Past Dealmaker Award Recipients

2020 Dealmakers Award Recipients

2020 Deal of the Year
SmartSweets Inc.

The 2020 Deal of the Year award went to SmartSweets Inc., in recognition of its majority stake sale to TPG Growth. SmartSweets is a Vancouver-based better-for-you candy brand that offers customers innovative alternatives to traditional candy products with 87-92 percent less sugar than traditional candy. Founded by Tara Bosch in her kitchen in 2016, SmartSweets’ growth has been incredible, with revenue growing from approximately $15.6 million in 2018, to more than $50 million in 2019, and expected $100 million in 2020. Tara led SmartSweets through the transaction, along with board chair Judy Brooks.

The transaction attracted tremendous interest from a long list of domestic and international private equity and strategic acquirors. SmartSweets was represented by Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP with a team led by Ally Bharmal and Iain Mant. The transaction was executed largely during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding complexity to the negotiations, and was ultimately completely very swiftly following selection of the winning bidder. Financial advisor Piper Sandler also assisted the SmartSweets team.

The acquisition was a landmark transaction in the food and beverage industry, and has further cemented Vancouver and British Columbia as a breeding ground for innovative and successful companies in this area.

2020 Deal of the Year Finalist
Clevest Solutions Inc.

ACG BG is also pleased to recognize Clevest Solutions Inc. and its founder Thomas Ligocki on a very successful exit transaction in its sale to IFS AB.  Tom started Clevest approximately 16 years ago and engineered a sale benefitting over 150 shareholders. The Clevest team was guided by legal counsel at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP with a team led by Shahrooz Nabavi, and by financial advisor Fort Capital Partners with a team led by Mike Burtch.

 

2020 Deal of the Year Finalist

Forewest Holdings Inc.

ACG BC also recognizes Forewest Holdings Inc. in its sale to Rx Drug Mart Inc.  Forewest is also a long time growth story with CEO Don Fraser, and his father before him, completing over 30 pharmacy acquisitions since the early 80s.  Forewest was assisted by legal counsel at Buckley Hogan Law Office with a team led by Steven Mangat and by Deloitte Corporate Finance Inc. with a team led by Jason Ding.

 

2020 Dealmaker of the Year
Carl Vanderspek, Trailer Wizards / the 625 Powell Street Foundation

The 2020 Dealmaker of the Year is Carl Vanderspek. Carl started Trailer Wizards in 1963 with the purchase of a single trailer.  He grew the business both organically and through over 25 acquisitions to a fleet of more than 24,000 trailers.  The sale of Trailer Wizards in late December 2019 did not, however, represent the end of Carl’s impact on British Columbia, as he has earmarked more than 90% of the proceeds from the sale for funding the 625 Powell Street Foundation that he started.

The 625 Powell Street Foundation invests in real estate and has provided multiple not-for-profit entities a place to reside, free of charge, in the face of rising real estate costs in Vancouver. The Foundation’s work includes assistance with the BC Center for Excellence’s launch of Hope to Health Research and Innovation Centre in the DTES of Vancouver, providing accessible healthcare to patients with complex healthcare needs, including HIV. Through his gift to the Foundation, Carl will leverage his success in building a great BC middle market company into generational personal prosperity for those who benefit from the Foundation’s work.

Trailer Wizards was assisted in its sale transaction by financial advisor Kellie Manchester at Sequeira Partners, and legal counsel Nathan Daniels at Mogan Daniels Slager LLP.

2019 Dealmakers Award Recipients

2019 Deal of The Year Award

PDFTron Systems Inc. 

Catherine Andersz (CEO & Co-Founder) and Ivan Nincic (CTO & Founder), PDFTron Systems Inc.
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Deloitte Corporate Finance Inc. / Deloitte LLP

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, BC, PDFTron Systems Inc. is a leading document processing technology provider, enabling digital transformation as part of enterprise and commercial applications by offering a full-fledged document processing, conversion, viewing and collaboration platform for PDF, MS Office, CAD and other digital documents. Additionally, PDFTron’s latest B2C offering, XODO, is one of the top-rated and fastest growing document productivity applications and is used by millions of users world-wide. PDFTron had not previously raised any third party debt or taken on outside investors to fuel growth. Led by the company's two co-founders, PDFTron bootstrapped its way to one of the largest technology deals in Canada and received significant industry spotlight on its success.

