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UPF bought by investor groups

Sat., Feb. 2, 2008

A trio of out-of-state investment firms has purchased a Spokane-based company that provides outsourced services to banks and credit unions, such as tax-payment monitoring and flood determinations.

Privately held UPF Services LLC employs about 30 to 40 locally, and the firm will look to add sales staff to expand its presence nationally, said David Hanson, the Denver-based chairman and managing director of private equity firm Lynwood Capital Partners. UPF already serves several hundred financial institutions, he said.

“Over time, we’ll presumably offer additional services to the same customer base as well as going out and finding new customers,” Hanson said. “We spent a lot of time and effort trying to identify great companies, and this is going to be a great one.”

GMB Mezzanine Capital LP, of Minneapolis, and First Capital Partners LLC, of Omaha, Neb., also participated in the deal as junior investors. Terms of the deal, which closed in mid-October, were not disclosed.

Formerly Universal Property and Flood, UPF changed names in October to reflect an expanded range of services, according to the company. It was co-founded in 1994 by James Wuerch and Randy Absalonson, past president and a current consultant to the firm.

“We just found a niche business service that was not being really met with the current vendors,” Absalonson said.

It started out primarily offering flood determination, or looking at maps to determine whether property securing a loan sits in a flood zone and owners are required to buy flood insurance. UPF now offers title reconveyance, lien release, tax payment monitoring, flood determinations and related services.

“Their customers absolutely love them, and they have a very strong market share in the Pacific Northwest,” Hanson said.

Lynwood Capital targets business with revenues of $5 million to $75 million for acquisition or investment. First Capital Partners seeks investments ranging from $2 million to $10 million in profitable businesses with revenues generally between $5 million and $100 million, according to a news release.

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