Logo for Stratus.

Vestar Portfolio Company, Stratus, Acquires Chicago-Based MLE

Cleveland, OH – September 28, 2021 – Stratus, a leading facilities services and brand implementation services firm, today announced the acquisition of Chicago area-based MLE Brand Services, creating a $325+ million company with nearly 850 employees throughout the United States. The newly combined Stratus and MLE facilities service offerings cover the full brand lifecycle, including interior and exterior signage, refresh and remodel construction, repair and maintenance, and energy services. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Stratus, founded in 1931, has tripled its revenue since 2017 through strategic growth initiatives with its long-term customers in the retail, healthcare, financial, restaurant, hospitality, and convenience-store sectors, as well as through multiple acquisitions. The Stratus client roster includes blue-chip brands like Bank of America, Chase, CVS, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Target, The Home Depot, and Walgreens. MLE’s reputation, expertise and production capabilities in interior branding, brand installation, and brand rollout warehousing and logistics significantly enhances Stratus’ brand implementation services portfolio, while further expanding its multi-solution facilities services offering.

“MLE and Stratus both have stellar reputations for service, quality, and brand partnership, so this acquisition is a natural next step,” noted Tim Eippert, CEO, Stratus. “Our capabilities are highly complementary, and by joining forces we’ll be able to provide a more holistic offering to our combined client base.”

MLE was founded in 2002 by Mike Loftus, who grew the company to over 130 employees in the Chicago area by building strong relationships with blue-chip customers. The MLE management team will remain intact, and Mr. Loftus will join the Stratus Executive Leadership Team led by Mr. Eippert, effective immediately. “Together, Stratus and MLE will provide superior and seamless end-to-end in-house service offerings, with our clients at the center of everything we do,” said Mr. Loftus.

Headquartered in Mentor, Ohio, Stratus has operations centers in Illinois, Ohio, Florida and New Jersey, and manufacturing facilities in Illinois and South Carolina. Stratus is a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners.

About Stratus

Stratus is a leading brand implementation and facilities services company offering signage solutions, energy services, repair and maintenance programs, and refresh and remodel capabilities across 50 states and 24 countries. With more than 50,000 projects completed annually, the Company provides versatile solutions for some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands. For more information, please visit www.stratusunlimited.com.

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Business & Technology Services, Consumer, and Healthcare. Since its founding in 1988, Vestar funds have invested $11 billion in 88 companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of over $50 billion. For more information on Vestar, please visit www.vestarcapital.com.

Michael Vaupen Joins Vestar Capital Partners

NEW YORK, NY – September 14, 2021 - Vestar Capital Partners (“Vestar”), a leading middle-market private equity firm, today announced that Michael Vaupen has joined the firm as a Principal and senior member of its healthcare team, focusing on healthcare technology and services. Mr. Vaupen will be responsible for all aspects of the investment lifecycle, from deal sourcing to portfolio company management, and will play a key leadership role in the Firm’s healthcare practice.

“Mike has deep experience in healthcare technology investing, which aligns perfectly with Vestar’s investment focus, and we are confident that he’ll have an immediate impact at the firm,” said Norm Alpert, Co-President and head of Healthcare at Vestar. “As patients, providers, and payers all look to use technology to make more informed decisions on the cost and quality of care, healthcare technology is playing an increasingly important role. We look forward to Mike’s contributions as we identify and partner with innovative companies in this rapidly evolving space.”

Mr. Vaupen joins Vestar from Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, where he focused on healthcare technology and services investing. Prior to that, Mr. Vaupen was an investment professional at Pamplona Capital Management, where he helped establish the private equity firm’s healthcare vertical, and in the healthcare group at Oak Hill Capital Partners.  He began his career in the healthcare investment banking group at Morgan Stanley. Mr. Vaupen earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.

“I am thrilled to join the Vestar team given the firm’s long history of successful healthcare investing,” said Mr. Vaupen. “I look forward to partnering with my colleagues and our portfolio company management teams as we look to creatively deliver value and capitalize on strong healthcare technology industry tailwinds.”

Headshot of Ian Singleton.

Vestar Capital Partners Promotes Ian Singleton To Vice President

NEW YORK, NY – September 7, 2021 - Vestar Capital Partners, a leading U.S. private equity firm, announced today it has promoted Ian Singleton to Vice President.

"Ian is an invaluable member of the team and has taken an active role across many of our consumer and business & technology services-focused investments," said Dan O'Connell, Founder and CEO of Vestar. "We congratulate Ian and look forward to his increasing contribution as the firm grows and moves forward."

Ian joined Vestar in 2019, having previously worked as at Ares Management in their U.S. Direct Lending Group. He began his career in the Financial Sponsors Group at Citigroup. Ian graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a B.A. in Psychology, a minor in Economics, and a certificate in Markets and Management Studies.

A tonal version of the Vestar Logo on a seafoam colored ground.

ILPA Releases Second Report in Diversity in Action Series

August 31, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) The Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) today released the second report in its Diversity in Action – Sharing Our Progress series. The report series is an extension of ILPA’s Diversity in Action initiative and aims to provide actionable recommendations on steps that can be taken to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in private markets.

“The industry continues to respond positively to the Diversity in Action Initiative with new signatories joining every week,” said Steve Nelson, CEO of ILPA. “The Initiative now claims 180 signatories who have all been incredibly active in conversations with one another and have acted as tremendous partners to ILPA on our related work, having meaningfully contributed to our updated ILPA Diversity Metrics Template.”

The Diversity in Action – Sharing Our Progress report series tracks the evolution of Initiative signatories by geography, strategy and fund size as well as progress on adoption of all the actions within the Framework. As of August 2021, the Initiative’s geographic reach is increasing, now with 38 signatories outside North America, a 52% increase in this cohort since April.

The latest report focuses on how signatories are integrating diversity, equity and inclusion into investment strategies including in manager selection, due diligence and ongoing evaluation and monitoring. Of note:

  • DEI is clearly a focus beyond initial investment making decisions, with many signatories monitoring DEI on a recurring, annual basis – 58% of allocators and 45% of GPs are doing this. Signatories indicate that this information is being put to good use, both informing GPs’ value creation plans or shaping LPs’ future investment decisions
  • GPs have prioritized board diversity: 83% of GP signatories currently track gender diversity on portfolio company boards, 26% of GPs engage on diversity even where they do not have the ability to influence board appointments, and 24% of GP signatories have set board diversity targets
  • LPs remain focused on information gathering and qualitative assessments, still 21% of LP signatories indicate that progress on DEI will be considered as a factor in the decision to invest in a successor fund

“We’re pleased to bring awareness to how some of the industry’s leaders are approaching DEI through this ongoing report series,” added ILPA’s Managing Director of Industry Affairs and Diversity in Action initiative lead Jen Choi. “We’re hopeful that those who are just beginning their journey on DEI can take some actionable advice from the signatory insights in this report.”

The report also highlights proposed revisions to the ILPA Diversity Metrics Template. First released in 2018 as the industry’s first standard for capturing team-level diversity, the signatory group has provided input to help modernize the Template to reflect the current state of reporting in the market, as well as long-term goals for enhanced reporting. The Template is now out for public comment through September 24, 2021.

Media Contact:

Kari Grant
Director of Strategic Communications, ILPA
[email protected]

+1 416-941-9393