PDFTron is a prime example of the high caliber companies Vancouver has in its growing technology hub. The deal showcases that Vancouver home-grown technology companies can compete on a global scale, attract international investor appetite from top tier-1 investors and shape the future of the technology industry in Canada and globally.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP acted for PDFTron Systems Inc. as M&A counsel with a team that included Blair Horn (M&A), Geoff Pedlow (M&A), Michael Coburn (Tax), KC Miu (Banking), Dierk Ullrich (Corporate), Gosia Piasecka (M&A), Matthew Larsen (Employment) and Laura Smith (Real Estate).

Deloitte acted as exclusive financial advisor, ran a competitive process and provided key transactional advice to PDFTron Systems Inc, with a M&A team led by Doug Beaton, Sandra Suh, David Lam, Louisa Yeung, Liza Akhvledziani, and Kevin Zhao, and a Tax team led by Philippe Montillaud.

2019 Deal of The Year Award Finalist

Primex Technologies Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Smart, President & CEO, Primex Technologies Inc.
Joe Lucke and Steve Hnatiuk, Managing Partners, Lighthouse Equity Partners
Greg Hollingsworth, Partner, Corporate, M&A and Private Equity, Lawson Lundell LLP
Jim Crooks, Managing Director & Partner, Consulting & Deals, PwC Corporate Finance

Primex Technologies Inc. was acquired by Lighthouse Equity Partners in late 2014 in partnership with Primex management.  Lighthouse and its management partners developed a focused growth strategy, and invested strategically, to put in place the resources that would build Langley-based Primex into North America’s leading innovator of “connectivity infrastructure” products. Within four years, Primex grew significantly, doubling the business that had taken the previous four decades to build. The Primex team expanded to nearly 150 and sales expanded aggressively into the US broadband carrier market.

Today, Primex is the category leader in connectivity infrastructure products. Primex sets the market standard for the most extensive, innovative, integrated suite of products utilized by the world’s leading broadband carriers as they seek efficiency in how their network components are installed, enclosed, connected, and managed to service the modern smart home needs of their subscribers.

Exceptionally well positioned for continued growth, innovation, and market leadership, Primex was acquired in 2019 by Oldcastle Infrastructure, a division of European multi-national CRH Plc., the largest building materials company in North America.

 

 

2019 Dealmaker of The Year Award

Amin Shivji, Founder & CEO, 123 Dentist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Amin Shivji spearheaded the launch of the 123Dentist National Platform in July 2017. The company is a majority dentist-owned, Canadian dental support organization with practices across the country and offices in Vancouver and Toronto. Dr. Shivji is the CEO and an experienced operator of dental practices, having opened his first practice in 1993. Supported by his executive team – Chris Fregren, Ali Bozorgzad, and Aaron Lipton - Dr. Shivji has led the development of the National Platform through leveraging a deep understanding of the BC market and expanding nationally. In their two short years since the foundation of the National Platform, 123Dentist has completed more than 60 deals to acquire close to 80 dental practices up to September 30, 2019, with over 30 acquisitions in the 2018 calendar year alone. To accelerate their growth strategy, 123Dentist successfully raised CA$425 million, including $300 million in committed growth capital and a further $125 million accessible from both equity and debt partners.

2019 Dealmaker of The Year Award Finalist

Tony Hayes, CEO, Waypoint Insurance

 

Waypoint Insurance traces its roots back over one hundred years to several small family owned brokerages located in Northern Vancouver Island which subsequently merged into Vancouver Island Insurance Centres Ltd. The company was widely held by its employees and concentrated on the Vancouver Island market. Tony Hayes joined Waypoint Insurance Services as President in 2014 with the mandate to grow the company. Tony and the entire team undertook a number of initiatives including rebranding to the Waypoint name, completing a number of broker acquisitions on Vancouver Island and in Metro Vancouver and redefined their working relationships with both insurance markets and other suppliers. The net results were Waypoint was able to double revenues and profits over a four year period. 2019 marked the culmination of Waypoint’s entrepreneurial story in a sale to Navacord, a leading Canadian brokerage, which resulted in a financial payoff to the 30 employee shareholders that far surpassed their expectations.

2018 Dealmakers Award Recipients

2018 Deal of The Year Award

Agreement Express Inc.

CEO, Mike Gardner


Advisors

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Raymond James Ltd.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Deloitte LLP

 

 

 

 

Agreement Express Inc. is a Vancouver, BC-based leading provider of a SaaS based onboarding automation platform for financial services. Frontier Capital, A North Carolina based private equity firm, acquired control of Agreement Express Inc. through a plan of arrangement in May 2018 for a purchase price representing a return to shareholders of approximately 6.5x invested capital.

