Finatem acquires majority stake in HKM Sports Equipment GmbH

Finatem, one of the leading independent private equity investment companies with a focus on German SMEs, is further expanding its portfolio. The Frankfurt-based company is acquiring the majority of shares in HKM Sports Equipment GmbH (, Neuenhaus, as well as the business operations of HKM Textil GmbH from Managing Partner Klaus Egbers. Mr. Egbers will remain Managing Director of the company and hold a strategic stake of the company.

As the market leader for full-range equestrian products in Germany, HKM Sports Equipment offers a differentiated portfolio of equestrian products addressing the respective target audience of every price segment. The company lists more than 21,000 total product variations. About two-thirds of its product range consists of functional clothing and equipment for riders and horses, with the remaining third being fashion accessories. Besides its flagship brand HKM, the portfolio includes other strong end customer brands such as Lauria Garrelli, Cavallino Marino and Pro-Team. Products are developed and designed in-house and manufactured exclusively by established suppliers under strict quality guidelines. HKM Sports Equipment’s customers are primarily European specialist retailers and selected eCommerce dealers.

HKM Textil GmbH is Europe’s market leader for applications for attaching and ironing onto textiles. Besides trimmings, embroidery motifs and printed motifs, HKM Textil also sells other haberdashery products such as scissors, shoulder pads and Velcro straps. The business activities of both companies will be continued under the HKM Sports Equipment umbrella.

Irmgard Schade, Partner at Finatem: “With HKM Sports Equipment, we are adding another very attractive company with worldwide customer base to our investment portfolio. HKM is now in its second generation under Managing Director Klaus Egbers and we are delighted that his experience and expertise will continue leading the company into the future.” Mr. René Schäfer has been successfully managing HKM Textil’s business and will continue in this responsibility as second Managing Director of HKM Sports Equipment.

The HKM Group generated sales of around EUR 24 million in 2017. More than 80% of its sales are generated in Europe, around half in Germany. The company’s internal logistics handles the entire flow of goods with high efficiency from the delivery of containers in Neuenhaus to handing over customer orders ready for shipping.

“The company has impressively demonstrated its efficiency in recent years, the market is offering attractive opportunities and we have the necessary capital. In our view, these are strong prerequisites for continuing to grow together in the coming years,” explains Alexander Stein, Investment Manager at Finatem.

Klaus Egbers, co-founder and Managing Director of HKM Sports Equipment, adds: “We have been a market specialist for equestrian equipment since the 1980s and have earned ourselves a leading industry position. Demand for our products has never faltered, and we see further growth opportunities in the market. With Finatem, we now have the right partner at our side to seize these opportunities.”

HKM employs nearly 120 people at its company headquarters in Neuenhaus, working in the areas of collection/design, purchasing, sales, marketing, IT, finance and accounting, administration and warehousing and logistics. The market volume for equestrian products and services in Germany is around EUR 6.7 billion. The running costs of horse husbandry, such as board and lodging, account for around EUR 2.6 billion. Germans therefore spend around EUR 4.1 billion on other products and services. The market for equestrian products and services across Europe amounts to around EUR 100 billion per year.

The parties agreed not to disclose transaction details.

Silver Oak Services Partners Completes Sale of The Tranzonic Companies

Silver Oak Services Partners, LLC (“Silver Oak”), a leading lower-middle market private equity firm focused exclusively on business, healthcare and consumer services companies, announced today that it has completed the sale of its equity interest in The Tranzonic Companies (“Tranzonic” or the “Company”) to Pittsburgh-based PNC Riverarch Capital (“PNC”).

Headquartered in Cleveland, OH, Tranzonic is a value-added supplier of consumable maintenance, cleaning, safety and hygiene products to commercial and industrial end markets in North America.

Silver Oak made its original investment in Tranzonic in July 2013.  During Silver Oak’s ownership, Tranzonic undertook numerous initiatives to strengthen and improve the business, including: promoting Tom Friedl to CEO, expanding the sales team to drive organic growth, investing in additional equipment to accommodate growth and improve margins, developing and successfully launching multiple new products, and completing two add-on acquisitions in core product categories targeting growing end-markets.

