Category Archives: Case Studies


Airwaves Case Study

Recapitalization allows AirWaves’ to gain institutional support, and “deep pockets” to fund Growth


  • Air Waves is a leading provider of on demand apparel fulfillment for the ecommerce channel.
  • The company has developed a proprietary process for managing the complexity of “mass customization” of decorating apparel in single unit quantities.
  • The current owners bought Airwaves in 2009. By expanding offerings, investing in technology, and developing new processes Air Waves revenues grew by 500%
  • Owners desired partial liquidity, a strong Board of Directors and Funding to continue their sales growth of nearly 30 % per year.




  • Recapitalization with CCCM and its affiliates completed in October 2016
  • Owners achieved their liquidity goals from the transaction
  • Management Team retains a significant minority stake with representation on the Company’s expanded Board of Directors
  • Management continues to run the Company with same leadership roles
  • Substantial investments planned in new personnel
  • Now executing their strategic plan to grow revenues by 5x through customer diversification, organic growth, and acquisitions





QK Holdings Case Study

Leading Brand Resurgence

  • QK founded as Denny’s franchisee by Robbie Qualls and Doug Koch in 1993 with their first restaurant in Holbrook, AZ
  • QK purchases 9 units in Oregon, Dennis Ekstrom joins company as senior executive in 1995
  • QK diversifies into CSR in 2002 with an acquisition of Del Taco units in New Mexico
  • QK expands into 9 states with 88 restaurants by 2011, becoming the largest Denny’s franchisee in the U.S. with nearly $100MM of revenue and the strongest operating team in the system
  • Robbie Qualls seeks to retire and cash out in 2013 while Doug Koch wants to continue to expand the business
  • They select Cave Creek Capital as a 50% partner in a $43MM leveraged recapitalization
  • Highly complex deal closed with 79 separate LLC’s and three different corporate entities combined in hybrid stock/asset transaction; met liquidity and tax needs of the three founders
  • Founders, Doug Koch and Dennis Ekstrom receive partial liquidity for their shares and continue as senior management while Robbie Qualls remains as Vice Chairman of the Board

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  • QK restaurant base grows by 15 units and Denny’s brand surges under new corporate leadership, with run rate revenues growing nearly 30% within two years
  • Record comp store growth of nearly 10% for 2015
  • EBITDA grows almost 50% since the aquisition
  • Substantial progress in building infrastructure; CFO hired, first audit and consolidated tax return
  • Restaurant industry in general and Denny’s, in particular, continues strong resurgence in performance and valuations under CEO, Jon Miller



Transnational Case Study

Attracting Blue Chip Clients

  • Marcelo Young, executive for a multi-national food company based in Argentina, identifies need for value-priced brand-equivalent food items by U.S retailers
  • Transnational founded by Marcelo Young in Miami in 2002 and gains rapid penetration in Dollar Store channel just as they begin expanding food offerings
  • During Recession of 2008-09, U.S retailers expand value brand offerings and TNF is well positioned to grow as consumers shift towards value priced private label/National Brand Equivalents
  • TNF adds WalMart as a customer in 2010 and grows rapidly to 200 SKU’s
  • Marcelo Young wins E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2015 as Company nearly doubles sales in four years
  • Management seeks capital partner to expand board, provide liquidity to shareholders and strengthen balance sheet for further growth
  • TNF selects Cave Creek Capital to lead majority recapitalization based on its track record of success in Founder Led Growth Recaps


  • Transaction closes in July 2015
  • Management cashes out minority shareholders, gains personal liquidity and establishes a larger ownership stake for the management team
  • Strategic Plan targets 200% sales growth in five years through both organic growth and acquisitions




