2019’s Exits and Acquisitions Include Notable DFW Startups and Enterprises

A strong year of M&A activity made headlines for North Texas startups and enterprise companies in 2019.

From entrepreneurs exiting startup ventures to major companies being bought and sold, the mergers and acquisitions activity in North Texas was bustling throughout last year.

While the tech sector recorded many transactions, other sectors such as healthcare, marketing, and real estate also were active.

Here is a look at notable deals from 2019. For more transactions, including 34 exits and 134 funding deals that happened last year in North Texas, visit our online guide.


JANUARY

VaaS International

VaaS International Holdings Inc., a data and image analytics company based in Fort Worth and Livermore, California, was acquired by Chicago-based Motorola Solutions Inc. for $445 million in a combination of cash and equity, Motorola Solutions announced. VaaS, a video-analysis-as-a-service firm, is a global provider of data and image analytics for vehicle location. Its image capture and analysis platform, which it said includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence, provides vehicle location data to public safety and commercial customers.


YourCause

Plano-based YourCause, a leader in enterprise philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, and employee engagement technology, was acquired by Charleston, South Carolina-based Blackbaud, a leading cloud software company that empowers social good, in a deal valued at roughly $157 million. The deal closed on Jan. 2. YourCause is an innovative, flexible, and scalable software provider with a diverse customer portfolio, including Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, according to a release. Roughly 8 million people can engage with YourCause’s solution, which processes more than $245,000 in donations every business hour and has coordinated, tracked, and rewarded more than 30 million volunteer hours, the company stated.


ClearView Risk Holdings

The Amynta Group, a leading group of warranty, managing general agent and specialty risk companies, acquired Dallas-based brokerage ClearView Risk Holdings LLC in January. ClearView controls more $200 million of premium. Terms of the deal were not released. ClearView is the parent holding company for Strata Underwriting Managers, a nationally recognized habitational program designed exclusively for the underwriting and management of multi-dwelling properties, and Southwest Risk LP, a full-service specialty transactional wholesale brokerage platform with expertise in difficult-to-place commercial coverage in both the excess and surplus and specialty admitted marketplace. Headquartered in Dallas, with offices in Fort Worth, Houston, and Tallahassee, Florida, ClearView writes insurance business in 37 states nationally.


Medisource 

Medisource Partners a 10-year-old privately owned, FDA-registered distributor of medical and surgical products was acquired in January by Generex Biotechnology, a company that develops and commercializes drug delivery systems and technologies. No financial information on the deal was released. 


RKD Group 

In January, Dallas-based RKD Group, a provider of omnichannel fundraising and marketing solutions for nonprofits, was acquired by BV Invement Partners, a middle-market private equity firm based in Boston. No terms of the deal were released.


Aprima Medical

Dallas-based Aprima Medical was acquired in January by Austin-based eMDs Inc. No terms of the transaction were released.


FEBRUARY

Fixd Repair

Fixd Repair, the Dallas startup disrupting the home repair and warranty business, was acquired in February by ANGI Homeservices, the parent company of Angie’s List, HomeAdvisors, and eight other brands in eight countries. No financial details were released, but it is part of a $25 million investment by ANGI that includes a previous acquisition and an increase in marketing and other investments.

Fixd Repair founders Evan Myers and Brandon Bohannan launched Fixd in November 2017 to refute the negative perception people have for traditional home warranties, they said at the time. [Image: Courtesy Fixd]


PanOptis

Plano-based intellectual property management and finance company PanOptis was acquired by funds managed by affiliates of New York-based Brevet Capital, a specialty finance provider that focuses on the government sector. No financial terms of the acquisition were released. Established in 2013, PanOptis consolidates telecommunications patent portfolios and facilitates access to technology for makers of smartphones, according to a report in PE Hub. PanOptis acquired Unwired Planet in 2016.


Worksoft 

Addison-based Worksoft Inc., a provider of continuous test automation software, was acquired in February by Marlin Equity Partners, a global investment firm with more than $6.7 billion in capital under management. Worksoft is a provider of an end-to-end continuous test automation platform for packaged applications like SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and Workday. No financial details were disclosed.


Sea Pines Technologies

Dallas-based insuretech startup Sea Pine Technologies was acquired by Zurich Insurance Group, an Illinois-based finance and insurance giant, in February. No terms of the deal, which closed in January, were released. Zurich said it began a relationship with Sea Pine last year when the companies collaborated on a pilot program with automotive dealers that tested Sea Pine’s services. The deal will help Zurich expand offerings to the automotive industry, the company said.


