Cherry Tree Advises Koch Industries on their Sale Process

Cherry Tree Advises Koch Industries on their Sale Process

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Hillman Acquires Koch Industries, Enters Rope and Chain Product Category

Hillman Solutions Corp. (Nasdaq: HLMN) (the “Company” or “Hillman”), a leading provider of hardware products and merchandising solutions, today announced that it has acquired Koch Industries, Inc. (“Koch”), a premier provider and merchandiser of rope and twine, chain and wire rope, and related hardware products. This acquisition marks the entrance into rope and chain, a new product category for Hillman.With rope and chain products added to its newly expanded product portfolio, Hillman can seamlessly bring these products to existing customers while realizing shipping, sourcing, and service efficiencies along the way. Having recently entered the adjacent category of rope and chain accessories, the addition of rope and chain will further embed Hillman with its blue-chip customers.

“This bolt-on, attractive acquisition allows us to leverage our moat in order to capitalize on growth opportunities in this new product category,” commented Doug Cahill, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Hillman. “Koch has healthy, long-term relationships with its top-ten customers, having done business with them for an average of over 20 years. We look to continue to take care of our customers with our 1,100-member field sales and service team, our direct-to-store shipping approach, and our portfolio of owned-brands that set us apart from the competition. We are proud to welcome the Koch Industries team to the Hillman family.”

Randy Koch, co-owner and co-CEO of Koch, commented: “For 45 years, we have built Koch Industries with the goal of delivering quality products with the highest level of service for our customers. Transitioning our business to Hillman was an obvious choice, considering their strong competitive moat and track record of growth and service.”

Dave Koch, Koch’s other co-owner and co-CEO added, “We believe this is an outstanding fit for our employees, as well as our customers, and are confident that Hillman will continue to serve both exceptionally well.”

Koch’s 2,300 SKUs are in the complex, high-touch, rope and chain and associated hardware category which is a perfect addition to Hillman’s existing 112,000 SKU-portfolio. Koch’s customers include local and national retailers in the traditional hardware and farm and fleet channels based in the United States, and during its fiscal year ended May 31, 2023, Koch’s revenue totaled approximately $45 million. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Koch Industries was founded by Randy and Dave Koch, entrepreneurs who have successfully built numerous companies.

About Koch Industries Inc.
Koch Industries, Inc., a Minnesota based company established in 1978, is a premier provider and merchandiser of chain, rope, wire rope, hardware, load binders, cable pullers, 3-point hitch, trailer jacks and garage organization products.

While Koch Industries was first established as a distributor of wire rope to farm stores, it successfully expanded its customer base to home improvement, hardware, and other retail market channels. In 2017, Koch Industries acquired Lehigh Consumer Products, LLC, now fully operating under Koch Industries, Inc. For more information visit www.kochmm.com

About Hillman Solutions Corp.
Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hillman Solutions Corp. (“Hillman”) and its subsidiaries are leading North American providers of complete hardware solutions, delivered with outstanding customer service to over 40,000 locations. Hillman designs innovative product and merchandising solutions for complex categories that deliver an outstanding customer experience to home improvement centers, mass merchants, national and regional hardware stores, pet supply stores, and OEM & industrial customers. Leveraging its leading distribution and sales network, Hillman delivers a “small business” experience with “big business” efficiency. For more information on Hillman, visit www.hillmangroup.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This communication contains certain forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, certain plans, expectations, goals, projections, and statements, which are not historical facts and are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties. Statements that do not describe historical or current facts, including statements about beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are made in good faith by the Company and are intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “budget,” “forecast,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “target,” “goal,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “believes,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, the Company’s expectations with respect to future performance. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the expected results. Most of these factors are outside the Company’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (1) unfavorable economic conditions that may affect operations, financial condition and cash flows including spending on home renovation or construction projects, inflation, recessions, instability in the financial markets or credit markets; (2) increased supply chain costs, including raw materials, sourcing, transportation and energy; (3) the highly competitive nature of the markets that we serve; (4) the ability to continue to innovate with new products and services; (5) direct and indirect costs associated with the May 2023 ransomware attack, and our receipt of expected insurance receivables associated with that cybersecurity incident; (6) seasonality; (7) large customer concentration; (8) the ability to recruit and retain qualified employees; (9) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against the Company; (10) adverse changes in currency exchange rates; (11) the impact of COVID-19 on the Company’s business; or (12) regulatory changes and potential legislation that could adversely impact financial results. The foregoing list of factors is not exclusive, and readers should also refer to those risks that are included in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022. Given these uncertainties, current or prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward looking statements.

