CRAIN’S CLEVELAND BUSINESS
MARCH 11-17, 2013
REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK BEHIND THE NEWS WITH CRAIN’S WRITERS
MARCH 4 - 10
Falls makes leap into investor relations
The big story: A. Schulman Inc. of Akron, a
■ Falls Communications is launching an investor relations practice to meet growing demand from companies that want to reach the investment community while navigating ever-changing technology and regulations, and it has hired an executive who led the IR practice of a competitor to do just that. Rob Berick, who worked for Dix & Eaton in Cleveland for 11 years and led its IR practice for three years, joined Falls, a Cleveland-based pub- Berick lic relations and marketing communications firm, as a managing director in late January. The formation of the IR practice is driven by the frequency with which Falls found itself turning down requests to do investor relations for clients, said Rob Falls, Falls president and CEO. “It’s been a missing piece,” Mr. Falls said. The new practice offers investor engagement strategy and counsel, quarterly and annual reporting and market intelligence. The firm also will help clients manage the flow of information during high-stakes special situations such as proxy contests, shareholder activism campaigns and merger and acquisition activity. Now is “the perfect time” to launch an IR practice, Mr. Falls said, given that the firm anticipates more activity this year in terms of mergers and acquisitions and companies
maker of resins and plastic compounds, made a hostile bid to acquire specialty chemicals maker Ferro Corp. in Mayfield Heights for about $855 million, including debt. Under the proposal made to Ferro’s board, A. Schulman would pay $6.50 a share for all of Ferro’s common stock outstanding. Payment would consist of $3.25 in cash and $3.25 of A. Schulman common stock for each Ferro share. See more, Page 3.
Head of the class: The headquarters of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District stands to become a hotel after Drury Hotels of St. Louis was deemed the winning bidder in an auction of the building in downtown Cleveland that sits across from the underSTAN BULLARD construction Cleveland Convention Center. The $4.5 million bid of Drury’s DSW Inns LLC bet the closest competitor’s offer of $4.35 million. Reflecting on the new prize his company won after placing the high bid in the March 7 auction of the 1930-vintage school headquarters, Rick Drury of the family-owned Drury Hotels said, “This fits perfectly with our portfolio of historic hotels.”
New McDonald: The Cuyahoga County-subsidized MetroHealth System appointed Thomas McDonald — founder of McDonald Partners LLC, a brokerage and investment advisory firm in Cleveland — as its new board chairman. Mr. McDonald, who was appointed to the health system’s board in 2008, replaces Ronald Fountain, who had served as the board’s chairman since 2010. Public-private partnership: Northeast Ohio Medical University and the private Hiram College signed an agreement that will allow the two Portage County institutions to work together to produce new physicians. NEOMED and Hiram will work in tandem to recruit students who want a liberal arts education that leads to a medical degree. Officials expect the program to yield up to five students per year beginning in fall 2014. Gone too soon: Telemarketer InfoCision Management Corp. said its founder, Gary L. Taylor, died March 3, at age 59. His death came just over three years since he initially fell ill after a heart attack in 2009. Mr. Taylor spent his entire life in Akron. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Akron, which is where he met his wife of 34 years, Karen. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor later became large donors to the university; the football stadium bears the InfoCision name, and their $3.5 million donation established The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at the school. Change at the top:
Great Lakes Science Center named a museum and STEM education veteran as its new president. The board of the Cleveland institution said Kirsten Ellenbogen will take over as president starting May 6. She replaces Linda Abraham-Silver, who announced last July that she would step down due to family health issues. Dr. Ellenbogen has worked at five museums during the last two decades. Most recently, she served as senior director for lifelong learning at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Another new GM?: Cleveland beat out Buffalo as the shooting location for “Draft Day,” a football-themed movie starring Kevin Costner and directed by Ivan Reitman. The movie, which was to depict Mr. Costner as a fictitious Buffalo Bills general manager trying to restore his team to past glory, now will be shot in Cleveland instead, with the actor portraying the Cleveland Browns’ GM.
going public. Mr. Berick said in an age where information is coming “at the speed of light,” it’s important for companies “to be aware of what’s influencing your valuation and to make sure you’ve established a credible channel direct to market for yourself.” Falls is talking with a couple people it may hire to join its IR team, Mr. Falls said. Volume of work will dictate when additions to the team are made, he noted. — Michelle Park
Chicago’s BMO looks to deal with Ohio car dealers ■ Drawn by the hundreds of car dealerships and six “nice-size” markets in Ohio, BMO Harris Bank has expanded its dealership finance team into the state by snagging a FirstMerit Bank executive. Brad Isaly’s reputation preceded him, said Ghram Debes, managing director and head of dealership finance for BMO Harris, a Chicago-based institution with $91 billion in assets. “When (we) talked to dealers and industry contacts, his name kept coming up,” Mr. Debes said. “He’s got industry expertise. He’s got many industry contacts. He’s very well-liked.” Mr. Isaly, who most recently was vice president in wholesale dealer service for FirstMerit, assumed his new role as BMO Harris’ vice president of dealership finance in January, but the hiring wasn’t announced until late February. Working from an Akron home office, Mr. Isaly is responsible for developing full-service banking relationships with domestic and
The rich get richer — literally
PRODUCT: Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 crane All Erection & Crane has fortified its fleet with the acquisition of seven Liebherr cranes, including the new LTM 1750-9.1., a 900-ton, all-terrain crane. The company says this is the second crane of its type to come to the United States and it “looks to be a game-changer for large mobile cranes, both on the road and on the job site.” The Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 is a nine-axle, 18-wheeler that offers “unprecedented mobility, transportability, and quick assembly — all on a chassis no longer than that of a 600-ton crane,” according to All Erection. It can travel at less than 155,000 pounds GVW (gross vehicle weight) by removing the complete telescopic boom, the upper engine and the rear outriggers. When the crane reaches a job site, “the shorter but strongerthan-average boom can be self-installed with the aid of an auxiliary rolling power pack and without the use of a specialized boom launch trailer,” the company says. The crane “will be a boon in wind farm work, where it can take over the job of a typical 900-ton crawler with greater directional mobility along with the ability to traverse uneven, rutted, and often muddy terrain,” according to the company. For information, visit www.allcrane.com.
