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M&A Award Profiles (46)

While Bloem LLC had been hunting for in-house production capacity that would allow it to grow, the company found its solution in an unlikely place: an unsolicited email from one of its largest competitors.

Buying or selling a business or putting together a major deal is not the time to get cheap.

A successful acquisition comes down to much more than just making the numbers work. While an acquisition surely must make financial and business sense, buyers and sellers need to make sure they put enough consideration into the cultural fit as well, according to winners and finalists in the 2015 MiBiz M&A Deals and Dealmakers of the Year Awards.

As Chemical Financial Corp. pursued an acquisition strategy in 2014 and 2015, attorney Jeff Ott led the bank’s legal team that put together each deal. A partner and M&A attorney with the Grand Rapids office of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, Ott served as the Midland-based Chemical Financial’s legal counsel for three deals. They included the $121 million cash acquisition of Northwestern Bancorp Inc. in Traverse City in October 2014, the $27.2 stock deal for Monarch Community Bank in Coldwater in April 2015, and the $187.4 million purchase of Lake Michigan Financial Corp. in May of this year.

Tracy Larsen has a front-row seat to the current red-hot global mergers and acquisition market. The Grand Rapids-based managing partner at the Michigan office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP advised clients on 32 potential transactions in the last year, of which approximately 20 resulted in a completed deal.

Given tremendous growth in the $19.6 billion craft beer industry, Mike Stevens knew there would be an outpouring of interest from strategic and financial buyers in Founders Brewing Co., the Grand Rapids-based brewery he and Dave Engbers founded in 1997.

Acrisure has been one of the most prolific acquirers in West Michigan over the last few years, pursuing an aggressive acquisition strategy that in 2015 has it on pace to close an average of one deal per week.

Like many startups, Grand Rapids-based Modustri LLC began as an idea on the back of a napkin. Modustri, which officially spun out of Agent X in 2014, saw a market for digital diagnostic tools that would efficiently track the integrity of high-wear components and minimize downtime by providing real-time data to heavy equipment operators.

One of the top deals in West Michigan last year came about when Chuck Schipper decided to take a look at the potential sale of four Oak Crest Communities of Michigan senior living campuses after more than 35 years of family ownership.

To expand its portfolio of automotive auction companies in the Midwest, South Carolina-based XLerate Group set its sights on one of the most well-respected competitors in its industry. The problem for Xlerate: It wasn't for sale.

Huizenga Group CEO Steve Klotz faced a dilemma with JR Automation Technologies LLC. After more than quadrupling the revenue of the Holland-based manufacturer of custom automation equipment over the last five years, Huizenga Group knew it could continue to invest in the portfolio company and further grow the operation.

David Ramaker always had great respect for Lake Michigan Financial Corp. The Midland-based Chemical Financial Corp., where Ramaker serves as chairman, president and CEO, even put money into the Holland-based Lake Michigan Financial through a 2007 debt offering.

When news broke in March that Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla Motors Inc. had acquired the assets of Riviera Tool Co. in Grand Rapids, it caught industry insiders and other automotive suppliers in West Michigan by surprise.

When New Horizons Great Lakes Holding Corp. acquired an under-performing I.T. and computer training franchise in a desirable market, the company made a bet that it could turn around the business and seize a transformational opportunity to grow.

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