Except as required by applicable law, the Company does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements in this communication to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Source: Hillman Solutions Corp.

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Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises Integrity Solutions on its Recapitalization with Corridor Capital

Cherry Tree Advises Integrity Solutions on its Recapitalization with Corridor Capital

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Corridor Capital Invests in Sales and Sales Leadership Training Platform Integrity Solutions

Los Angeles, CA – Corridor Capital announced today an investment in Integrity Solutions, LLC (“Integrity Solutions” or the “Company”) in collaboration with management, to support the Company’s growth trajectory and continued development of new value-added services for its clients. This is the firm’s sixth platform investment from Corridor Capital III, L.P. and Corridor’s third foray into the training and education sector.

Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Integrity Solutions has more than five decades of experience providing award-winning sales and sales leadership training programs in 130 countries to industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, energy, utilities, agriculture and more. The Company delivers training solutions to equip sales teams to achieve their full potential by building trusted customer relationships grounded in integrity. Integrity Solutions strives to be the partner of choice to many values-driven organizations and specializes in innovative sales, service and coaching training solutions that drive performance, develop talent, lift up customers and elevate leaders.

The Company has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by Integrity Solutions’ differentiated service offerings, customer service and investment in a visionary team. With the benefit of Corridor’s deep strategic, operational and financial support capabilities, Corridor will work closely with Integrity Solutions to further accelerate its growth and expand its offerings to create additional value for its clients. Moreover, Corridor aspires to enhance Integrity Solution’s position in the sales and sales leadership training industry through additional investment in sales, technology and marketing, as well as new product and service development, both organically and potentially through strategic acquisitions.

The leadership team, including CEO Mike Esterday, will remain with the business in their current roles and are excited to partner with Corridor to accelerate the Company’s growth. Moreover, Mike will remain a material owner of the business.

“We admire Integrity Solutions’ emphasis on training its sales and sales leadership customers through a balance of skillset and mindset,” said Corridor CEO, Craig Enenstein. “The Company lives its ‘integrity’ brand and works unflaggingly to drive sustainable impact in its clients’ capabilities.”

“Integrity Solutions has built a unique and differentiated offering to help its clients deliver business excellence and grow their companies. We are excited to partner with Corridor and leverage the additional resources and strategic guidance they provide to better serve our clients and further accelerate our growth,” said Mike Esterday, CEO of Integrity Solutions.

“Integrity Solutions has excelled in supporting its clients through its comprehensive, values driven and innovative training, resulting in outstanding value and return on investment for its clients. We are excited to partner with Mike Esterday and the entire Integrity Solutions team to support the Company’s continued growth in pursuit of building a leading sales and sales leadership training service provider,” said Corridor investment Principal, Kevin Jay.

Cherry Tree & Associates, LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to the Company. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius served as legal advisor and Kroll, LLC provided financial diligence support to Corridor Capital. Live Oak Bank provided debt financing in support of the investment.

Source: Corridor Capital

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Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises Vexilar and AWC Distributing on their Sale to Rob Jablonski and Valiant Wealth

Cherry Tree Advises Vexilar and AWC Distributing on their Sale to Rob Jablonski and Valiant Wealth

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Robert Jablonski and Valiant Wealth Management Acquire Vexilar Inc.

