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Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: January 18, 2021

BY Monday, January 18, 2021 12:22pm

Here is the MiBiz growth report for January 18, 2021.

M&A

  • Grand Rapids-based private equity firm Blackford Capital acquired Avon, Mass.-based Aqua-Leisure Industries Inc., a maker of leisure products for water sports and recreation. The 50-year-old company produces swim goggles, pool floats, learn-to-swim and other products that are sold at retailers under a variety of brand names. Aqua-Leisure’s management team remains with the company. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Grand Rapids-based Varnum LLP served as legal adviser in the deal for Blackford, which was also advised by Grant Thornton LLP on financing and tax matters. Chicago-based Rush Street Capital served as debt financing adviser. Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank provided debt financing and New York-based Muzinich & Co. provided debt and equity financing.
  • The assets of Ludington-based Lake Michigan Car Ferry Co., the owner and operator of the historic S.S. Badger car ferry, and related company Pere Marquette Shipping Co., which operates the tug-barge Undaunted-Pere Marquette 41 on the Great Lakes, were acquired on Dec. 30 by Middleburg Heights, Ohio-based Interlake Holding Co., Interlake Holding President Mark Barker said the company is “fully committed” to continuing the S.S. Badger’s cross-lake passenger, car and truck service. The vessel serves as the connection along the U.S. 10 highway in Michigan and Wisconsin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Interlake operates a fleet of nine Great Lakes freighters.
  • Cheboygan-based Hart Medical Equipment LLC acquired McLaren Home Medical Equipment, formerly known as VitalCare in Cheboygan, Gaylord, and Petoskey in Northern Michigan. The deal furthers Hart’s strategic plan to expand geographic coverage and leverage additional scale, the company said in a statement.
  • Ludington-based Quick-Way Inc., a bulk liquid commodities carrier, has acquired most trailer assets from Clare-based Northern Tank LLC, according to a report in Bulk Transporter. The deal adds 10 tank trailers to Quick-Way and allows the company to expand in the Midland area. Quick-Way also has drivers in Kalamazoo, Chicago and Kankakee, Ill., according to the report. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp. (NYSE: SYK) acquired Dania Beach, Fla.-based OrthoSensor Inc., a producer of sensor technology for musculoskeletal care and total joint replacement. In announcing the acquisition, Stryker said OrthoSensor’s technology advancement when “coupled with expanded data analytics and increasing computational power, will strengthen the foundation of Stryker’s digital ecosystem.” Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
  • Performance Systematix Inc., a Grand Rapids-based food packaging company, has been acquired by Naperville, Ill.-based Selig Group, a portfolio company of privately held Chicago-based holding company CC Industries Inc. Performance Systematix manufactures a range of container and packaging venting products for global customers, which complements Selig’s capabilities as a flexible packaging manufacturer, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Performance Systematix will become a subsidiary of Selig and continue to operate from its location on 33rd Street SE in Grand Rapids. Wheaton, Ill.-based Huck Bouma PC served as legal counsel to Performance Systematix, which was advised by investment banking firm Stout Risius Ross LLC. Chicago-based Gould & Ratner LLP advised Selig and CC Industries on the deal.
  • Traverse City-based High Street Insurance Partners Inc. acquired Beltsville, Md.-based Day Deadrick & Marshall Inc. and Oregon City, Ore.-based Premier Northwest Insurance. Shareholders of both companies remain active with High Street. Terms of the deals were undisclosed. Since forming in 2018 with the financial backing of Detroit-based private equity firm Huron Capital, High Street has closed on 17 acquisitions. 
  • Lansing-based food and animal safety products manufacturer Neogen Corp. (Nasdaq: NEOG) acquired Bray, Ireland-based Megazyme Ltd., a supplier of analytical products deployed in food and beverage quality control laboratories. Megazyme’s business complements Neogen’s existing food diagnostics products and helps expand the Michigan firm’s slate of solutions it provides to the industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Rosemont, Ill.-based private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital L.P. acquired Greer, S.C.-based Huntington Foam LLC in late December, according to a statement. Huntington Foam, a maker of engineered foam products for the appliance, cold chain, automotive and building products industries, operates a plant at 1323 Moore Drive in Greenville. The company will become part of Wynnchurch portfolio company Drew Foam Companies Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Tallmadge Township-based businesses The Bolt Bin, West Michigan Technical Supply and Clear Vision Inspection have been acquired by brothers Jordan Vander Kolk and Travis Vander Kolk. Tim Irwin, the former owner of the Ottawa County businesses that serve as a one-stop-shop in the fasteners industry, was advised on the deal by Grand Rapids-based M&A firm Calder Capital LLC. Terms of the deal, which closed on Dec. 31, were not disclosed.
  • Grand Rapids-based office technology solutions provider Applied Imaging has acquired Lasers Resource Inc., a Grand Rapids-based managed print services specialist, in a deal that closed Dec. 1, 2020. The company will rebrand all  Lasers Resource locations as Applied Imaging, and plans to keep on all employees. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Additionally, Applied Imaging’s NetSmart Plus division acquired Holland-based Blackport Solutions LLC in a deal that closed Dec. 14. The deal expands NetSmart Plus’ services to include Voice over IP (VoIP) systems and carrier services under the Blackport Solutions brand.

Expansion

  • Novi-based The Shyft Group Inc. (Nasdaq: SHYF) plans to fill hundreds of new jobs at its manufacturing campus in Charlotte to meet growing commercial fleet and speciality vehicle needs. Formerly known as Spartan Motors, the corporation cited rising fleet vehicle demand in 2021 for the hiring frenzy. The Shyft Group operates a variety of commercial vehicle brands, including Utilimaster, Royal Truck Body, DuraMag, Strobes-R-Us, Spartan RV Chassis and Builtmore Contract Manufacturing. The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) teamed with various economic development partners for recruiting and job training for The Shyft Group, which will nearly triple its workforce in the region with the expansion. 
  • Gage Cannabis Co. opened a medical cannabis dispensary in Grand Rapids this month, marking its sixth retail store in Michigan. The dispensary, located at 3075 Peregrine Drive NE next to Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids, launched with medical sales only, but the company is pursuing recreational sales at the location. Gage operates five retail locations in Adrian, Ferndale, Lansing and Traverse City, as well as a Cookies store in Detroit. The company plans to open more than 20 locations in Michigan by the end of 2021. Gage also has three cultivation facilities in Warren, Harrison and Monitor townships. 
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