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Baird Capital Partners Buys Digi-Star Holdings

Private equity investor Baird Capital Partners has acquired Digi-Star Holdings Inc., a manufacturer of agriculture scales and weighing equipment. Terms of the deal were not released. The PrivateBank and U.S. Bank National Association provided senior financing for the deal, with Fifth Street Finance Corp. providing mezzanine financing. Digi-Star is based in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

Baird Capital Partners (BCP), the US-based buyout fund of Baird Private Equity, today announced the acquisition of Digi-Star Holdings, Inc., a leading international manufacturer of agriculture scales and weighing equipment. Senior financing for the transaction is being provided by The PrivateBank and U.S. Bank National Association with Fifth Street Finance Corp. providing the mezzanine. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Digi-Star is headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wis., with an additional facility in Panningen, The Netherlands. The company’s customized weighing systems and software are incorporated into mobile farm equipment to provide precise control over input costs, monitor resource utilization, enhance yield management and optimize farm profitability.

Of traditional industries, agriculture was among the strongest performers during the recent downturn despite commodity pricing pressures. U.S. net farm income is forecasted to reach an all-time high of $94.7 billion in 2011, and farmers have continued to increase their investment in capital equipment and machinery.

“We have actively followed the agricultural products and process controls industries for the past few years and believe Digi-Star is a strong platform business that is well positioned to become the leading global precision measurement company serving the agricultural sector,” said Andrew Brickman, BCP Partner.

Brickman will join Digi-Star’s Board of Directors, along with Malcolm “Mac” Moore, the former CEO of Gehl Corporation and Dave Schroeder, the former CEO of Intermatic, Inc. Both Moore and Schroeder are members of BCP’s operating network and bring strong agricultural and process controls backgrounds.

“The use of precision equipment to improve and optimize agricultural production is gaining increasing importance as producers look to increase yields and improve performance,” said Mac Moore.

“The Company has built a strong management team and we are excited to partner with Digi-Star in driving the Company’s next stage of global growth,” added David Schroeder.

“This transaction represents an exciting next step for Digi-Star customers and employees,” said Digi-Star President & CEO Grant Ihrke. “We look forward to working closely with Baird Capital Partners to build on our commitment to providing the highest class, precision measurement products to agricultural producers across the world.”

About Baird Capital Partners

Baird Capital Partners, the U.S.-based buyout fund of Baird Private Equity, invests in lower middle-market companies in the business services, manufactured products and healthcare sectors. Established in 1989, Baird Capital Partners leverages its deep sector knowledge, experienced investment team and extensive operating resources to drive value in its portfolio companies. Baird Capital Partners is supported by operating resources in China (Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai) and India (Bangalore) focused on facilitating and executing Asia sourcing, manufacturing and distribution strategies for Baird Capital Partners’ portfolio companies. Baird Private Equity, the global private equity group of Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird), makes venture capital, growth equity and buyout investments in smaller, high potential companies in the United States through Baird Venture Partners and Baird Capital Partners, in China through Baird Capital Partners Asia, and in Europe through Baird Capital Partners Europe. Baird Private Equity has a global team of investment and operations professionals across the United States, Europe and Asia, including a team of operating professionals in Asia. Baird Private Equity and its affiliates have raised and managed over $2.8 billion in capital and invested in more than 250 companies since the 1980s.