Cascadia Capital Advises on Five Transactions Worth Over $200 Million during the First Five Months of 2010

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Deals Indicate Increased Transactional Activity and Improving Valuations

Cash strength definitely played a role here.

Cascadia Capital, LLC, a national investment banking firm servicing emerging growth and middle-market companies in Information Technology, Sustainable Industries and the Middle Market, announced today that the firm has advised on five M&A transactions between January and May 2010.

The five deals are split between Cascadia's Information Technology and Middle-Market Practices. Cascadia represented:

  •     Picnik in its acquisition by Google
  •     Veriteq in its acquisition by Vaisala
  •     Ascentium's CRM Division in its acquisition by Avanade
  •     Prime Alliance Solutions in its acquisition of Dexma
  •     Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA) in its acquisition of Evigna

"We believe these transactions indicate that the M&A market is improving after a very challenging 2009," says Mike Orbach, Managing Director at Cascadia Capital.

These transactions also demonstrate the financial muscle and influence that industry leaders still possess, despite the economic downturn of the past 12-18 months. Additionally, one of the transactions demonstrates that offshore entities are still willing to pay a significant premium to gain a foothold in the U.S. market.

Here are overviews of the five M&A transactions recently advised by Cascadia's Information Technology and Middle-Market Practices:

Picnik is Acquired by Google

Seattle-based Picnik, a provider of online photo editing services, has been acquired by the online giant Google Inc. Picnik experienced significant customer traction and a few weeks prior to the deal closing the company announced that it had surpassed more than one billion images edited on the site.

The transaction brings together Picnik's online photo editing capabilities with Google's existing Picasa offering, to create a one-stop-shop for photo editing, storage and sharing.

Picnik is one of the fastest growing photo sites on the web with approximately 17 million unique visitors per month. The company provides powerful, cloud-based photo editing tools that integrate directly into many of the leading photo sharing sites such as Flickr, SmugMug and others.

Veriteq is Acquired by Vaisala

Vancouver-based Veriteq Instruments, a designer of environmental monitoring, alarming and validation solutions for the life sciences industry has been acquired by Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement.

The transaction expands the customer base and product and service offerings of Vaisala's Controlled Environment business area.

Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs over 1,400 professionals worldwide and is listed on the Nordic Stock Exchange.

Avanade Acquires the CRM Division of Ascentium

Seattle-based Avanade, provides business technology services in Microsoft technologies, acquires the CRM division of Bellevue-based Ascentium Corporation, which uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a platfom to build specific, tailored applications that track information and processes related to real-world entities.

The transaction brings together the two leaders in delivering Microsoft CRM, the fastest growing segment in the category, and a critical tool for influencing sales of Microsoft Dynamics seat licenses.

Ascentium is a digital marketing agency that entered the CRM market through the acquisition of Invoke Systems in 2007. At the time of sale, Ascentium had the largest dedicated Microsoft Dynamics CRM practice in the world.

Founded in 2000 as a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture, Avanade is the premier technology integrator for Microsoft solutions in the enterprise. It currently serves customers in more than 24 countries worldwide and has more than 9,700 professionals.

"This transaction was a win-win for all parties," says Orbach, which represented Ascentium in the transaction. "Avanade becomes the dominant CRM player in Microsoft stack; Ascentium's shareholders enjoy a strategic premium on the sale of the business; and Microsoft instantly becomes more competitive against Oracle, Salesforce.com, and other incumbent and emerging enterprise resource planning software platforms."

Prime Alliance Solutions to Acquire Dexma

Tukwila- based Prime Alliance Solutions, the credit union industry's leading provider of mortgage lending solutions, is merging with Dexma, the mortgage industry's premier developer of mortgage lending technologies.

Founded in 2000, Prime alliance is an affiliated company of Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU). The combined business provides a paperless and real-time mortgage lending platform which dramatically improves the business process efficiencies for mortgage lenders, and the customer experience for users. The solution handles more the 35% of all credit union originations annually.

"This transaction is a major strategic move forward for Prime Alliance Solutions and Dexma, which now can fully integrate their best-of-breed solutions and skill sets to expand the market opportunity even more dramatically for the combined business, and deliver additional world-class solutions to the financial and mortgage industry," says Christian Schiller, Managing Director at Cascadia Capital, which represented Prime Alliance Solutions in this transaction.

Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA) Acquires Evigna

Woodinville, WA-based Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (BDA), a leading promotional products agency and one of Washington State's largest and most admired private companies, acquired Evigna, a Detroit-based branding and merchandising firm.

With more than 500 employees and 27 locations worldwide, BDA serves top-tier clients such as Bank of America, Major League Baseball, and Nintendo Corporation.

"BDA is making a consolidating acquisition, and it's efficiently purchasing new revenue and new accounts," says Bryan Jaffe, Senior Vice President at Cascadia Capital, which represented BDA in the transaction. "Cash strength definitely played a role here."
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Cascadia Capital is a leading independent investment bank, advising companies nationally and internationally, within three industry practice areas - Information Technology, Sustainable Industries and Middle Market. Cascadia Capital provides Merger and Acquisition, Corporate Finance and Strategic Advisory services to private and public companies, always in the long-term interests of its clients, utilizing the firms deep transactional and operational expertise and its far reaching capital markets and corporate relationships.

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