Dealmakers in Minnesota and nationally are heading for what should be the best year of capital raising and corporate mergers since the Great Recession. A few recent deals:
• Tonka Bay Equity Partners last week sold St. Paul-based Apex Information Technologies to larger Westview Capital of Boston. Tonka Bay, which oversaw a boost in business since 2007 when it invested in the health care electronic payment systems, said Apex’s sales have nearly doubled over the past four years to $50 million and employment has grown from 45 to 95. The price was not disclosed.
• St. Cloud-based GNP, owner of 1,700-employee Gold’n Plump chicken, plans to sell for an undisclosed sum to a big Illinois hog producer.
• Cardiovascular Systems, which just got federal approval for an innovative, economical vascular disease procedure, has raised nearly $75 million in a common-stock offering.
• Private equity shop Goldner Hawn Johnson of Minneapolis sold its Allen Edmonds shoe manufacturer of Wisconsin for something approaching $200 million to a larger owner, in what has been a great turnaround under Minneapolis-based leadership since the Great Recession.
“Private equity activity continues to trend higher on an annual basis since the lowest point of the recession,” said Steve Judge, a Minnesota boy who heads the Private Equity Growth Capital Council in Washington, D.C., in a recent e-mail response. “The private equity exit environment continues to be strong, which means capital is distributed back to investors, such as pensions, charitable foundations and university endowments, who rely on private equity returns to fulfill their social missions.”
Dan Tiemann of KPMG’s Transactions & Restructuring Group predicts a good 2014 thanks to “significant cash on corporate balance sheets, more confidence in the overall economy. … Expanding core business functions through acquisitions is an appealing strategy.”
Many private equity and investment banking partners on Wall Street and in the Twin Cities are heading for six- and seven-figure bonuses early next year.
Minnesota volunteer shocked by Philippines devastation
Retired businessman Art Otto of Minneapolis is a key volunteer in the hurricane-devastated Tacloban area of the Philippines. He is working with the American Refugee Committee, the Minneapolis-based humanitarian aid agency that works with refugees globally to recover and build anew.
Otto is working on a “cash-for-work” program that employs people to clean neighborhoods, cut and remove fallen trees, do construction and distribute household items.
“It is incredibly rewarding work as every small effort and achievement is warmly received,” Otto said in an e-mail message. “I have been to Honduras right after Hurricane Mitch, spent significant time in Sri Lanka after the tsunami, and spent several weeks in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. None of those experiences have prepared me for the extreme devastation I have seen in and around Tacloban. In some neighborhoods, not a house has been left standing. The area of devastation extends for miles and miles radiating out from Tacloban.
“The resilience of the people of the Philippines is unbelievable. Men and women come to tears when they show me their destroyed homes. When talking with them a bit more, they begin to discuss rebuilding and soon are smiling and … showing interest in me rather than in their own dire condition. The kids seem to be bounce back quickly, laughing and playing among the unsafe rubble. They are incredibly curious about this old guy walking through their neighborhoods. They never fail to smile, shake hands or ‘high-five’ me.”
For more information, go to www.arcrelief.org.
• In a recent interview about whether higher taxes on the wealthy will drive affluent Minnesotans to low-tax states such as Texas, Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans said he’s battling a false impression among some tax lawyers — specifically that charitable giving to Minnesota causes from those seeking to establish residency in other states is one of the 26 tests Minnesota uses to determine state residency. Frans said charitable giving into Minnesota is not an indication of Minnesota residency. The tests include primary residence, voter registration, location of employment, jurisdiction of professional licenses and motor vehicle licenses. More information: www.revenue.state.mn.us/individuals. Last week’s tax column is at: www.startribune.com/business/234843991.
The law firm of Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi last week donated $500,000 to the University of Minnesota Law School to create and endow a fund to recruit and retain faculty members. The gift is the latest in the law school’s “Generations” fundraising campaign and brings to $60 million the amount raised so far. The school’s goal is $70 million. The Minneapolis firm Leonard Street and Deinard also contributed $500,000 to the campaign. The largest donation to date is $9 million from the Robina Foundation, an organization that was created by James Binger, the late Honeywell executive.
• The Robins firm and two partners, Kathleen Flynn Peterson and Martin Lueck, also contributed $1.125 million to William Mitchell College of Law, the school’s largest gift from a law firm in its history. The funds are to be used to endow two faculty positions and fund additional scholarships for women.