Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for April 30, 2018.
• M&A: New York City-based Standard Media Group LLC, a new investor-backed media company, has entered into a definitive agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. of Hunt Valley, Md. to acquire Grand Rapids-based Fox 17 WXMI and eight other stations around the country. The $441.7 million cash deal would create a new media company affiliated with Standard General LP, an SEC-registered investment adviser that manages capital for public and private pension plans, endowments, foundations, and high net worth individuals. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in conjunction with the Sinclair-Tribune transaction. As MiBiz previously reported, Sinclair is trying to appease government regulators in a bid to finalize its $3.9 billion acquisition of Chicago-based Tribune Media Co., which currently owns Fox 17.
• M&A: Kalamazoo-based contract research organization Kalexsyn Inc. plans to sell to Dipharma Francis S.r.l., a European manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Kalexsyn’s shareholders signed a definitive agreement with the Italy-based Dipharma’s American subsidiary, Dipharma Inc., which will acquire 100 percent of the company. The deal is expected to close within a month. Kalexsyn will maintain operations at existing locations in Kalamazoo. Founders David Zimmermann and Robert Gadwood will continue to lead the company under its new ownership.
• M&A: Grand Rapids-based public relations and investor relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates Inc. has acquired Owen Blicksilver Public Relations Inc. of New York City. Through the acquisition, Lambert Edwards will create a top 10 investor relations, transaction, and financial communications firm. The combined firm will have more than 150 clients. The deal is the fifth acquisition over the years for LE&A, its largest acquisition to date, “and we expect it to be our most impactful,” said CEO and Managing Partner Jeff Lambert. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
• M&A: Betten Baker Auto Group added Alma Chevrolet Buick GMC and Ithaca Chevrolet to its dealership portfolio, which now includes 16 locations. The company expects to retain the employees at both dealerships, for which David Prahl will serve as general manager. The stores had been owned by Tommy Fuerst, according to a statement. For Betten Baker, the acquisitions allow the company to break into the Mid-Michigan market, according to co-owner Chris Baker, who described both stores as “well-performing dealerships.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company now employs more than 650 people across dealerships in Muskegon, Coopersville, Twin Lake, Lowell, Grandville, Big Rapids, Allegan, Ludington and Cadillac.
• Expansion: Nap Ventures Inc., known as NapTags, a manufacturer and engraver of metal and plastic industrial tags, office nameplates, and employee badges, broke ground this week on a new $2 million, 25,000-square-foot plant at 7777 Childsdale Ave. in Plainfield Charter Township. The company, which was “bursting at the seams,” will add capacity with the move from its original site in Belmont. The building is set to be completed in December. NapTags, which employs 17 people, tapped Ada-based Dixon Architecture to design the new facility. Grand Rapids-based First Companies will serve as construction manager.
• Expansion: Architecture and engineering firm Progressive AE Inc. plans to open an office in downtown Holland. Executives at the Grand Rapids-based firm say the company’s growing client roster on the lakeshore makes opening the Holland office “a logical step” for growth. The company counts Holland Energy Park, Holland Hospital and West Michigan Regional Airport as noteworthy lakeshore clients. The downtown Holland office will be located at 3 W. 8th St. and will make for Progressive AE’s fourth office, in addition to its Grand Rapids headquarters and satellite locations in Charlotte, N.C. and Muskegon.
• Expansion: New Holland Brewing Co. LLC plans to open its third brewery and taproom in West Michigan after purchasing a vacant building for $1 at 64 West Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek. The Holland-based brewery, which has a satellite operation in Grand Rapids, will invest more than $1 million to renovate the 18,000-square-foot downtown Battle Creek building, which has sat vacant for more than five years. Economic development group Battle Creek Unlimited selected New Holland after issuing a request for proposals in December 2017 to redevelop three buildings in downtown Battle Creek, according to President and CEO Joe Sobieralski. To sweeten the pot, BCU also added a $200,000 incentive for a new brewery/distillery to open in the city.
• Expansion: BarFly Ventures LLC will open a HopCat location in downtown Holland as part of the $30 million mixed-use development planned by Geenen DeKock Properties LLC. The proposed 6,200-square-foot Holland bar, the brand’s 18th location, will be part of the overall redevelopment set to include a movie theater, retail, apartments and condominiums as well as a 380-space parking deck.