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the Tranzonic management team,” said Greg Barr, Managing Partner at Silver Oak.  “They have driven steady top and bottom line growth over the last five years and established the Company as a proven acquisition growth platform.  Tranzonic is well positioned for the future, and we wish the team well as they continue to execute on the Company’s strategic growth plan.”

Tom Friedl, CEO of Tranzonic, noted, “With Silver Oak’s active support and guidance, we generated significant growth while continuing to enhance the value we bring to our customers.  We look forward to building upon this success with our new partners at PNC Riverarch.”

BB&T Capital Markets and Locke Lord LLP acted as financial advisor and legal counsel to the sellers, respectively.


Silver Oak Services Partners Leads Recapitalization of Brilliant

Evanston, IL – March 27, 2018

Silver Oak Services Partners, LLC (“Silver Oak”), a leading lower middle market private equity firm focused exclusively on service businesses, announced it has led the recapitalization of Brilliant Staffing (“Brilliant” or the “Company”) in partnership with management and co-investors.

Brilliant is a leading provider of temporary and permanent Finance, Accounting (“F&A”) and IT professionals to the Greater Chicago and South Florida markets.  Founded in 2009, Brilliant is able to provide high quality professionals with a variety of backgrounds and experience levels to meet the needs of clients across a wide range of industries.

“Brilliant has been very successful, and we realized that to continue to grow our business, we would need a strategic partner that shared our vision for growth and had the capital resources to help us execute our strategy. We’re very excited about our partnership with Silver Oak, particularly given their success investing in the staffing space and track record of partnering with management to execute successful growth strategies.  We look forward to working with them as we continue to grow our business,” said Jeff Mariola, CEO of Brilliant.

Silver Oak was attracted to the professional staffing sector given the continued strong demand for F&A and IT professionals that far outpaces supply of these individuals, the highly fragmented nature of the industry and attractive cash flow dynamics.  Greg Barr, Managing Partner at Silver Oak, said, “Brilliant is well regarded in the industry for its excellent client service and ability to identify top talent to meet their clients’ needs.  We’re very excited to partner with such an experienced management team, and we look forward to working with the team to execute on their growth strategy to grow our existing offices and enter new geographies where we believe our unique approach will continue to resonate with clients and candidates.” Brilliant is actively looking for add on acquisition opportunities.

Nazca Sells Eurekakids

Nazca, Hape and Beleduc have signed an agreement for the acquisition of Eurekakids by Hape and Beleduc.

Eurekakids is one of Europe’s largest distributors of educational toys with a growing presence in Latin America, leading the Spanish market. Eurekakids has developed an attractive business model combining own stores, franchise stores, on-line and wholesale distribution channels; reaching a network of more than 180 stores in 13 countries and Chain Sales of c.€40m in 2017.

Eurekakids’ founders will continue leading the project increasing its share capital to 40%. The founders and the rest of the management team will be leading the future development of the company.

During Nazca’s investment period, Eurekakids has (i) developed from a family business to a highly professionalized company; (ii) executed an ambitious growth plan more than doubling the store network from 80 to 180 stores; (iii) expanded its international presence from 3 to 13 countries; (iv) focused on developing Eurekakids’ brand by increasing the weight of own-product’s sales from 25% to c.60%; and (v) positioned as leader in its core markets.

Nazca has been advised by Socios Financieros and DLA Piper.

Since 2001 Nazca has invested the entirety of Funds I, II and III with a respective size of €100, €150 and €230 million, having accomplished 60 transactions: 24 direct investments in companies, 17 additional acquisitions through participated companies and 19 divestments.