MARCH

ThermiGen

Irving-based ThermiGen LLC was bought in March by Celling Biosciences, an Austin biotechnology company. ThermiGen is a maker of temperature-controlled radio-frequency technology that heats targeted areas of your skin to naturally stimulate collagen. Celling is buying ThermiGen from global pharmaceuticals company Almirall S.A. The acquisition comes roughly three years after ThermiGen was bought for $82 million by Almirall.


Goodnight Midstream

TPG Capital, the private equity platform of global alternative asset firm TPG, announced in March that it acquired a majority stake in Dallas-based Goodnight Midstream, a leading midstream produced water infrastructure company, for approximately $930 million. TPG is acquiring the company from Tailwater Capital and private investors. Existing shareholders, including management, will retain a significant minority interest in the company. TPG is headquartered in Fort Worth and San Francisco.


Sabre Industries

In March, the Jordan Company L.P. announced in March that an affiliate of The Resolute Fund IV LP agreed to buy Sabre Industries Inc.  in partnership with the existing management team from Kohlberg Investors VII, a fund managed by Kohlberg & Co. LLC. Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Alvarado, Sabre is a manufacturer of mission-critical products to the utility and telecom markets. The company’s core offerings include highly-engineered structures and complementary services for the attractive electric transmission and wireless communication end markets that are driven by the replacement of the aging utility infrastructure and the expansion, modification, and densification of existing wireless networks. Sabre Industries has roughly 2,400 employees and five state-of-the-art, purpose-built manufacturing facilities that are located throughout the nation.


KwikBoost

KwikBoost, the Dallas-based maker of charging stations for campus, healthcare, hospitality, and retail locations, was acquired in March by Waukegan, Illinois-based Luxor. The Illinois company offers an extensive line of workspace product solutions for a variety of industries. KwikBoost was founded in 2010 by Joe and Paul Mecca and serves more than 3,200 customers.


BizNet Software

In March, Dallas-based BizNet Software was acquired by insightsoftware, a provider of enterprise resource planning and enterprise performance management reporting solutions. BizNet Software is a leading software developer of Excel-based reporting and analytics solutions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. insightsoftware is the market leader in financial reporting and enterprise performance management, supporting more than 155,000 enterprise users in 5,500 companies across 130 countries worldwide. The acquisition adds to insightsoftware’s Excel-based reporting expertise and gives BizNet’s customers and channel partners access to a broader portfolio of reporting, visual analytics, and planning and budgeting solutions that connect to a wider range of ERP and EPM systems.


APRIL

Mizuni

Mizuni, the Plano provider of data integration and data warehouse solutions, was acquired in April by Hoonuit, a Minnesota-based provider of data management and professional learning solutions. No financial details of the acquisition were released, but Hoonuit said that would maintain an office in Plano. Mizuni has a long history of helping K-12 school districts in Texas, Oklahoma, and other states manage their data. Together, Mizuni and Hoonuit serve roughly 1,500 education agencies and support more than 13 million students across the country.


Multiview

The Stagwell Group announced in April that an affiliate acquired B2B digital marketer MultiView Inc. Irving-based MultiView was Stagwell’s first significant investment in the burgeoneing B2B digital marketing space. With more than 400 employees across the U.S. and Canada, MultiView is a leader in digital marketing solutions for B2B marketers and publishing solutions for associations. MultiView’s B2B programmatic buying and targeting platforms have launched over 1 million advertising campaigns via 400,000 custom ad units to customers at all stages of buying. Through its digital publications and tools, MultiView also brings over 1,200 trade associations together with millions of their members across industries including: medical, manufacturing, travel and education.


Securadyne

California security firm Allied Universal announced in April it bought allas-based Securadyne Systems and will establish a security technology headquarters in North Texas. The acquisition of Securadyne will create the nation’s fourth-largest security services company, with combined yearly revenue of more than $7 billion. The new company, which will be renamed Allied Universal Technology Services, will employ 500 people in Dallas.


Imaginuity

Calise Partners, a Dallas-based integrated agency announced in April that it acquired the Dallas digital shop Imaginuity. The creates one of the largest independent marketing services providers in the Southwest. The company will do business under the Imaginuity brand. No financial terms of the transaction were disclosed. As part of the deal, Calise Partners founder Charlie Calise’s son, Taylor, became CEO of Imaginuity. Corbett Guest, Imaginuity’s former CEO, took on a new role of chief innovation and strategy officer of the combined businesses.


