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Web handling equipment companies Maxcess, Webex to merge

By: Frank Antosiewicz

January 17, 2014

California-based private equity firm Bertram Capital Management LLC is building its portfolio of web handling equipment platform with the purchase of Maxcess International Holding Corp. and merging the company with Webex, Inc.

Maxcess, headquartered in Oklahoma City, provides guiding, winding, slitting and tension control systems for web fed converting applications. Webex, based in Neenah, Wis., provides precision rolls for web handling and film and sheet converting. It joined Bertram's portfolio in 2012.

Details of the purchase were not provided, but the seller was Windjammer Capital Investors of Newport Beach, Calif., and Merifin Capital, a European investment group with an office in New York.

"We're really excited about the combination. It was really run more as a merger than an add-on. Both bring a lot to the table," said David Hellier, partner at Bertram, in a telephone interview.

He noted both companies have strong brands and that the combination offers synergy opportunities. Details are still in the planning, but he did note that the companies now have combined managements. The new team will have Gary Edwards as chairman, Greg Jehlik, CEO; Dave Hawkins, chief financial officer; and Doug Knudtson, chief operating officer.

Jehlik had been CEO of Maxcess. Edwards was CEO of Webex.

In a release, Edwards touted the combination of Maxcess' global distribution and Webex's differentiated technology.

Maxcess brand names include Fife automatic web guiding; Tidland expanding air shafts; and Magpowr tension products. The company has locations in North America, Europe, China, Japan and India.

Webex's roots go back nearly 100 years. The company along with its subsidiaries — Fox Machining, Magnat-Fairview and PFE Rolls — design and manufacture precision rolls and specialized web handling machines.

Bertram, based in San Mateo, Calif., focuses on investing in middle-market business services, consumer, industrial, health care and technology companies. It is currently investing out of its $500 million second fund and typically allocates $25 million to $100 million for each investment.

The purchase of Maxcess was the fifth for Bertram in the plastics processing industry.