Nazca currently manages fund Nazca IV with a total commitment of €275 million provided by international institutional investors. Nazca’s portfolio is comprised by 6 firms: Grupo OM (visual merchandising), Gestair (private aviation), FoodBox (retail food), Distribuciones Juan Luna (food), Caiba (PET packaging) and McBath (cast marble shower trays). Nazca has divested from: Svenson, Rodilla, Dibaq, Unipost, Vinartis, Lizarrán, El Derecho, Guzmán, Acens, Hedonai, Elogos, Fritta, Autor, IMOncology, Logifrío, Agromillora, El Granero Integral and Eurekakids.  

Axcel Sells Lessor to US Company Paychex

Axcel sells Lessor to US company Paychex

After 17 months’ intensive ownership, Axcel has sold payroll specialist and HCM software Lessor to US company Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX), a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Under Axcel’s stewardship, Lessor has markedly increased its revenue and earnings and now has more than 50,000 clients in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany. 

“The Lessor has more than 40 years of industry leadership in payroll and HCM technology, and I am very proud that Paychex recognizes our history of market leadership, the strength of our solution portfolio, and the dedicated team which we have built over the past couple of years in particular,” says Peter Colsted, Lessor CEO. “Becoming a part of Paychex will enable us to build new, innovative solutions by leveraging Paychex’s expertise within the HCM market, as well as accelerate our international growth.”

Paychex too is delighted with the transaction:  

“Paychex’s international strategy has been to grow in Europe, beyond our Germany operation. This acquisition gives us significant client and revenue growth opportunities, and it will deliver value for business owners that helps make it easier for them to be efficient and compliant,” says Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. 

“Lessor and its employees have built strong products and respected brands in European markets.  We’re excited to welcome these talented individuals to the Paychex family,” Mucci says. “We also look forward to having the Lessor management team join Paychex, bringing with them experienced leadership and industry knowledge.”

Christian Bamberger Bro, who was responsible for the investment at Axcel, is pleased with both the deal and what Lessor has achieved: 

“Peter Colsted and the entire Lessor team have done a fantastic job in terms of successfully accelerating the development of Lessor over the past one-and-a-half years. This transaction has been a very satisfactory exit for Axcel based on a well-executed strategy. As owners we are very happy and proud to see Lessor continue as part of a leading global provider of HR solutions such as Paychex, and we wish them all the best in the future,”

Lessor is the sixth company sold by Axcel’s fourth fund, launched in 2010.

Axcel partners with family behind Swedish make-up brand IsaDora

Axcel invests in IsaDora, one of the Nordic region’s leading cosmetics brands with production and headquarters in Sweden, and additional production facilities in Switzerland and a presence in more than 40 markets. Owned and run by founder Ingvar Vigstrand and the family since 1983, it is a well-run business with considerable growth potential.

Axcel’s investment can be seen in the light of IsaDora having a very strong market position in Sweden and the other Nordic countries, and interesting potential for expansion elsewhere. The cosmetics market is stable and growing, driven by increased global demand.

“Ingvar Vigstrand has created a unique business packed with innovative and talented people,” says Vilhelm Sundström, the partner at Axcel responsible for the investment. “We see a large and expanding market with annual growth rates of up to 5% in the Nordic region, while markets such as the Middle East, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia all offer exciting opportunities and even higher growth rates. We also see large potential in the US, so we’re very much looking forward to working with IsaDora’s management on producing a more detailed roadmap.” 

IsaDora has almost 200 employees working on development, production and marketing at both its headquarters in Malmö in Sweden and at the additional production facilities in Berne in Switzerland. The company distributes its products itself in Sweden and another six European countries, while other markets are served by external distributors.

“Since starting up in 1983, we've been on an amazing journey as a family-held business and become No. 1 in the Swedish market,” says IsaDora’s owner and CEO Ingvar Vigstrand. “It’s always going to be a big decision to sell your life’s work, but after lengthy discussions with Axcel we feel certain that we’ve found the right partner to take IsaDora to the next level.”

“IsaDora, which is an innovative make-up brand, is appreciated by its customers and has considerable potential for organic growth,” says Axcel’s Managing Partner Christian Schmidt-Jacobsen. “This is exactly the kind of business that we as a private equity firm are looking to work with, so I’m delighted to be able to announce this as our fifth fund’s third investment.”

