Deal Watch: Oregon’s M&A ice thaws a bit

fishSave for a month or two earlier this year and a couple big-name deals involving the likes of Mentor Graphics, SurveyMonkey and InFocus, the merger and acquisition front in Oregon has been relatively quiet in 2009.

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By Jon Bell

Save for a month or two earlier this year and a couple big-name deals involving the likes of Mentor Graphics, SurveyMonkey and InFocus, the merger and acquisition front in Oregon has been relatively quiet in 2009.

But in October, the M&A tills began to ring with much more frequency, signaling, perhaps, the return of a little livelier scene.

“Things are picking up,” says Carmen Calzacorta, a shareholder and leader of the general business group at the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt law firm in Portland. “The first quarter was definitely quiet, but people started talking again in the second quarter. What we’re seeing now may be the result of those conversations.”

The economic slowdown and the credit lockup likely thwarted plenty of deals in discussion late last year, Calzacorta says, and that made for a slow start to 2009. In addition, any firms that were making layoffs or otherwise struggling back in the first quarter were in no position to be acquiring much of anything.

What came to the surface in October was a range of transactions, from straight-ahead buys, like FLIR Systems’ $42 million purchase of Pennsylvania’s OmniTech Partners, to strategic partnerships and joint ventures, such as Asante Health System transferring its home health unit to the California company AccentCare.

Calzacorta notes that health care and technology continue to be “the darlings” in Oregon, and that because the state has very few big companies, businesses here are often more the seller than the buyer.

Along the same lines, even though some access to financing has been restored and renewed activity is expected to stick around, cash, rather than the debt that many Oregon companies rely on, is still king in the M&A world.

“It’s the companies who have access to cash who are going to continue to be the ones to make these kinds of deals,” she says.

$276MQ4Kimberly-Clark (TX)AcryMed (Beaverton)/I-Flow (CA)10/9
$82MQ4Mentor Graphics (Wilsonville)Valor Computerized Systems (Israel)10/12
$42MQ4FLIR Systems (Portland)OmniTech Partners (PA)10/21
$39MQ4Tektronix/Danaher (Washington, D.C.)Sypris Test & Measurement/Sypris Solutions (KY)10/26
NDQ4AccentCare(CA)Asante Health System’s home health unit (Medford)10/26
NDQ4Global Payments (GA)Auctionpay (Portland)10/6
NDQ4EID Passport (Portland)C&H Patriot Security (VA)10/12
NDQ4Haney Truck Line (WA)Nickel Plate Express (Eugene)/Puget Sound Freight Lines (WA)10/13
NDQ4Precision Castparts (Portland)Carlton Forge Works (CA) and Arcturus Manufacturing (CA)10/6
NDQ4Recology (CA)Ashland Sanitary Service (Ashland)10/13
NDQ4Schnitzer Steel (Portland)Six auto part facilities from LKQ (IL)10/2
NDQ4Kibble & Prentice/USI Holdings (WA)USI Northwest (Portland)/USI Holdings (WA)10/29
NDQ4Vertigo Digital Displays (Wilsonville)Digital division of Vertigo Group (Toronto, Canada)10/27
NDQ4Viasystems (MO)Merix (Forest Grove)10/8
$155M (private placement)West Coast Bancorp (Lake Oswego)/Robert SznewajsPrivate investors10/26
$150M (corporate bond sale)PGE (Portland) Jim PiroInstitutional buyers10/1
$65M (private placement)Cascade Bancorp (Bend)/Patricia MossDavid Bolger (NJ) and Lightyear Fund II (NY)10/29
$48.3M (stock offering)Pacific Continental (Eugene)/Hal BrownPrivate investors10/21
$46M (stock offering)Lithia Motors (Medford)/Sidney DeBoerPrivate investors10/13
$28M (NOAA marine operations center contract)Andersen-WCC (Portland)/David AndersenPort of Newport10/22
$16.2M (defense and aerospace contract)TriQuint Semiconductor (Hillsboro)/Ralph QuinseyU.S. Defense Department10/20
$12M (series B)Jive Software (Portland)/Dave HershSequoia Capital (CA)10/20
$4.4M (biomedical and public health research grants)Oregon Research Institute (Eugene)/Cynthia GuinnNational Institutes of Health10/14
$4M (laser contract)nLight Photonics (Vancouver)/Scott KeeneyU.S. Defense Department10/6
$2.3M (venture capital)Clinicient (Portland)/Jim PlymaleVillage Ventures (MA), Highway 12 (ID), Capybara Ventures (Portland), et al.10/13
$2M (communication systems contract)Microsemi Power Products Group (Bend)/James PetersonU.S. Defense Department10/14
$1M (wave and wind energy stimulus funds)Renewable Energy Composite Solutions (Vancouver)/Joe FoggiaFederal government10/8
$1M (bridge contract)Landis and Landis (Marylhurst)/Lance and Thane LandisODOT10/2
$120,000 (venture prize)Precision Plant Systems (Corvallis)/Larry PlotkinBend Venture Conference10/17
ND (web site contract)Concentric Sky (Eugene)/Wayne SkipperMichael Moore (MI)10/10
$12.2MPrivate investorsLondon Flats apartments (Vancouver)/Unnamed bankruptcy trustee10/9
$5.3MJacques Ventures(CA)178,000-sq.-ft. industrial building (Hillsboro)/Equastone Evergreen (CA)10/23
$4MA-1 Hospitality (Pendleton)Columbia Gorge Hotel (Hood River)/ ShoreBank Pacific (WA)10/23
$1.5MPort of Toledo (Toledo)4-acre marine boatyard (Toledo)/Fred Wahl Marine (Toledo)10/6