The principals of Athena Partners have assisted clients in a variety of different and challenging engagements. Several are described below;
International Packaged Foods Company: Potential Acquisition & Product Extension Review
Retained to initiate discussions with CEO of Jamaba Juice (prior to the 2003 acquisition of the company) on behalf of our client, the Latin American Division of Danone, to explore an acquisition or partnership offering product line extensions and geographical diversification to the client. Consulted with the Danone on initial discussions with a New Zealand owner of a major Chilean dairy products company to improve regional sourcing of raw materials and enhance Latin American dairy product market shares and distribution.
Development-Stage Medical Device Company: Consulting and Development of a Memorandum for Prospective Equity Investors
Served as an early advisor and board member of Mammography Products Partnership, a private medical device company (subsequently sold to a predecessor of iCAD, Inc., ICAD-NASDAQ) providing computer-aided mammography diagnostic tools enabling radiologists and other healthcare professionals to better serve patients by identifying abnormal pathologies often characteristic of pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions.
Offshore Medical Education: Legal and Financial Advisory Services
Served as a director of American University of the Caribbean, a Netherlands Antilles-based medical college. Subsequent client assignments following board tenure included a greater role in the management of a number of legal, regulatory and other related projects involving the school and its principals. Among other certifications, the college was recognized by an accrediting agency determined by the United States Secretary of Education to have accrediting standards for medical education comparable to those of United States. We also assisted with the research, fact-finding and legal proceedings arising from the misapplication of corporate funds by a disgruntled employee, including immediate management changes and assistance with a transition to more professional management / leadership team in furtherance of enhanced college governance. We produced and reviewed financial and other operating information to facilitate a sale of the medical college to Adtalem Global Education (formerly DeVry Education Group, DV-NYSE) in 2011.
U.S. Medical Education: Legal and Financial Advisory Services
Since inception circa 2006, we have been significantly involved with the establishment and operation of Rocky Vista University, one of the 34 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States, including service as a Board member, Interim President and external General Counsel. We focused in three principal areas;
We were instrumental in liaising with the various accrediting and regulatory authorities during the early development phases of the medical college, and developed the requisite financial plan and models required to meet standards for pre-accreditation and subsequent provisional accreditation. In 2017, we assisted ownership with the negotiation and closing of a $17 million non-recourse commercial loan for the development of a second campus location when most U.S. banks were only offering owner-recourse financing terms. We assisted with business valuation, confidential memorandum and purchase agreement review and support for a sale of the college to a consortium of private equity firms in 2019.
Athena Partners also provided legal and financial oversight services for college ownership, including ongoing financial forecasting separate from the college’s financial team, budget reviews, and legal services supporting litigation, executive contracts and other corporate matters. Separate forecasting and financial review allowed Athena to essentially work as the corporate development group for ownership, including the investigation of potential acquisitions, mergers, and other strategic opportunities without unnecessarily or prematurely involving college employees and potential conflicts of interest. 3. Circa 2012, Athena Partners managed and directed an effort by ownership to identify potential buyers of the college, including the development and publication of a substantial confidential information memorandum containing important business information allowing prospective purchasers to understand, value and competitively bid for the purchase of the college.
Development-Stage Molecular Diagnostic Solutions Company Consulting
Athena Partners provided legal and valuation support for an initial Series “A”, and subsequent Series “B” funding rounds collectively approaching about $3 million. VuEssence (www.vuessence.com) is a development stage company focused on creating molecular diagnostic solutions to aid in the detection, management and understanding of disease using advanced technologies to decipher the human genome. VuEssence is particularly focused on identifying gene expressions that may significantly aid in the early evaluation of stroke when early diagnosis and treatment following the onset of symptoms will save lives.
Investment Portfolio Review, Restructuring, Asset Allocation and Enhanced Client Reporting
Athena Partners assisted a high net worth client who was suffering poor investment portfolio returns with an extensive, independent review of the portfolio and (with client approval) directed greater asset manager discipline and prudent investment guidelines to prospectively improve client investment returns. Specifically, Athena analyzed current portfolio holdings highlighting unusual risk concentrations as to sectors and investment types, which resulted in improved portfolio diversification, and ultimately resulted in the selection of alternative investment managers and custodians to implement the changes to the investment process.
Workout of Bankrupt Privately-Placed Corporate Bond Position
Our client inherited oversight of a privately-placed, illiquid, unsecured fixed-income investment in a bankrupt mixed solid waste recycling business operated in cooperation with a southeastern U.S. municipality. Athena Partners studied the industry, identified a partner to bid for and operate the failed company assets for the municipality while assembling and collaborating with a bankruptcy legal team to drive a bankruptcy court-sanctioned settlement with the municipality involving either: (a) a joint venture with our operating partner to restore some semblance of productivity and profitability to the failed recycling business or; (b) a financial payment for the misfeasance of those responsible for failure of the recycling business. Ultimately, a settlement in the form of a financial payment included an immediate 20% cash recovery and the prospect of further additional financial returns to the client based on future events. athena partners is actively involved in preparation for a FINRA arbitral proceeding seeking financial recovery from the broker-dealer (and employees of the broker-dealer) responsible for the origination and sale of the fixed income investment.