Active-Semi

Richardson-based Active-Semi International Inc. was acquired in April by North Carolina-base Qorvo, a maker and supplier of semiconductors. No details of the deal were released. Active-Semi designs, develops, makes, and sells digital and programmable power management and digital motor drive integrated circuits. According to a report in the Triad Business Journal, Active-Semi became part of Qorvo’s Infrastructure and Defense Products group. 


Epsilon

Alliance Data Systems Corp., a Plano-based global provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions, sold its Epsilon business to Publicis Groupe for $4.4 billion in cash in April. Paris, France-based Publicis Groupe is one of the world’s largest global marketing, creative, and business transformation companies.  “The announcement of this transaction represents the culmination of an extensive assessment of strategic options for our Epsilon business. With this transaction, Alliance Data is executing on its previously announced goals of transitioning into a leaner, more focused organization and unlocking additional shareholder value while also finding what we believe to be the right home for Epsilon’s technology, data assets and associates,” said Ed Heffernan, president and CEO of Alliance Data, in a statement. Heffernan said that the unique relationships cultivated between Epsilon and the other Alliance Data businesses will remain intact.

Alliance Data

Ed Heffernan is CEO of Plano-based Alliance Data Corp. [Photo: Alliance Data]


MAY

eCore Software

In May, Austin-based ESO acquired Dallas-based eCore Software, a scheduling platform for emergency medical services agencies and fire departments. No financial terms of the acquisition were released. ESO sells electronic medical record software. The deal allows ESO to expand its offerings, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Found in 1998, eCore’s platform offers employee scheduling management, an online time clock, and attendance and payroll control. 


Peloton Therapeutics

Just weeks after Dallas-based Peloton Therapeutics filed for an initial public offering, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. bought the biotech company in Many in a deal valued as much as $2.2 billion. Peloton is a clinical-stage oncology company that develops small molecule drugs to treat kidney cancer and other diseases. Its PT2977 drug for renal cell carcinoma is in a Phase II clinical trial. Merck said it would buy all outstanding shares of Peloton for an upfront payment of $1.05 billion in cash. Peloton also was eligible for another $1.15 billion based on various regulatory and sales milestones. “Merck is recognized as a leader in cancer research and shares our commitment to accelerating the development of candidates targeting HIF-2α to help patients with advanced cancers and other diseases,” Peloton CEO John Josey said in a statement. “We are proud to have advanced PT2977 to this stage of development and believe that Merck is well suited to build upon the progress our company has made.” Merck said the deal brings unique expertise under its umbrella.


Haggar Clothing

In May, Dallas-based Haggar Clothing Co., an iconic name in the men’s clothing industry, was acquired by New York-based Randa Accessories, one of the world’s top accessories companies. The acquisition created a roughly $1 billion company, although no financial details were released. Haggar was established in 1926 in Dallas, and has grown from a maker of men’s dress pants and slacks to one of the world’s most-recognized clothing brands. Randa is a privately-held company founded in 1910 that produces belts, wallets, headwear, slippers, luggage, neckwear, jewelry, and other accessories under 50 brands, including Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia Sportswear, Dickies, and Kenneth Cole.


JUNE

Vertex One

Exonics Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based biotech company that uses technology licensed from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, was acquired in June by Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a deal roughly valued at $1 billion. The acquisition of Exonics Therapeutics was part of a potentially $2 billion expansion of Vertex’s presence in gene editing that also includes spending $1.175 billion to expand a 3-year-old, potentially $2.5 billion-plus collaboration with the Swiss firm CRISPR Therapeutics that Boston-based Vertex said has resulted in the first clinical trial of a gene-editing therapy candidate sponsored by a U.S. company. The deals are intended to enable Vertex to develop novel treatments for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1).


JULY

Covey Park Energy

In July, Frisco-based independent energy company Comstock Resources Inc. closed the acquisition of Dallas-based Covey Park Energy LLC in a cash and stock merger valued at roughly $2.2 billion. Comstock said in a statement that as part of the transaction, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones invested $475 million in Comstock in exchange for 50,000,000 newly issued shares of Comstock common stock. That equity investment brings Jones’ total investment in Comstock to roughly $1.1 billion.


Corepoint Health

In July, Frisco-based Corepoint Health, an integration platform for healthcare organizations, merged with Rhapsody, a Boston-based provider of healthcare data interoperability. No financial details were released. The companies said in a statement that the merger would join two organizations at the forefront of interoperability and create a combination of technology, talent, services, and trusted customer relationships that will address complex healthcare interoperability problems. Healthcare interoperability is the ability for varied information systems and software applications to communicate and exchange data, and to use the information that is exchanged.


