The MiBiz M&A Deals & Dealmakers Awards are back for their 8th installment to highlight best practices and excellence in what can only be described as one of the most atypical deal environments of all time.
As in most other areas of business, the COVID-19 pandemic upended long-standing norms that had driven M&A transactions and dealmakers for decades. All of a sudden, buyers and sellers could no longer meet in person.
Perhaps most notably, the due diligence process — that peek under the hood of a company to ensure that it matches the seller’s description and that it doesn’t pose any undue risk for the buyer — largely went virtual as well, particularly in the case of international deals.
However, the old adage seemingly proved correct: Necessity is the mother of all invention, and dealmakers across West Michigan got creative to keep deals alive and get them across the finish line. Whether some of these new practices stick around for the long term remains to be seen, but these companies’ resourcefulness and entrepreneurial thinking are undeniable.
The panel of judges had their pick of interesting, strategic and challenging deals as a result of the unique situation, but their selections of the deals profiled on the following pages rose to the top as examples of excellence from which other companies can pluck best practices.
Just as in the M&A environment, COVID-19 also upended our plans for these awards, which were originally scheduled for an event in October. While we’re forgoing that in-person celebration this year, we hope you join us in recognizing these companies and individuals as prime examples of the best that West Michigan has to offer.
This year’s winners are:
- Manufacturing: The Shyft Group completes 2020 with a flurry of M&A activity, corporate changes
- Real estate and development: Tribes leverage similar investment philosophies in McKay Tower transaction
- Banking/Finance: ChoiceOne’s two recent acquisitions provide lessons in virtual dealmaking
- Life Sciences: Tetra Therapeutics’ Shionogi deal builds resources of large pharmaceutical company
- Health Care: Priority Health moves to become more statewide health plan after Total Health merger
- Professional Services: Amid high volume of deals, Acrisure breaks into artificial intelligence
- Retail: Zeigler Automotive keeps M&A momentum by adding luxury brands to portfolio
- Economic Development: ‘Landmark project,’ collaboration brings Perrigo headquarters to Medical Mile
- Technology: ‘Everything kind of fell into place’ with Hannah Lawrence’s Foxbright acquisition
- Nonprofit: Mel Trotter’s recent mergers signal a coming shift in philanthropy
- Judge’s Choice: America’s Bride owner reflects on expanding business, acquiring Bridal Gallery
- Honorable Mention: Auxo Investment Partners manages international complexities in 2020 deal
- Executive: Jeff Lambert oversees strong year for acquisitions, startups
- Adviser: Patience in a pandemic helped guide a busy year for Jeff Ott
- Investor: Charter Capital Partners finds niche with middle-market companies
- Rising Star: Matthew Baas assembles growing number of deals for ‘Main Street’ companies