Setting sail on a river of his own ■ Here’s a sign things are looking up in the commercial real estate lending arena: Mark Vogel, a 10-year veteran of Pinnacle Financial Group, has exited the mortgage brokerage firm to start his own outfit, RiverCore Capital. Mr. Vogel said he felt it was a good time to launch his own ship. “Risk is minimal and reward is substantial,” said Mr. Vogel, who has set up shop in an office in the 55 Public Square building in downtown Cleveland. Mr. Vogel said he also wanted to work downtown rather than remain in the suburbs: Pinnacle is based in Independence. RiverCore will offer commercial loanplacement services and, if needed, help raise equity. Mr. Vogel said he has worked on projects that needed loans totaling billions of dollars at Pinnacle for a developerclient list including Wolstein Group, First Interstate Properties and Geis Cos. — Michelle Park
BEST OF THE BLOGS Excerpts from recent blog entries on CrainsCleveland.com.
COMPANY: All Erection & Crane Rental Corp., Cleveland
import dealers in Ohio, southeast Michigan and western Pennsylvania, Mr. Debes said. Akron marks the 10th market in which BMO Harris’ dealership finance team has an office. Mr. Debes said other large financial institutions are expanding their dealership finance teams, too, given the economy’s improvement and auto dealer performance following the recession and the bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors. “You see financial institutions becoming more attracted to this type of business,” he said. — Michelle Park
■ It was a good year for billionaires, according to the latest Forbes.com list of people who measure their wealth in 10 figures. There are a record 1,426 billionaires globally, up 16% from 1,226 last year, and their average net worth rose to $3.8 billion from $3.7 billion. Added together, Forbes.com said, the total net worth for this year’s billionaires is $5.4 trillion, up 17% from $4.6 trillion last year. The United States leads the list, with 442 billionaires, followed by Asia-Pacific (386) and Europe (366). Ohio lists only three billionaires: retail magnate Leslie Wexner of Columbus, at No. 276 on the list with a fortune of $4.5 billion; Dayton’s Clayton Mathile, who built a pet food empire that made him worth $1.9 billion, No. 792 on the list; and Denise DeBartolo York of Youngstown, who has a fortune worth $1.1 billion, good for No. 1,268 on the list, stemming from her real estate holdings. Cleveland sports team owners Dan Gilbert (No. 348 on the list, worth $3.5 billion) and Jimmy Haslam (No. 831, worth $1.8 billion) are listed in their home states of Michigan and Tennessee, respectively. The world’s richest person, once again, is Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who is worth $73 billion. No. 2 on the list, and the richest American, is Bill Gates, whose fortune is at $67 billion.
No foolin’ ■ Lincoln Electric Co., the Euclid-based
maker of welding equipment, landed on the new Motley Fool list of America’s 25 best public companies. The Fool said it analyzed data for more than 1,700 companies to come up with the elite 25, measured by “their success in serving investors, customers, employees and the world at large.” Here’s how the website described some of Lincoln Electric’s virtues: “No one has been laid off for more than 65 years,” according to Motley Fool. “Holding onto its experienced work force allows Lincoln to retain the human capital it has trained and developed, saving it from having to reinvest in bringing new employees up to speed. “Lincoln Electric makes its products an essential part of its customers’ work. By keeping its equipment easy to use yet effective for the multiple purposes it must serve, Lincoln Electric builds loyalty among those who use its products, making it more likely that they’ll come back as repeat customers.”
Freeze frame ■ The Cleveland Cavaliers are among the early adopters of a gaming app from Krossover, a New York City-based startup, that lets the user freeze real basketball video action — and then guess how the play ends. The app “obviously could be used simply for recreation,” USA Today reported. But it’s being tested by the Cavs to analyze their play as well as evaluate opponents. Cavaliers analytics head Ben Alamar tells the newspaper that the app has “the added benefits of forcing players to watch film.” USA Today said Krossover hopes to go on to create similar apps for sports such as football and soccer. The app also was demonstrated at the recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston.
March 11 -17, 2013 issue