WatchGuard

Motorola Solutions Inc. announced in July that it acquired Allen-based WatchGuard Inc. a leader in mobile video solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. WatchGuard designs and builds in-car video systems, body-worn cameras, evidence management systems and software. Its solutions enable law enforcement users to capture, manage, store and share high-quality video evidence.


AUGUST

Dairy.com

Frisco-based Dairy.com was acquired in August by Banneker Partners, a San Francisco-based private investment firm focused on building long-term value in software businesses. No terms were disclosed by Banneker (Dairy.com) Investors LLC offered no details. About a year ago, Dairy.com, a global provider of software-as-a-service solutions for dairy supply chains, announced it was buying Richardson-based Data Specialists Inc. Soon after, Dairy.com announced a new organizational structure following the acquisition, realigning some management responsibilities at the firm.


SEPTEMBER

ReadyRosie 

ReadyRosie, the Denton-based early childhood edtech company, was  acquired in September by Maryland-based Teaching Strategies, a developer of early childhood curriculum and observational assessment used in early-ed programs across the state and nation. No details of the deal were released. ReadyRosie’s platform enables educators to securely communicate with families and share content based on the latest research in child development. It provides more than 1,000 “Modeled Moment” videos that can be sent via email, text, and mobile apps in English and Spanish. 


VitreosHealth

In September, Irving-based HMS Holdings Corp. acquired VitreosHealth, a privately held company headquartered in Plano that offers predictive and prescriptive health insights for population risk models, for roughly $36.5 million in cash. Before the acquisition, VitreosHealth was a key strategic partner for HMS. Its AI-driven platform provided the predictive analytics engine for HMS’ Elli, a risk intelligence solution under the company’s integrated Population Health Management portfolio.


OCTOBER

The Living Company

A majority ownership stake in Dallas-based The Living Company was taken in October by New York City-based Lee Equity Partnership. No financial information on the deal was released. The Living Company is a provider of furniture, fixtures, and equipment to the off-campus student housing sector, which operates under the University Furnishings brand. It also is an emerging provider in hospitality and workforce housing. The senior management team lead by CEO Paul Dougan will continue to lead The Living Company.


Vivify Health

The Optum division of UnitedHealth Group acquired Vivify Health, the Plano-based remote patient monitoring startup, for an undisclosed amount in October. Vivify provides a comprehensive RPM platform, complete with a suite of connected medical devices and mobile health apps to track at-risk patients at home. Via the acquisition, Optum said it can significantly reduce costs from hospital readmission rates and better manage care for patients with chronic diseases.


RAA

Dallas-based RAA, a $2.8 billion registered investment adviser serving airline industry employees, was bought in October by Sacramento, California-based Allworth Financial. No details of the transaction were released. This is Allworth’s fifth acquisition of the year, according to Investment News. Allworth, formerly called Hanson McClain Advisors, will manage roughly $7.5 billion, once the deal is completed. RAA will be maintained as a sub-brand, for now.


NOVEMBER

Code Authority

Improving, a Plano-based tech consulting and training firm, acquired Code Authority, a custom software development and digital marketing firm based in Frisco, in November. The move was part of Improving’s ongoing “Enterprise Model”—a strategy of merging similar service companies that share “a genuine commitment to excellence, trust and culture.” Code Authority focuses on entrepreneurs and startups, and its services include everything from mobile applications to business intelligence and data analytics—all centered around the digital economy.

Jason W. Taylor is the president of Code Authority. [Photo: Courtesy Code Authority]


GoPlant

GoPlant, an Addison-based provider of an industrial mobile-worker task management, data collection, and decision support application, was acquired in November by SKF Group. A brand of Form Automation Solutions, GoPlant was released in 2015 and is designed for use by operators in the field in such industries as food and beverage, oil and gas, chemical, power generation, water and wastewater, and manufacturing. No terms of the acquisition were released. Formed in 1907, Sweden-based SKF Group is a global technology provider that develops technologies and creates products.


DECEMBER

Emergent Cold

Michigan-based Lineage Logistics announced in December that has agreed to buy Emergent Cold, a Dallas-headquartered refrigerated logistics company, for what the Wall Street Journal reported was a $900 million deal. Before the acquisition, Lineage Logistics already ranked as the largest refrigerated warehouse company in the world by the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses. Lineage Logistics will add 46 facilities in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka via the acquisition and will have more than 1.7 billion cubic feet of cold storage space at 260 facilities in 10 countries.

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