The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The transaction is conditional on approval from the competition authorities.

About IsaDora 
IsaDora is Swedish producer and distributor of cosmetics with production and headquarters in Malmö and additional production facilities in Berne in Switzerland. Its products for the eyes, face, lips and nails are sold by around 5,000 stores in 40 countries. The main markets are Sweden, the other Nordic countries, Germany and the Middle East. Products are sold directly to department stores, perfumeries, fashion outlets and online retailers in Sweden and another six European countries, and through distributors elsewhere. The business is owned by founder and CEO Ingvar Vigstrand and his family.


NiXEN announces the selling of its stakes in Buffalo Grill, the French leader steakhouse chain specialized in the grill segment, to TDR Capital.

Founded in 1980, Buffalo Grill is a wild-west themed steakhouse chain specialized in the grill segment. The group’s ambition is to offer to its customers a warm welcome and a change of scene, as they enjoy a quality meal at the most affordable price.

NiXEN acquired Buffalo Grill stakes in 2008 alongside Abénex. They have supported the group’s development strategy based on the expansion of the restaurant network both through ownership and franchising, the quality of Buffalo Grill product offer and the management of its relation with its customers.

Buffalo Grill now serves about 30 million meals per year for customers in c.350 restaurants mainly located in France representing a total turnover higher than €530 m. Buffalo Grill was also rewarded multiple times with the “Brand of the year” price in its category.



NiXEN Partners

Jean-Paul Bernardini, Steven Barrois


Olivier Moatti, Matthieu Balaÿ

Céréa Partenaire

Gilles Sicard, Astrid Cloarec


Mathieu Quéré, Gilles Douillard

Sellers’ advisors:

Financial advisor

DC Advisory (Eric Hamou, Alexis Matheron, Grégoire Philippe, Martial Dargent, Anastasia Saldi)

Legal advisor

Mayer Brown (Corporate : Olivier Aubouin, Martin Duvernoy ; Fiscal : Benjamin Homo)

Financial VDD

KPMG (Olivier Boumendil, Isabelle Donis)

Tax, legal & social VDD

Fidal (Xavier Houard, Anne Frechette-Kerbrat, Julie Ansoult)



Will Russell


Evanston, IL – January 22, 2018 -- Silver Oak Services Partners, LLC (“Silver Oak”), a leading lower-middle market private equity firm focused exclusively on business, healthcare and consumer services companies, announced today that it completed the sale of Construction Labor Contractors (“CLC” or the “Company”) to Tradesmen International (“Tradesmen”), a portfolio company of private equity funds managed by Blackstone Capital Partners.

Headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, CLC is a leading provider of temporary staffing of skilled tradesmen for the commercial construction market.  CLC operates 19 locations and serves clients in all 50 states.

Silver Oak made its original investment in CLC in June 2014.  During Silver Oak’s ownership, CLC significantly enhanced the depth of its management team, invested heavily in a centralized National Accounts Sales team and National Recruiting team, upgraded the IT infrastructure, and expanded into new geographies via new office openings and three acquisitions.

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the CLC management team,” said Greg Barr, Managing Partner at Silver Oak.  “They have significantly expanded the business over the last three-and-a-half years, and we believe the combination of CLC and Tradesmen will allow the consolidated entity to better serve client needs throughout the country.”

Brad Chesin, CEO of CLC, noted, “Silver Oak has been a great partner and provided tremendous support to us as we executed on a number of strategic initiatives that drove significant growth across the business.”

About Silver Oak Services Partners

Founded in 2005, Silver Oak Services Partners is a lower-middle market private equity firm focused on partnering with exceptional management teams to build industry leading business, healthcare and consumer services companies.  Silver Oak seeks to make control investments in leading service businesses with $15 to $150 million in revenue.  The firm is currently investing out of its third fund, a $335 million investment vehicle.  For more information, visit


Stone-Goff Partners Announces Investment in DSG

New York, NY – December 5, 2017 – Stone-Goff Partners (SGP) announced today that it has invested in DSG, a leading provider of outsourced sales training and enablement services to Fortune 500 and middle market companies in North America and Europe. The investment will support several new initiatives in terms of building out the executive team, new marketing initiatives and opportunistic acquisitions of complementary products or services.

