Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners acquires die manufacturer

This article was originally published by MiBiz on August 7, 2018.

Written by  Mitch Galloway

GRAND RAPIDS — Manufacturer Midway Rotary Die Solutions has sold to a West Michigan-based private equity firm.

In its latest deal, Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners will add more capabilities to its die manufacturing platform with the investment in the Williamston-based manufacturer, said Managing Partner Jeff Helminski.

Included in the acquisition are 50 employees from Midway and a roughly 20,000-square-foot facility in Williamston, Helminski said. The 33-year-old company is the “quintessential story” of two entrepreneurs, Richard and Betsy Seeley, who “found their business and poured their professional life’s work” into building a “world-class organization,” he added.

“(Acquiring Midway) really expands our platform, giving us a larger share of a very fragmented industry, particularly the more sophisticated, technically demanding segment of that market,” Helminski told MiBiz.

The acquisition of Midway makes for the P.E. firm’s fourth acquisition in 11 months.

Prior to the acquisition of Midway, Auxo purchased two die companies in September of 2017 — the Elkhart, Indiana-based Atlas Die LLC and the Rochester Hills-based Bernal LLC —  as well as New Orleans-based barge company M/G Transport Services later that year, as MiBiz reported at the time.

By acquiring Midway, Auxo’s portfolio of companies will give customers access to dies ranging in size from 12 inches to larger than 100 inches, Helminski said.

“Adding Midway’s capabilities to what Bernal and Atlas do allow us to provide a complete product offering of rotary dies, including flexible dies, crush cut dies, rotary pressure dies, across the entire range of widths,” he said. “Midway fit a gap in the existing product portfolio that Bernal and Atlas had, and they were one of the first companies we identified when we bought Bernal and Atlas.”

According to Helminski, Midway serves the automotive, medical and food sectors. Some of the company’s clients include the Maplewood, Minn.-based manufacturing conglomerate 3M and the Norcross, Ga.-based corrugated packaging manufacturer WestRock.

“It was our dream when we bought Midway in 1985 with six employees to build it into a world class organization,” stated Rich Seeley, CEO of Midway Rotary Die Solutions, who will retire following the transition. “We spent the last 33 years providing the highest-quality products and service in our industry, and we couldn’t be more pleased to find, in Auxo, a partner who can help our colleagues continue to grow and develop opportunities to provide further innovation and value to our customers.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Following the acquisition, Ken Smott will become CEO of Midway to go along with his current leadership roles at Atlas Die and Bernal.

“Combining Midway with our existing portfolio of die producers allows us to offer our customers an increasingly broad, innovative suite of capabilities, helping them to deliver superior quality and efficiency in their own businesses,” Smott said in a statement.

Between its facilities for Midway and Bernal, Auxo is looking to hire roughly 10 employees, Helminski said.

The Grand Rapids-based M&A firm NuVescor Group LLC served as an adviser to the seller. Other advisers on the transaction include the Grand Rapids-based law firm Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey PLC, Indianapolis, Ind.-based law firm Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Chicago, Ill.-based accounting firm BDO USA LLP, Grand Rapids-based bank Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Columbus, Ohio-based investment firm Oxer Capital Inc., London-based insurance company Aon Plc. and Grand Rapids-based health insurance firm Advantage Benefits Group Inc.

Editor’s note: This story was updated from its original version.