Independent investor Robert Jablonski and Valiant Wealth Management announced the acquisition of Vexilar Incorporated and AWC Incorporated on Monday October 16, 2023. The two investors partnered to make the acquisition and Rob Jablonski will lead the businesses going forward. Vexilar and AWC were previously owned by Steven Baumann, President of Vexilar and AWC since 1995. 

Vexilar is the premier ice fishing marine electronics company in the United States with a 60-year history of developing and manufacturing advanced sonar and fish-finding equipment for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its state-of-the-art sonar technology provides anglers with real-time, precise information about the underwater environment, helping them locate fish and optimize their fishing strategies.

AWC produces the K-drill line of patented ice augers, designed to revolutionize the way anglers drill through the ice. These light-weight augers are powered by high-powered cordless electric drills to make it easier for anglers to get out on the ice and get fishing.

After working for Vexilar Inc. as a Mechanical Engineer since 1977, Mr. Baumann, and Skip Christman bought the then struggling company in 1986, made monumental advancements and truly pioneered the use of ice fishing electronics with the Vexilar FL-8 Flasher.  In 1995, Baumann assumed the role as company president following Christman’s unexpected passing. Mr. Baumann helped mold Vexilar into the ice fishing leader, securing numerous patents, and helping countless anglers increase their ice fishing success.  Baumann’s engineering, ingenuity, vision, and contributions to the ice fishing industry are legendary.  Steven Baumann was inducted into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame in 2004, the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2012. Vexilar Inc. was honored as a Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame inductee in 2015. 

Valiant is a Wealth Management company based in Des Moines, Iowa, that provides modern financial and lifestyle management services. Valiant believes that a diversified portfolio is a mixture of in-market investments and directly investing in high potential privately held companies, like Vexilar.

Jablonski is a seasoned manufacturing executive with experience at General Motors, Kohler Company and Pella Corp and an avid angler and outdoor lover. “I am honored to be leading Vexilar, a true legacy brand in ice fishing in the United States and a company with a strong runway for growth.” Jablonski said in the statement. “I’m excited to be transitioning the business with Steve Baumann, an icon in the ice fishing industry, and I look forward to building on Vexilar’s and AWC’s successful histories for the long term.

Source: Vexilar.com

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“The Cherry Tree team worked tirelessly, gathering information to set up a presentation for potential buyers to see. Team members were always available and quick to respond to any questions we had. Cherry Tree was with us from the beginning of the process to the end, ready to help us in any way they could, to a successful closing on the sale of our companies.

Even though it was a lot of hard work for Cherry Tree and ourselves, we also had some fun along the way!”

— Steve and Robin Baumann, Owners, Vexilar and AWC Distributing

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

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Prairie Capital V11 Partners with STAR Autism Support

On September 20, 2023, Prairie Capital VII, LP partnered with the founders of STAR Autism Support (“STAR” or the “Company”) to recapitalize the Company. Founded over 20 years ago by the Arick family in Beaverton, OR, STAR provides digital curriculum and training to K-12 school districts and agency staff who work with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (“ASD”) and other developmental disabilities.

STAR’s reputation as a leader in autism teaching strategies is attributable to its long track record of demonstrated outcomes. The combination of STAR’s research-validated, evidence-based curriculum and professional development services drive effective and consistent instruction throughout school districts. STAR’s system-wide implementation approach builds teaching capacity to help manage districts’ growing needs.

The US special education curriculum market is approximately $750 million serving 6.8 million students. Over the past 7 years, the population of students with autism and developmental delay has increased 8.3%. In 2022, 1 in 36 children were diagnosed with ASD in the United States. 10 years ago, this number was 1 in 88. The special education curriculum market is underserved with the majority of special education teachers using self-developed materials. However, there is strong demand for evidence-based, third-party solutions with STAR uniquely positioned to benefit from this unmet demand.

Prairie Capital partnered with the Arick family to accelerate the growth of STAR’s SaaS solutions through company-building investments in human capital, sales and marketing, new products and add-on acquisitions.

