Yarn Queen in Deep Water, SIB Nails Sales This Year and Arrogant Ale Enters Germany


Good Monday Morning. I’m in “La La Land” – Golden Globe winner last night. I was a late bloomer on culture, but came around.

Daylight – Two Acts of God This Weekend – Neither was any significant snow in Atlanta – mostly a heavy dew that glazed over, but it is flooding in Reno, where our member company Jimmy Beans Wool is right in the path of the Reno river that has already breached. Thinking and acting fast on a backup plan, they moved millions of dollars of e-commerce yarn merchandise to the back of U-Haul trucks and will be fulfilling orders in another location today, while their warehouse will be under three feet of water. God saved the Yarn Queen. The other act was strange sounds coming from outer space, but many of us got excited for no reason. It was not spaceship battles or even a Trump tweet, as NBC might suggest. Turns out, it was ordinary physics. An unexpected quirk of a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy is the most likely cause, most prominent astronomers said. Problem is most of the major discoveries, such as Pluto, were discovered by a guy on a hill with a store-bought telescope – sound familiar to a garage?


Style – By the way, this weekend, somebody finally nailed Trump on Twitter – Bernie Sanders. “My tweet is bigger than your tweet.” I heard it’s Ben and Jerry’s. They know a thing or two about branding. 

M&A – Mediafly, a maker of software for salespeople, raised $10 million. Please, check it out, Mike Casey. 


I’m in a hurry this morning, as I’m heading down to South Florida. No, I’m not running from all the snow in Atlanta, but meeting a CEO of a hospital/university to work on an M&A transaction for a member medical enterprise.

Net2Phone has acquired LiveNinja, a Miami-based live messaging and video chat app.

Compuware Corp., a technology performance company, has acquired MVS Solutions, a developer of batch automation software.

Constellation Brands has made minority investments in Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, a Virginia-based gin distillery, and Bardstown Bourbon Company, a Kentucky-based bourbon and rye producer.

Jet.com, through its parent company Walmart Stores Inc., has acquired ShoeBuy, an e-commerce site selling shoes, apparel and accessories, from IAC.

Economics – I did get some good business news during the holidays. Dan Schneider, founder of SIB, said he signed some great deals the final week and got past that excuse “we are going to wait till next year.” Maybe Dan can share with us the sales strategy at Peter Luger Steak House in New York – a lot of our members had sales jams by mid-December.


Live Rounds – When founder Greg Koch opened Stone Brewing and released in 1997, its well known Arrogant Bastard Ale was a revolt against Budweiser and Miller Lite. Twenty years later, he has $200 million in sales and 131 brewing competitors in his own backyard of San Diego. He rode the wave he created until this past October. He laid off 60 employees from a workforce of 1,200. Big Beer would buy him in a heartbeat, but he decided he wanted to stay and not sell.

Buzzard’s Roost – Good decision so far until Koch decided to give in to pressure of bringing in “professional management to take it to the next level” from consulting and banking firms. He hired a CEO who had been CEO of an international division of a $4.3-billion-dollar snack and juice company. I am always the odd man out in this decision, as all other advisers like the idea of the founder swap, mainly to get their guy in – there are lots of dollars at stake on who the CEO will be. Find a Number 2 Who Can Do. Stone Brewing recently entered Berlin – a place with a beer culture so strong in tradition that it’s governed by 500-year-old purity laws that restrict ingredients to only hops, barley, water and yeast. We have to go back as far as Delta Airlines starting the low budget airline Song to match Stone starting a brewery in Germany. I hear adult zero-alcohol beverages in the U.S. market is ripe for a leader. Red Hare’s Root beer is on the money in market and taste. I fancy myself a root beer connoisseur.


Hot – 92 million – Number of subscriptions to music streaming services across the industry, a jump of about 50 percent in 2016.


Culture – Seven and a half weeks until the Oscars, and the best-picture category remains, by most measures, a three-horse race with “La La Land” in the lead, “Manchester by the Sea” nipping at its heels, and “Moonlight” solidly in third. This all could be upended, of course. I like “La La Land.” It was quite Entrepreneurial – a repackaging of “Singing in the Rain.”

Investment Banking – Transom Capital Group has acquired American Driveline Systems, a Horsham, Pa.-based franchisor of the AAMCO and Cottman Transmission & Total Car Care brands, from American Capital.


Hedge Funds – Graphite Capital has agreed to sell Micheldever Tyre Services, a car and motorcycle tire distributor, to Sumitomo Rubber Industries for $265.5 million.


Spotlight – Nashville members Dusty Barker and Bonner Black will be here in Atlanta on January 18 to discuss how they can produce musical/entertainment videos for emerging brands of fast growth companies – think MTV for Entrepreneurs. Nothing better than to get others to sing and dance to your jingle – Teach the World to Sing.


Deal Stream>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


IPO – Frontier Airlines was helped a great deal by Warren Buffett buying his first stock in any airline, but he still said no to this IPO as the company is seeking to raise about $500 million, which would value it at about $2 billion.

Exits – Lincolnshire Management has sold National Pen, a manufacturer and marketer of custom pens, to Cimpress N.V. for around $218 million.

Novacap has sold Oxford Networks, a fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider, to Oak Hill Capital.

Venture Capital – Bitglass, a cloud security access broker, raised $45 million in funding.

AOBiome, a company developing skin products that restore the body’s ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, raised $30 million.

Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, an electronic health record data aggregation and analytics company, raised $30 million in funding.

Payfone, a mobile authentication company, raised $23.5 million.

BlackThorn Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing targeted treatments for neurobehavioral disorders, raised an additional $14 million.


Integrated Diagnostics, a developer of blood-based molecular diagnostics tools, raised $6.1 million.

Blockstack Inc, a developer of blockchain 2.0 applications for the financial services industry, raised $4 million.

Jupiter Orphan Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company developing therapies for rare diseases, raised $2 million.

Sense, a platform that monitors and interprets power usage and activity for appliances and devices in the home, raised an additional $1 million.

Bardy Diagnostics, a developer of a cardiac arrhythmia monitoring devices, raised an undisclosed amount.


Private Equity – Carlyle Group LP is considering selling Nature’s Bounty Co., a nutritional-supplements maker, for as much as $6 billion. Brian Reynolds and Ladell, it’s a layup.

Bain Capital and Advent are close to acquiring Concardis, a debit and credit card payment transaction services company.

Belcan, a supplier of engineering and technical recruiting services to the aerospace, industrial and government services industries, has acquired The Kemtah Group, an IT services management company.

Gauge Capital has acquired Miami Beach Medical Group, an operator of seven Florida medical clinics.

Primus Capital has invested an undisclosed amount in Payspan, a provider of reimbursement solutions to the healthcare industry.

Impact Sales, a sales and marketing agency for companies in the consumer packaged goods industry, has acquired Harlow-HRK Sales & Marketing Inc, a sales and marketing agency.

The Riverside Company and The Silverfern Group have acquired Waste Services Group, a waste management company.


And that’s what’s ahead, Cliff