J2 principals no stranger to growth by deals

The major players behind J2 Acquisition Ltd., the special purpose acquisition corporation that last week announced it was acquiring New Brighton-based APi Group, are familiar with APi Group’s growth-through-acquisition strategy.

It was a strategy that the J2’s founders Martin Franklin, James Lillie and Ian Asken used to great effect in building the consumer-products company Jarden Corp.

What became known as Jarden Corp. was initially spun out of the Ball Corp. in 2001. With Franklin as its CEO the company acquired as many as 120 consumer brands including Ball, Yankee Candle, FoodSaver and in one of its last acquisitions Jarden acquired Edina-based Jostens Corp., the maker of school rings and yearbooks.

Jarden picked up Jostens when it acquired Jostens’ parent company Visant Holding Corp. for approximately $1.5 billion in Nov. 2015.

Shortly after Jarden acquired Jostens, Jarden was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid for more than $15 billion.

Under terms of that Jarden/Newell deal Franklin, Lillie and Ashken received golden parachute payments (cash and equity payments owed to certain executive officers at the time of a deal closing as stated in their employment agreements) of approximately $350 million.

That group likely used a portion of their proceeds from the Newell Rubbermaid deal and raised more money from investors to fund J2 Acquisition Ltd. with the $1.2 billion they are using in the deal for the APi Group.

Patrick Kennedy


MHTA internship program enters ninth year

The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) has launched the SciTechsperience internship program for the ninth year.

Since 2012, SciTechsperience has connected nearly 1,700 college students to paid science and tech internships at small Minnesota companies.

Designed to build and retain Minnesota’s STEM workforce, SciTechsperience provides employers with a 50% wage match up to $2,500 per intern. At least 200 wage matches are available on a first-come, first-hire basis in the 2019-2020 program year. To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 250 employees.

By offering students access to lesser-known businesses, SciTech is creating science and technology internship opportunities that benefit Minnesota students and employers alike, according to MHTA.

“The SciTechsperience program is a “win-win” for both students and companies,” MHTA CEO Jeff Tollefson said in a prepared statement. “Students benefit from the impactful work-based learning opportunities provided by employers. Host companies not only benefit from the work performed by students ... they gain early access to new pools of tech talent that will help drive their future business success.”

Sina Kassaw, an intern at Gausman and Moore, said that before this internship experience, “I was pretty unsure of what the engineering industry looked like. SciTechsperience really brought that perspective and helped me landscape the industry here in Minnesota.”

“SciTech ... gives us access to college students and future colleagues,” said Hugh Zeng, principal engineer at HZ United. “It was really helpful because we’re small and don’t have the same bells and whistles as a big company. But through this program ... we’re able to take on some big-deal projects. The internship program gave us a leg up, with access to talented students. It’s been very helpful.”

SciTechsperience is administered by MHTA through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Students and businesses may apply to the program at

Neal St. Anthony


NVent closes on its Eldon Holding deal

NVent Electric PLC completed its previously announced acquisition of the Madrid-based, electric-enclosure maker Eldon Holding AB, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The $128 million purchase was originally announced in late July. The deal gives nVent a firm with $90 million in annual revenue, a fresh line of complementary products, and new locations in Spain, Romania and India.

The company posted earnings of $60.9 million, or 36 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30, compared with $42.7 million, or 24 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. Revenue was $539.5 million for the most recent period, down from $542.7 million for the same period a year ago. Shares of nVent were trading around $20.80 last week, down about 7% for the year.

Based in England but largely managed from St. Louis Park, nVent has operations in the United States, France, Germany, Poland, England, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and India.