This is the MiBiz growth report for February 16, 2020.
Locally owned and operated businesses are a unique asset to West Michigan’s economy, but that dynamic is changing as more owners opt to sell to private equity firms that have increasingly targeted the region for deals.
MUSKEGON — As angel investing maintains a growth trajectory in Michigan, Muskegon Angels LLC pivoted this year to keep investments close to home. The Muskegon angel group now looks to invest in local companies that need capital or financing. Muskegon Angels will continue to invest in startups, as long they’re based in Muskegon or in a neighboring county.
Matt Emery felt ready to move on from the automotive industry after 15 years, so last fall he began looking around for a business to buy. After considering a contract manufacturer, machine shops, an HVAC business and others, Emery found the “perfect fit” in Think Chromatic LLC, a Comstock Park-based small company that does 3-D rendering and animation.
A small private equity firm started in Southern Michigan plans to invest in a niche area most investors ignore. In targeting small manufacturers in small towns and other rural markets across the state, Parma-based Fresh Water Ventures Fund LP seeks to acquire small businesses and maintain operations in their hometowns.
M&A professionals expect the dealmaking market to remain healthy in 2019. That’s one of the conclusions from a panel of executives MiBiz assembled to talk about West Michigan’s mergers and acquisitions sector.
One West Michigan adviser hopes to channel the cultural shift toward localism into corporate succession planning by helping business owners preserve local ownership of their companies after an exit.
Despite strong business optimism and continued economic expansion, bankers say they still see their West Michigan business clients taking a cautious approach to debt.
Larry Andrus began thinking about his eventual exit from Trivalent Group Inc. almost from the beginning.