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Deal Watch: Translation company finds opportunity

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Articles - March 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
BY JON BELL

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, there is no word or expression in the Japanese language for “nose wipe thumb panel.”

But Hood River action sports company DaKine still needed to market that feature of its snowboarding gloves to riders in Japan, so they put Portland translation company viaLanguage on the job.

“Sometimes we’re localizing not just for a region, but to a specific target audience,” says Chanin Ballance, CEO of the 10-year-old viaLanguage, “because there just aren’t words or expressions in other languages.”

Ballance’s company, which she originally co-founded in 2000 as a rapid editing firm, announced its first acquisition in January after it picked up long-time partner Planet Productions, a Portland e-learning company. Now called viaLearning, Planet used to develop web-based training programs for the likes of Intel, then bring them to viaLanguage for translation.

With one of viaLanguage’s three focus areas being education — the other two are health care and marketing — Ballance says bringing Planet Productions in-house will help better serve the growing number of companies around the globe who’ve shifted to web-based training.

The move was good for Planet Productions as well, which Ballance says was in need of a “critical partner.” ViaLanguage, which employs 40 in Portland and has more than 1,000 contracted translators worldwide, brought just a few of Planet’s core folks on board.

Now in the $5 million to $10 million range, viaLanguage counts among its corporate clients Nike, Microsoft and Cisco, for whom the company translates and localizes everything from marketing materials to product information.

Ballance says viaLanguage will be broadening its services this year with technology to help optimize website search results and meet translation demands for social media and interactive learning platforms. There may be another acquisition in the near future as well.

“We do intend on diversifying ourselves even more,” Ballance says, “so you might see another one from us here soon.”

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
PRICE EXP. CLOSE BUYER / PARENT (HQ) SELLER / PARENT (HQ) ANNOUNCED
$16.5 M Q1 MathStar (Hillsboro) Sajan (WI) 1/11
ND Q1 AboutUs/(Portland) Jyte.com/JanRain (HQ) 1/14
ND Q1 Jive (Portland) Filtrbox (CO) 1/7
ND Q1 Pinnacle Healthcare (Springfield) Hearthstone/Asante Health System (Medford) 1/8
ND Q1 Portland Monthly/SagaCity Media (Portland) Aspen Sojourner, et al/HPJ Media Ventures Fund (CA) 1/12
ND Q1 Powered (TX) StepChange (Portland) 1/11
ND Q1 USB Implementers Forum (Beaverton) Personal Computer Card International Association (CA) 1/21
ND Q1 Precision Castparts (Portland) Yangzhou Chengde Steel Tube (China) 1/15
ND Q1 viaLanguage (Portland) Planet Productions (Portland) 1/5
CAPITAL RAISING AND CONTRACTS
PRICE (TYPE) COMPANY (HQ) / LEADERSHIP INVESTOR (HQ) ANNOUNCED
$40M (fuel-efficient truck grant) Daimler Trucks North America (Portland)/Martin Daum U.S. Dept. of Energy 1/12
$16M (residential re-entry center contract) Oregon Halfway House (Portland)/Steven Wax U.S. Dept. of Justice 1/20
$10M (venture investment) Avnera (Beaverton)/Manpreet Khaira Onkyo (NJ) 1/16
$10M (rights offering) West Coast Bancorp (Lake Oswego)/Robert Sznewajs Common Shareholders 1/29
ND (organic fiber order) Naturally Advanced Technologies (Portland)/Ken Barker Hanesbrands (NC) 1/5
ND (renewable energy contract) Iberdrola Renewables (Portland)/Ralph Currey Tennessee Valley Authority (TN) 1/14
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
PRICE BUYER / PARENT (HQ) REAL ESTATE (LOCATION) / SELLER (HQ) ANNOUNCED
$1.15 B Blackstone (NY) 134 assisted-living properties (various)/Sunwest Management (Salem) 1/20
$57M KBD Realty Advisors (CA) One Main Place office tower (Portland)/RREEF Realty Investments (NY) 1/23
$12.7M S-Cap 09-5080 (DE) 69 foreclosed homes (OR and WA)/West Coast Bank (Lake Oswego) 1/6
$11.1M ND Manufacturing plant (Hong Kong)/Merix (Beaverton) 1/4
$6.1M Metro 1,143 acres (Forest Grove)/Stimson Lumber (Portland) 1/8
$2.85M Garibaldi Hospitality (Wilsonville) Comfort Inn hotel (Garibaldi)/Jae Lee (Garibaldi) 1/11
$2.1M Stan Hubert (Vancouver) 28,800 sq. ft./industrial (Vancouver)/Boespflug Development 1/29
$1.9M National Glass Industries (Canada) 28,000 sq. ft./industrial (Portland)/OPUS Northwest (Portland) 1/5
$1.3M Teasdale Apartments LLC (Portland) Teasdale Apartments (Portland)/L. Swick (Portland) 1/12
$650,000 Boomtown Partners (Bend) 6,900-sq.-ft. retail building (Bend)/Mark and Michelle Capps (Bend) 1/14
$1.1M Twinstar Credit Union (WA) retail space (Vancouver)/First Independent Bank (Vancouver) 1/8
$515,000 Jara United (Portland) 8-plex (Vancouver)/9621 E. Mill Plain (Portland) 1/12
 

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