Deal Watch: Local brothers brew a big merger

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

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Sometimes on the Deal Watch news desk we have to go with our hearts, not our heads, and spotlight a deal that isn’t the billion dollar tryst between a widget wonk and some equity investment raider. Sometimes we must cut to the chase and focus on what’s really important.

Beer.

Not just any beer, but homegrown beer. By local beer heroes. Which would bring us to the Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.’s merger with Redhook Ale of Woodinville, Wash. Let’s get the technical details out of the way quickly: The deal is an all-stock transaction that creates a new public company called Craft Brewers Alliance, to be  equally owned by Widmer and Redhook shareholders; Portland remains the HQ; there will be about 350 employees in the Widmer/Redhook barn. Kurt will be chair of the new company and brother Rob will be VP for corporate quality.

So the brothers who founded their brewery in 1984 and became pioneers in the craft-brew industry now want to rule the beer world?

“No, Rob and I are passionate about beer,” says Kurt. “Our job is to make great beer. But getting larger provides more stability, and it’s fun. When you are growing a company it’s exciting.”

Enough about you, what about the beer? “Our goal is to be over a million barrels total in five years,” he says.

No tampering with the Hefeweizen, right? Because really, it’s not just a drink, that baby’s a meal. With that golden fogginess … oh, sorry.

The Widmer/Redhook folks have had a brewing and licensing partnership for years in the eastern United States, a joint sales and marketing operation and signaled earlier this year that they might merge.

“The merger allows us to combine volumes and sales to justify more salespeople in more markets,” Kurt says, “particularly east of the Rockies.”

The merger is expected to close in early 2008. Thirsts rose 50% on announcement of the deal.      

ROBIN DOUSSARD

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
ANNOUNCED EXP. CLOSE BUYER/PARENT (HQ) SELLER (HQ) / PARENT PRICE (TERMS)
31-Oct 4Q ‘07 Campbell Opportunity Timber Fund /Campbell Group (Portland) timberland/ Temple-Inland (TX) $2.38b (cash+long-term notes)





1-Nov 4Q ‘07 Commercial Vehicle Group (OH) fabrication division/ Gage Industries ( Lake Oswego) $5.3m





5-Nov 4Q ‘07 Caterpillar (IL) forestry division/ Blount International (Portland) $77.3m





13-Nov 1Q ‘08 Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. (Portland) Redhook Ale Brewery (WA) stock combination





14-Nov 4Q ‘07 EDS (TX) Saber Holdings (Portland)/ Accel-KKR $420m (cash)





15-Nov 4Q ‘07 Iconix Brand Group Inc (NY) Starter brand/ Nike (Beaverton) $60m





23-Nov 4Q ‘07 International Forest Products Ltd (BC) 3 sawmills / Pope & Talbot (Portland) $89m (assets+ inventory)





23-Nov ND Frontier Financial Corp (WA) Bank of Salem (Salem) $60m





27-Nov 4Q ‘07 Aequitas Capital Management (Lake Oswego) Windswept Capital (WA) ND





28-Nov 4Q ‘07 Znomics (Portland) Pacific Syndicated Resources (BC) ND


REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
ANNOUNCED BUYER/PARENT (HQ) REAL ESTATE (LOCATION) / SELLER (HQ) PRICE
31-Oct Sima Enterprises office bldg (Newberg)/ Donna Holden $2.15m




5-Nov Sapa Profiles/Sapa Group (Portland) industrial facility (Portland)/ W&L Endeavors (Clackamas) $5.7m




5-Nov G-Boss industrial bldgs (Portland)/ Sneyd Properties $1.67m




8-Nov KBS Real Estate Investment Trust (CA) ADP Plaza (Portland)/ Antares-ADP (CA) $33.1m




19-Nov Richard Ross and Cissy Ross industrial facility (Portland)/ 1800 NW Upshur $1.6m




29-Nov Belmont Court Chelsey Lane Apartments (Gresham)/ RAS $4.13m




29-Nov NW Century industrial bldg (Hillsboro)/ North C’s Properties $4.6m


CAPITAL RAISING
ANNOUNCED COMPANY (HQ) / LEADERSHIP INVESTOR PRICE (TERMS)
1-Nov Evidence-Based Practice Center (Portland)/Mark Helfand, director Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality $10m (research grant)




8-Nov Iovation (Portland)/ Greg Pierson, CEO Intel Capital (CA) $15m (Series A)




26-Nov Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery (Portland)/ Jeff Jetton, CEO Aequitas Capital (Portland) $5.2m




27-Nov Axial Vector Engine Corp. (Portland)/ Ahmed Khalifa, acting CEO Emirates International Capital Advisory (UAE) $2.5m (PIPE)




28-Nov Znomics (Portland)/ Roger Cone, CSO ND $4.88m




28-Nov Clinicient (Portland)/ Jim Plymale, CEO Village Ventures (MA); Highway 12 Ventures (ID) $5m

List researched by Mark Druskoff


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