Detroit-based Huron Capital Partners LLC announced that it had invested in Canada’s Artissimo Holdings Inc., which does business in Artissimo Designs, to support management in its growth plans.

The transaction marks the 48th investment overall for Huron and the fourth investment platform in Canada in three years.

Based in Montreal, Artissimo is the leading provider of moderately priced wall decor sold at almost every level of the retail store trade.

“It was important to us to find a firm that appreciated everything we’ve worked so hard to create in the last 12 years,” said Artissimo CEO Ken Floyd. “At the same time, we needed a firm that could assist us with our plans to reach the next stage in our evolution. Huron Capital fit well for both of our requirements.”

The Artissimo investment builds on Huron’s long-standing expertise in the consumer products sector. This latest investment was made through The Huron Fund III L.P., a private equity fund raised in 2008 with $350 million in committed equity capital.

“The team at Artissimo has done a fantastic job in offering extremely attractive art to its customers at affordable prices,” said Huron principal Jeremy Busch. “We were particularly attracted to Artissimo’s worldwide production capabilities and systematic image selection process. The combination has allowed Artissimo to act as a true partner to its customers.”

Said Artissimo president Michael Chaimberg: “We wanted to partner with a firm that understood our unique culture on both sides of the border. We are a different kind of company and we required a partner that really felt comfortable for us.”

Added Huron partner Michael Beauregard: “This has been our fourth platform investment in Canada in a little over 3 years. Having Jeremy in Toronto full-time has accelerated our dealflow and capital deployment schedule. We believe that the dynamics of the Canadian economy will ensure that Canada will remain an attractive investment market for us.”

The Artissimo investment further demonstrates Huron Capital’s commitment to the Canadian middle market. In August 2009, Huron indicated that it reserved $100 million to support the build-up of a broader Canadian portfolio. Huron expects to propel the firm’s growth equity, buyout and late-stage investment activities throughout the country. With significant available capital, Huron continues to aggressively seek new investment opportunities in both Canada and the U.S.

Huron Capital invests in lower middle-market companies. The firm typically invests between $10 million and $70 million in equity to sponsor buyouts, growth initiatives, corporate spin-offs and recapitalizations of growth-oriented niche manufacturing, specialty service, and value-added distribution companies having revenues up to $300 million.

Since its founding in 1999, Huron has acquired or invested in 48 companies with aggregate revenues approaching $1 billion. Investments have been made in the USA and Canada in a variety of areas, including print solutions & document management, education, healthcare products & services, specialty chemicals, specialty packaging, consumer products, home decor, passenger transportation services, building products, office furniture components and laboratory testing. Huron Capital currently manages over $600 million in committed equity through three private equity funds, and has offices based in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.

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