Founded in 1994, DSG enables salesforces to implement their company’s growth strategy through customized sales enablement programs. Solution offerings include sales message creation, sales process design, sales coaching system development, in-person and virtual training and ongoing reinforcement and content updates post-launch. The Company serves a diverse, blue-chip customer base across six core verticals including Technology, Business Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Telecommunications and Financial Services.

“We are proud of the DSG team and the company we have built together,” said DSG President, Matt McClendon. “Going forward, DSG is thrilled to partner with Stone-Goff Partners as we enter our next phase of growth. After vetting numerous potential partners, DSG selected Stone-Goff for their partnership approach and their proven track record helping technology-enabled professional services firms maximize their growth potential,” McClendon noted.

“DSG needed a partner that not only understood the business, but could bring expertise on how to accelerate the expansion of both our team and our solutions as we seek to continue delighting our growing customer base,” said DSG VP of Sales & Marketing, Tanner Mezel.

“We are excited to partner with Matt, Tanner and their team who will continue leading and building the Company,” said Hannah Stone Craven, co-founder of Stone-Goff Partners. “DSG is a differentiated, outsourced sales training and enablement service provider with a talented team and longstanding history of delivering high quality service with measurable success to its customers. The Company’s depth of talent and expertise within the sales enablement market and culture of growth underscores DSG’s exceptional potential.”

CHILDS Advisory Partners served as the exclusive financial advisor to DSG in this transaction. East West Bank provided senior debt financing and Avante Mezzanine Partners provided mezzanine financing and equity co-investment.

Silver Oak Services Partners Leads Recapitalization of Caring People

Evanston, IL – November 14, 2017

Silver Oak Services Partners, LLC (“Silver Oak”), a lower middle market private equity firm focused exclusively on service businesses, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of Caring People (the “Company”), in partnership with management, pending regulatory approvals.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in New York City, Caring People is a leading CHAP-accredited home healthcare agency and one of the few agencies of scale serving the private-pay market. The Company offers hourly companion care, live-in care, and skilled nursing services to seniors from its branch locations in the Northeast and Florida.

“It was critical to find a partner who shared our vision for growth and quality care while supporting the Caring People mission and culture. In Silver Oak we found a like-minded partner who shares our enthusiasm for the industry and the commitment to support our continued efforts,” said Steven East, Founder and CEO of Caring People. Following approval of state licensing agencies and completion of the transactions, Mr. East will retain a significant ownership stake in the business alongside Silver Oak and will continue in his current role, along with the rest of the existing management team.

Silver Oak believes home healthcare is an attractive sector for investment due to the aging population, increasing desire by seniors to age-in-place, and highly fragmented nature of the industry. Greg Barr, Managing Partner at Silver Oak, said, “We are excited to partner with Steven and his team at Caring People. They have developed a strong reputation as a premiere provider of home healthcare services in their markets. We look forward to helping the team bring their high-quality, technology-enabled service offering to new markets through add-on acquisitions and de novo branches.”

In partnership with Silver Oak, Caring People recently completed the acquisitions of Victoria’s Compassionate Nursing Care Management, Stellar HomeCare, Brooke’s Homecare, and Caring Partners, all providers of private-duty home healthcare services. The acquisitions expanded the Company’s footprint in the New Jersey market and established its presence in the attractive Connecticut market. Caring People continues to actively look for complementary add-on acquisitions of home healthcare agencies.

Please contact Greg Barr or Andrew Gustafson of Silver Oak for additional information.

Silver Oak invests in business, consumer and healthcare services companies in the lower middle market, typically with EBITDA of $3 million to $20 million.