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Norwest Equity Partners Acquires Marco Inc.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015  
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Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), a middle-market investment firm, has announced its acquisition of BTA member Marco Inc. The transaction closed Oct. 30, 2015; financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 1973 as "The Typewriter Shop" in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Marco maintains its corporate headquarters there and operates additional offices throughout the Midwest. It supplies a wide array of technology-focused products and services that support customers from planning and design through implementation and support, including copiers/MFPs/printers, business IT services, managed services, hosted/cloud services, carrier services, phone systems, document management and audio/video systems. Positioned to be the key technology partner for its customers' comprehensive network service needs, Marco focuses primarily on the small- to medium-sized business channel and operates three distinct business divisions: copier/printer, IT and carrier services.

For the last 28 years, Marco has been owned by an employee stock ownership retirement plan (ESOP). The company's strong client- and employee-focused culture has contributed to its ongoing success, and Marco, in partnership with NEP, plans to sustain that culture through its next phase of growth. NEP's capital is a significant milestone for Marco and will be used to help the company fuel and achieve strategic growth initiatives, including penetrating new customer channels, enhancing its current market position, expanding geographically via acquisitions and augmenting its technology capabilities.

"We will continue to operate as we always have," said Jeff Gau, CEO, Marco. "Our company name, office locations and leadership team will stay the same, our corporate headquarters will remain in St. Cloud, and we will continue our ongoing commitment to being a good corporate citizen within the communities we serve and create even more opportunities for our people to build great careers."

"Our firm has extensive experience working with companies like Marco, and we are excited to partner with Jeff Gau and his management team to help them continue growing and building into an even stronger company," said
Tim DeVries, managing general partner, NEP. "Jeff is an innovative thought-leader who knows how to not only execute, but create value. Marco's leadership, culture and customer-centric approach were key investment drivers for us. We also appreciate our shared Minnesota roots and long history in our respective businesses. Our partnership with Marco is a great fit."

Founded in 1961, NEP is an equity investment firm that focuses on partnering with companies to build them into industry leaders. As one of the largest and oldest equity investment firms in the upper Midwest, NEP has a longstanding history of investment and operational success, experience working with family-owned businesses and an extensive network of resources.

"These were all attractive attributes we considered in selecting the right partner for our next phase of growth," Gau said. "It was also important to us that NEP shares a common value system and style as it relates to our business. We have built a strong culture at Marco and we'll continue to provide our clients with the innovative technology solutions and outstanding service they have come to rely on us for."

NEP's experience within the technology and business services sector also complements its investment in Marco. Representative NEP investments within the sector include: Welocalize, GoHealth, Cyber Risk Management, Surgical Information Systems, Amcom Software, Mitchell, PeopleNet and Rosetta Stone.

Serving more than 25,000 customers through 920 employees in 42 locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska, Marco has built a track record of growth, customer retention and successful acquisitions. In the past three years, Marco has acquired 15 companies and added 430 employees to its workforce. The company has plans to build a 30,000-square-foot building adjacent to its St. Cloud corporate headquarters next year to support its continued growth.

"As we continue to expand into other markets, the number of technical support people that work out of our St. Cloud headquarters will increase and more jobs will be created," Gau said.

Chartwell Capital Solutions served as financial advisor to Marco, and Lindquist & Vennum served as legal counsel to NEP on this transaction. Financing was provided by Antares Capital, Ally Corporate Finance, BMO Capital Markets and Norwest Mezzanine Partners. Tim DeVries, Tom Schauerman, Andrew Cantwell and Kevin Torgerson from NEP will serve on Marco's board of directors.

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