Northern Pacific Group buys Merrill Brink International, KJ International Resources

Northern Pacific Group said June 8 it acquired Merrill Brink International and KJ International Resources to form United Language Group (ULG). Financial terms weren’t announced. Yukon Partners provided mezzanine financing. Minneapolis-based ULG is a language-services company. Bell Capital Finance provided a senior credit facility while Backbone Capital Advisors assisted in the arrangement of debt financing. Fredrikson & Byron PA served as legal counsel to Northern Pacific Group.

PRESS RELEASE

June 08, 2016 05:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Northern Pacific Group today announced the formation of Minneapolis-based United Language Group (ULG). ULG has been formed as a result of the completion of the acquisition of Merrill Brink International, the languages services division of Merrill Corporation, and the subsequent acquisition of KJ International Resources (KJI). With these two acquisitions, ULG already has approximately $50 million in annual revenues, immediately ranking it in the top 25 language-services companies worldwide and sixth in the U.S. by revenue, according to Common Sense Advisory. ULG intends to assemble a family of complementary companies with the goal of becoming one of the largest language service providers in the world.
United Language Group has been formed in conjunction with industry veterans Jeff Brink and Hans Fenstermacher to build a best-in-class language service provider. The Brinks founded Merrill Brink as PH Brink International in 1987 and sold the business to Merrill Corporation in 2005. Merrill Brink’s customer base includes multi-national companies in industries such as life sciences, manufacturing, and travel/hospitality, as well as governmental entities and law firms. ULG’s acquisition of KJI brings an additional focus on high quality life sciences customers.
Northern Pacific Group invested equity into ULG in partnership with Yukon Partners, which also provided mezzanine financing. In addition, Bell Capital Finance provided a senior credit facility. Backbone Capital Advisors assisted in the arrangement of debt financing and Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. served as primary legal counsel to Northern Pacific Group.
“We are thrilled to launch our strategy with the acquisition of Merrill Brink and KJI,” said Jeff Brink, CEO of ULG. “Merrill Brink has maintained a sterling reputation over many years, has an outstanding operation and is well-known for innovation…We are delighted to immediately strengthen our life sciences practice with KJ International…Both companies have developed strong brands and customer loyalty, and share similar corporate cultures. Additionally, both organizations will benefit from cross-pollination of complementary technologies, skillsets and an expanded footprint.” Jeff goes on to say, “We view ULG as an ideal platform for our expansion plans, which include additional near-term acquisitions.”
“We’re excited about this investment in the language business and we see tremendous opportunities for growth, both organically and through further acquisitions. We fully support ULG’s vision and expect to be very active in this highly fragmented $40 billion industry,” said Peter Offenhauser, Partner at Northern Pacific Group.
Mike Hall, Managing Partner of Yukon, added, “We are excited to partner with Northern Pacific Group and ULG management to support the Company’s growth strategy. We are confident that with Northern Pacific Group’s leadership, alongside management’s strong operational expertise and industry experience, the ULG platform is well positioned for future growth.”
“We are thrilled to be joining forces with ULG. This opportunity will benefit our clients as we expand our current translation and localization offerings, and further advance our skills and expertise within highly regulated industries,” said Kristen Giovanis, co-founder and CEO of KJI.
About United Language Group
United Language Group is a global organization that is headquartered in Minneapolis and has offices in New York, Hong Kong, London and Galway, Ireland. ULG is dedicated to building and managing a portfolio of high-performing and complementary language service providers. ULG adds value and leverages synergies for the collective benefit of its companies and customers.
About Northern Pacific Group
Northern Pacific Group is a Minnesota-based private equity investment firm focused on acquiring and investing in growing companies in the Midwest with an emphasis on the Technology and Business Services sectors. Northern Pacific Group seeks to drive collaborative achievement at portfolio companies in partnership with ownership groups and management teams. The firm has completed four platform acquisitions and investments to date, including United Language Group, Delaget, Outsell, and Renters Warehouse. For more information, please visit www.northernpacificgroup.com
About Yukon Partners
Yukon Partners is an independent and unaffiliated mezzanine firm primarily serving middle market private equity sponsored business transactions with a typical investment range of $10 to $40 million in the U.S. and Canada. The transactions in which Yukon invests include buyouts, growth and platform strategies, recapitalizations, mergers/acquisitions, and public-to-private buyouts. Yukon is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, please visit www.yukonpartners.com.