 

Critical to this deal being completed was the participation of Agreement Express' Chief Financial Officer, Brad Carlyle. With a very large base of shareholders, and a complex multi-jurisdictional operating structure, Brad completed the most complex components of due diligence and disclosure. This deal was also completed by a very small deal team, which depended highly on Mr. Carlyle's attention to detail and his energy.

 

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP acted for Agreement Express with a team that included Iain Mant, Martin Ferreira Pinho and Gosia Piasecka (corporate), Mike Coburn (tax), Tracey Cohen (litigation) and Karam Bayrakal (IP).

Raymond James Ltd. acted as exclusive financial advisor. Raymond James formed a cross-border team led by Sean Martin (Toronto) and Steve Hufford (St. Petersburg, Florida).

McCarthy Tétrault LLP acted for certain management shareholders of Agreement Express, with a team that included Ted Koffman (corporate), Bosa Kosoric (corporate) and Monique Ronning (employment).

Deloitte LLP assisted Agreement Express with certain structuring and tax matters, with a team that included Philippe Montillaud (M&A and tax) and David Mueller (tax).

 

2018 Dealmaker of The Year Award

Alistair Cook, President & CEO

BID Group Holdings Ltd.

 

In addition to leading BID through five transformative growth transactions over the past three years (including $125M in acquisitions, strategic partnerships and capital programs, as well as the completion of debt and equity financings in excess of $100M). Alistair is the driving force behind BID's strategy to automate and introduce Al into the wood processing sector.

"Alistair has an exceptional ability to connect with each and every member of the BID team, from the shop floor through to the boardroom of BID's major customers, and a large part of BID's success can be attributed to these leadership and communication skills."

 

David Schellenberg, Highland West Capital Ltd.

2017 Dealmakers Award Recipients

2017 Deal of The Year Award

Daiya Foods Inc.

Terry Tierney, CEO, Daiya Foods Inc.

Ally Bharmal, Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Rick Kohn, Partner, Deloitte LLP

Janica Lane, Managing Director, Consumer Investment Banking, Piper Jaffray

 

Dealmaker of the Year Award Recipient

Elana Rosenfeld, Co-founder and CEO

Kicking Horse Coffee Co. Ltd

 

2016 Dealmakers Award Recipients

2016 Deal of The Year Award

Scott McIntosh, President, Coastal Pacific Xpress (CPX)

Advisor: Deloitte Corporate Finance

Tim Berman, President

Fluxwerx Illumination

Advisor: Mogan Daniels Slager LLP

 

2015 Dealmakers Award Recipients

Dealmakers of The Year Award Recipient

Stuart Suls, President & CEO, Mr. Lube Canada LP

Advisor: PWC Corporate Finance

Kevin McElroy, President, Nuheat Industries
Neil Johansen, Managing Partner, Fulcrum Capital Partners

Advisor: Lazard Middle Market


ACG Leadership Award Recipient Recipient

Hugh Notman, Managing Partner

CCC Investment Banking

 

2014 Dealmakers Award Recipients

Dealmakers of The Year Award Recipient

Richard Harris of Golden Boy Foods Ltd. and Rob Wildeman of Tricor Pacific Capital

Advisor: Lazard Middle Market

Jeff Hart Can-Sure Underwriting Ltd.

Advisor: Capital West Partners

 

ACG Builders Award Recipient

Doug Cruikshank of The Cruikshank Advisory Group Ltd.

 

2013 Dealmakers Award Recipients


Dealmakers of The Year Award Recipient

Robert Miller, President & CEO, PRT Growing Services Ltd.

John Anderson, President, Chairman & CEO, The Oppenheimer Group


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Rod Senft, Tricor Pacific Capital

 

2012 Dealmakers Award Recipients


Dealmakers of The Year Award Recipient

Elana Rosenfeld, Kicking Horse Coffee
Ed Yurowski and Jim Dales, Procon Mining and Tunnelling Group
Martin Bates and David Chapman, Crossroads C&I Distributors

 

2011 Dealmakers Award Recipients


Dealmakers of The Year Award Recipient

Leroy Reitsma and Doug Beckman, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group
Rick McClymont and David Taft, Britco Group
Shannon Susko, Subserveo Inc.

 

2010 Dealmakers Award Recipients


Dealmakers of The Year Award Recipient
Brad Miller, IMW Industries
Joseph Calvano, Dollar Giant
Jack Lee, 4Refuel