VMC Case Study

Management Buyout Results in Team Owning Majority Stake

  • VMC purchased from Aeroflex, Inc., was a leader in providing vibration isolation and seismic control solutions to the industrial, military and construction markets
  • Purchased for $8.6 million in 2005 by Management and CCCM
  • Management maintained control of Board and majority ownership with a $1 million investment alongside $3 million mezzanine investment
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  • Revitalized management team and workforce produced dramatic improvements
  • Sales and ebitda grew more than 250% within three years
  • Acquired competitor Amber Booth in 2007
  • Management recapitalized the mezzanine debt and equity with Fifth-Third Bancorp in 2009 at an 8x markup in equity value
  • VMC makes strategic acquisitions in 2015; AAC of New York and Dynamic Control Labs in Reno, NV establishing leadership in online sales and testing and certification for compliance with the International Building Code
  • $32 million minority recapitalization completed in May 2015 in conjunction with new partner Seacoast Capital and East West Bank refinancing the Senior Debt



Bastech Case Study

Leveraging Technology to Expand Into New Markets

  • Company founded in 1961 and profitable every year
  • Proprietary products drove strong customer relationships and recurring revenues
  • Founder limited growth to a lifestyle business resulting in low penetration of a large potential market (100+ U.S. pulp mills and untapped mining market)
  • Attractive EBITDA margins
  • Management buyout completed by Former Dow Chemical executives with The Courtney Group and Cave Creek Capital in August 2007
  • Substantial investment made to expand Company’s facilities, marketing, and administrative systems
  • Hired additional Senior Executives; tripled existing team
  • Expanded R&D programs with several existing products and several under development
  • Expanded mining effort to become leader in US phosphate mining sector
  • Launched international sales effort
  • Sales have grown 300% since closing
  • Customer base has increased 400%
  • Cash Flow (EBITDA) has increased over 100% in four years
  • Recapitalized Senior and Subordinated Debt with SunTrust in February 2012
  • Management team expands in conjunction with debt recapitalization in 2014
  • Lower leveraged company continues to to invest in paper/pulp and mining markets
  • Expansion into international markets with joint ventures with major chemical companies attracted by Bastech’s technology



Kenexa Case Study

Culture of Excellence Drives Billion Dollar Exit

  • Founded as an executive recruiter, in the late 1980’s
  • Developed the “Hire, Train, Retain” outsourced human resources model
  • Purchased several companies in targeted areas; multiplied the sales post-acquisition by cross-selling to Fortune 500 customer base
  • Rapid growth attracted national attention, including membership in the INC 500 and E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year
  • In 1998, Co-Founder, decided to retire and sell his shares
  • Kenexa’s success in several business lines; online surveys, training and recruiting; required additional investment in product development and marketing
  • A Private Capital partner was chosen (in lieu of an IPO) to assist in the funding of Kenexa’s needs in a multi-level recapitalization
  • $27 million of Equity Capital from institutional investors in 1999
  • Repurchased $8 million of stock from the retiring Founder and funded expansion of new product offerings
  • Refinanced a stringent asset-based bank loan
  • Board of Directors expanded, existing management retained control
  • Financing partners added a critical capital “cushion” in 2001 downturn
  • Business model shifted successfully to recurring contracts SAS model software, supporting outsourced hiring and retention programs
  • Completion of IPO on June 29, 2005 at $12/share, rose to $38/share in 2007
  • Sold to IBM for $46/share ($1.3 billion) in August 2012, 12X original purchase price



Liberty Distribution Case Study

Recapitalization lets Liberty’s founder take money off the table, share equity with the management team, and build a balance sheet for growth

  • Liberty pioneered the direct-to-store distribution of confections and snacks to the check out aisle for non-food retailers in 1998
  • Company had achieved sales of over $40 million by 2007
  • Founder desired liquidity to diversify net worth but wanted to remain with the Company and give his Senior Team equity in the transaction
  • Recapitalization with CCCM completed in 2008 with management owning over one third of the equity

  • Capital facilitated future growth in plant capacity and sales
  • Hired additional senior executives to augment team
  • Significant ownership/incentives for highly motivated employees
  • Enhanced management information/sales systems to monitor progress and pursue more prospective accounts
  • CCCM assisted in execution and funding of acquisition of major competitor
  • Expanded customer base and market share- sales increased 400% in four years
  • Industry leadership position was significantly enhanced
  • Recapitalized in 2010 allowing management to repurchase majority stake and CCCM garnered a return of 4.3X the original investment
  • Sold to Vistar Inc in June 2012 at a price of nearly 8X CCCM’s original price