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Attorneys working in the field of M&A like to say that there’s a story behind every transaction. That notion was on full display at last night’s MiBiz M&A Deals and Dealmakers of the Year Awards held at the Studio D2D in Grand Rapids. A common theme among the winners and finalists was a desire to preserve the culture of a company created by the sellers, even as the firm went through the transaction process.

After growing rapidly and closing dozens of transactions with the backing of private equity, executives and minority shareholders at insurance broker Acrisure LLC are acquiring a majority stake in the company.

Despite relatively flat light vehicle production globally, Gentex Corp. generated double-digit sales growth in its third quarter, continuing a trend the company has maintained since the beginning of the year.

Saginaw-based finance and commercial development firm The Wirt-Rivette Group plans a new residential project near downtown Grand Rapids.

An ongoing saga of volatility in the global retail market has continued to drive down performance at Wolverine World Wide Inc.

For Mark Sellers, the magic number of sorts is $300.

For Tracy Larsen, the work of evaluating and closing deals continues to push ahead even in the face of global tumult and a general sense of economic uncertainty. 

In what he describes as a “good year,” Michael Jones was involved in closing 20 transactions in late 2015 and the first half of 2016 that had a collective value of $1.5 billion. 

Mike VanGessel likes to talk about the “why” behind his company’s decision to invest in the long-neglected west side neighborhood of Grand Rapids.

It’s been a busy year and a half for David DeBoer.

When Service Express Inc. (SEI) sought a buyer in 2015, owners Michael McCullough and Ed tenHaaf were just looking to retire. 

Jim Engen started Netech Corp. 20 years ago with five employees.

Martin Stein always noticed Grand Equipment Co. alongside I-196 when he drove through Hudsonville.

When Tom Fehsenfeld decided to retire from the family business he led for the past 40 years, he found himself in a position familiar to many manufacturers exploring succession options. 

When Remos Lenio and Philip Blanchard set out to acquire their first company under a newly formed firm, the partners knew they had one chance to confirm what they saw as an unexplored market niche. 

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.

Mercantile Bank Corp. grew earnings by nearly 7 percent in the third quarter while recording strong loan growth.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Oct. 17, 2016: 
• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Ranir LLC, a manufacturer of a variety of oral care products, has acquired Toronto-based BrushPoint, a maker of toothbrushes. In the deal, for which terms were not disclosed, Ranir will increase its product offerings and distribution footprint in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The BrushPoint acquisition comes on the heels of a deal in July of this year in which Ranir purchased the Rembrandt teeth-whitening brand from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. Last month, the company also said it had purchased the 200,000-square-foot facility at 4701 East Paris Ave. SE where it had been a tenant for 20 years.

When urban farming entered the mainstream thinking of community and economic developers, many prospective farmers envisioned a quick payday selling their products to high-end restaurants and other retailers. 

While considering buying an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S electric vehicle in 2014, Jim MacInnes had to drive roughly four hours to Windsor, Ontario to give it a test drive.

KALAMAZOO — As nonprofits struggle to navigate changes in overtime regulations, they may be forced to slow the expansion of new programs and services and put a hold on staff increases.

The addition of Spectrum Health gives a statewide coalition of health systems a large West Michigan presence and heightens the potential for it to offer employers a new option for benefits.

The medical campus under construction west of Rockford in northern Kent County follows a move by Spectrum Health to concentrate care across its footprint into one-stop locations. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Facing a dearth of high-amenity space in the downtown Grand Rapids market, commercial real estate stakeholders hope developers can soon begin to add Class A office inventory.

The automotive industry has been very good for West Michigan, in spite of the challenges that it has dished up for component suppliers over the last several decades. 

Editor’s note:
 
After more than 13 years of writing the Auto Focus column for MiBiz, Melissa Anderson plans to retire as a columnist, effective immediately, as she winds down her storied career in automotive analysis and research. In the short term, she and her husband plan to travel in the Southern Hemisphere. “I have enjoyed writing the column and it has been a good long run,” Anderson said. Anderson’s business intelligence on the automotive industry will be missed. “Melissa was our ideal business columnist because she was able to talk with a lot of knowledge about trends in the global automotive industry while also providing a lot of local context, examples and data,” said MiBiz Publisher Brian Edwards. MiBiz will continue its search for a new automotive/manufacturing columnist throughout the coming months.

HOLLAND — As robotic technology continues to improve, manufacturers of automation equipment are finding their customers demand larger, more complex systems.

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has landed on the short list for a potentially large government contract to make the next generation of delivery vehicles for the United States Postal Service. 

With increasing demand for fresh, specialty groceries, Walker-based Meijer Inc. has started to look outside the big box retail format it’s known for, even if the retailer doesn’t like to admit it. 

trio of initiatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. aims to increase the flow of capital to startups and early-stage companies in the state.

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