CLE equity firm riverside continues to make deals, grow staff

The Riverside Company is experiencing its strongest fourth quarter in the company's 22-year history. That, in addition to snagging Mergers & Acquisitions Journal's recent designation as "Private Equity Firm of the Year."

"It has been a remarkably busy time," admits Graham Hearns, director of marketing and communications for the Cleveland-based private equity firm. "We've had four or five acquisitions and a couple of business exits so far, and we could have as many as six or seven more transactions in the next two weeks."

Hearns attributes this growth to lenders once again offering money to businesses and to more realistic buyer and seller expectations.

For Riverside, this meant moving forward with company acquisitions that it has been researching in the midst of an economic downturn. "During the whole global financial crisis we never came to a standstill," Hearns says. "We are generalists, so we like to window shop."

Riverside has found success in maintaining its general portfolio while also beefing up two key areas of company acquisitions: healthcare and education and training. The company's latest investment is G&H Wire Company, a Franklin, Indiana-based manufacturer and supplier of orthodontic products. G&H becomes Riverside's 49th healthcare transaction. Overall, Riverside has made more than 200 acquisitions of companies with $200 million or less in enterprise value.

Riverside has 19 offices around the world, but Cleveland continues to be its largest with about 50 employees. "There's been a continuous growth of the Cleveland team," Hearns says, adding that Riverside hired about six new people in 2010 and expects to add about the same amount in the next year or so.

SOURCE: The Riverside Company
WRITER: Diane DiPiero
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