For more information on STAR, please contact:

Tony Danielak at tdanielak@prairie-capital.com
Steve King at sking@prairie-capital.com
Mike Praljak at mpraljak@prairie-capital.com

Source: Prairie Capital

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Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises SafeNet Consulting on its Sale to Eliassen Group, a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital

Cherry Tree Advises SafeNet Consulting on its Sale to Eliassen Group, a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital

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Eliassen Group Further Enhances Technology Solutions Capabilities and Expands Midwest Presence with Acquisition of SafeNet Consulting

READING, MA, October 02, 2023 – Eliassen Group, LLC, a strategic consulting company, has acquired SafeNet Consulting, an IT Services company operating across the Midwest.

Eliassen Group is a leading strategic consulting company that provides business, IT, and clinical services for clients as they seek to transform and execute strategies that will drive exceptional outcomes. Eliassen leverages over 30 years of success on behalf of their clients, with a focus on technology solutions, financial, risk, & compliance advisory, and clinical solutions.

Founded in 1994, SafeNet Consulting has a long and successful history in the technology industry, solving clients’ problems with their experience, insight, and innovation. SafeNet delivers a broad set of technology capabilities on behalf of their clients, in a flexible model aligned to the clients’ needs. For nearly 30 years, SafeNet has worked to solve their clients’ most complex business problems and guide those clients to the best possible outcomes.

The strategic partnership between Eliassen Group and SafeNet will provide Eliassen Group clients with a wider range of services and access to an even greater professional network of proven candidate talent and experience. Furthermore, the acquisition of SafeNet aligns with Eliassen Group’s ongoing focus on transformational growth and enhancing the client and consultant experience with an expansion of its Midwest presence.

“Joining Eliassen Group will offer our clients an expanded breadth of capabilities and will offer our consultants an expanded ecosystem of professional opportunities – all while continuing SafeNet’s legacy of genuine partnerships founded on trust,” said SafeNet’s founder, Marty Miller. Kelli Schnieder, SafeNet’s President/CEO, agrees, “Not only will our clients benefit from expanded expertise across Eliassen’s areas of specialization, like application development, data sciences and analytics, cybersecurity, and financial and risk advisory — our consultants will now be connected to opportunities for roles nationwide.”

“SafeNet comes to Eliassen with a wealth of incredible experience, wonderful clients, and an impressive group of talented professionals. Additionally, SafeNet shares Eliassen’s values, and a culture centered around teamwork and transparency – values and culture that have come to be a differentiator in how we both serve our respective clients. We are very excited for our two organizations to come together,” said Dave MacKeen, CEO of Eliassen Group.

Media Contact
Travis Carpico
Executive Vice President – Strategy, Corporate Development, Enterprise Marketing
Eliassen Group
781 295 6773

Source: eliassen.com/newsroom

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Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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Cherry Tree Advises Hearing Components (d.b.a ComplyFoam)

Cherry Tree Advises Hearing Components (d/b/a ComplyFoam)

SPARK Acquired by Arcadea Group

Cherry Tree Advises Hearing Components (d/b/a ComplyFoam)

In July 2023, the owners of Hearing Components (doing business as Comply) sold the company to CEO Chris Hudson and an investor group. Hearing Components was owned and founded by Robert and Dee Oliviera, who originally purchased the intellectual property from 3M in 1990.

Cherry Tree was engaged to help the owners evaluate their strategic alternatives, which included seeking parties that would maximize the proceeds for a foundation they started, while also protecting the culture of the Company, supporting growth initiatives, and continuing to provide excellent products to its customers. Cherry Tree advised the Company through a process that included introductions and discussions with numerous potential industry and financial acquirers, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of the transaction by ultimately striking a deal with the management team and an investor group they formed. Chris Hudson’s experience and vision for the future of the business as well as his shared value and commitment to all stakeholders, made him the ideal steward for the Company.

SPARK Acquired by Arcadea Group

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

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