LLC of Wayland were acquired by Tribus Aerospace LLC of San Diego, Calif., according to a statement. Founder and President Bill Hoyer will remain with the companies and become a shareholder of Tribus, which was formed in 2017 by Chicago-based Shorehill Private Equity LP. The PE firm provided equity capital for the transactions, the terms of which were not disclosed. Precision Aerospace manufactures hydraulic manifolds, port caps, mounting flanges, housings, rotor parts and assemblies for the aerospace and defense industries. Precision Micro Mill is a captive manufacturer specializing in low-volume parts. Comerica Bank provided financing to Tribus for the acquisitions. 

• Expansion: Muskegon-based KL Outdoor LLC, one of the nation’s largest kayak manufacturers, is looking to hire 70 employees at its West Michigan operations amid higher demand from retailers for its products. The company, which makes the Sun Dolphin and Evoke brands, plans to hire in Muskegon for production and shipping positions at its facilities. Last August, the manufacturer said it would invest $9.2 million to open its global headquarters in Muskegon at 700 Terrace Point Drive, which would create 153 jobs over the next three years. A year ago, the company announced that it had been sold to private equity firm New Water Capital LP of Boca Raton, Fla. and subsequently acquired Montreal-based manufacturer GSC Technologies Corp., a main competitor. 

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