September 05, 2017 (Grand Rapids, Mich.) — Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners ( announced today that it has made its first acquisitions with the purchases of Atlas Die LLC and Bernal LLC, two market leaders in the die manufacturing industry. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Atlas Die, based in Elkhart, Ind., was founded in 1952 by S. Ray Miller in his basement. The company went on to revolutionize steel rule diemaking with the development and introduction of laser technology into the die making process and later developed unique flexible rotary die making capabilities. Atlas Die continues to be the market leader by pushing the envelope in product development and providing state-of-the-art solutions for complex cutting needs in the consumer products, packaging, food and beverage, medical and pharmaceutical industries. The company has 160 employees across six facilities in five states.

Bernal, founded in 1972, produces complex solid rotary pressure dies, crush cut dies and state-of-the- art, high-volume rotary converting systems for die cutting, food processing, folding cartons, specialty bandages and alcohol swabs and other complex products. Bernal’s technical engineering converting acumen combined with its specialty precision machining capabilities provide manufacturing solutions to complex production challenges across a wide spectrum of end-market including consumer products, specialty materials, food and beverage and other unique applications for customers around the globe. Bernal employs 64 team members in Rochester Hills, Mich.

"We are delighted that these two market leading companies with long histories and excellent reputations are our first acquisitions,” said Auxo Managing Partner Jeff Helminski. “We view ourselves as stewards of our Founding Partners’ capital and of the legacies of our portfolio companies, their owners and their team members. As such, we’re honored to have the opportunity to assist the teams at Atlas Die and Bernal achieve their full potential by making long-term investments and providing expert operational and strategic support."

Added Auxo Managing Partner Jack Kolodny: "We see a tremendous opportunity to further grow and scale Atlas Die and Bernal and to drive new sales and revenue growth. We’re also actively pursuing other deals, and we’re confident that our unique hands-on, long-term investment approach will pay off for our investors and our new portfolio companies."

Industry veteran Ken Smott, who will serve as CEO of both Atlas Die and Bernal, added his enthusiasm, saying, "Auxo is the ideal partner to support Atlas’ and Bernal’s next chapter of continued growth in supporting their customers and employees."

Advisors on the transaction included Miller Johnson, Barnes & Thornburg, BDO, Mercantile Bank, Oxer Capital and Livingstone.

Helminski, Kolodny and Fred Tedori, all veteran investors and operators, founded Auxo with an investor- centric business model and a commitment to integrating environmental, social and governance concerns (ESG) into their investment practices. The firm’s capital comes from a select group of Founding Partners who invest not only in its portfolio companies, but in the firm itself. That ownership structure, along with a heightened commitment to partnership and transparency, provides unprecedented alignment of interests between Auxo’s managers and investors.

"Excitement always surrounds the first acquisition -- but with our growing momentum and the support of well-established investor-partners, it's clear that we have put together a unique formula for success," Tedori said. "I congratulate the Auxo team – of which I am proud to be a member – and welcome the Atlas and Bernal teams into our family."

A Long-Term, Collaborative Approach

Auxo was named after the ancient Greek goddess of growth and the firm seeks to partner with companies that meet the following investment criteria:

  • North America-based
  • Manufacturing, industrial, value-added distribution or business services industries
  • EBITDA (cash flow) of $1.5-$15 million
  • Owner-operators seeking retirement or family succession planning solutions; or existing teams seeking to grow their businesses
  • Prefer majority-control investments but will consider select minority-partner opportunities

Auxo’s flexible capital model allows for long-term growth oriented decision-making without artificial deadlines. The structure was specifically designed for family businesses facing a generational hand-off or seeking outside capital or partners to fuel growth

About Auxo Investment Partners

Auxo Investment Partners is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based private investment firm that partners with owners and management teams of companies at transition points in their history. Auxo works to instill the infrastructure, processes and talent needed to help them grow to their full potential with a long- term investment approach. Auxo’s unique philosophy aligns the interests of its companies, their employees, the communities in which they are located and its investors to achieve optimal outcomes for all. As our name reflects, we are not merely investors, but partners. For more information, please visit


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John E. Corey