Lambert & Co. Expands Sales Team to Include Two Industry Veterans

Lambert is bolstering its new business operations with the hiring of Sarah Smith and Karen Keller. The duo will be responsible for strategic growth initiatives to attract and cultivate major clients across industry sectors on behalf of Lambert and its family of companies. Serving as vice president of sales, Smith brings over a dozen years of business development, strategic planning, and integrated marketing experience. She joins Lambert from Olympia Entertainment and The District Detroit. Keller brings more than two decades of experience and a balanced financial and marketing perspective as director of sales for Lambert’s capital markets and investor relations practice.


HOUSTON – Continuing to break the agency norm, 9thWonder and Lambert & Co. today announced an innovative joint venture and co-investment aimed at building the integrated agency of the future. The partnership and capital infusion aims to accelerate the growth of both companies, deepen 9thWonder’s communications, public relations and multicultural market reach, and fund future acquisitions in the U.S. and internationally.

Hispanic-owned 9thWonder is among the nation’s leading marketing and brand strategy firms with offices in Houston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Argentina and Vietnam. A team of more than 180 professionals support clients in 9thWonder’s consumer, food & beverage, sports & entertainment and B2B practices, and in consumer X — its Hispanic and multicultural marketing unity. Lambert is a national, award-winning public relations, investor relations and integrated marketing firm with clients spanning the globe including the North American International Auto Show, Green Giant Fresh, Bell, The Shyft Group and Faurecia.

“Our focus over the past two years has been to acquire and integrate a collection of complementary agencies, but always with an eye toward a bigger vision of a new business-impact-centric agency model with partners invested in one another and with a shared focus on marketing and communications that deliver to the bottom line,” said Jose Lozano, CEO of 9thWonder. “We found this like-mindedness and similar track record of success in Lambert, and together we can bring best-in-class expertise to our client rosters, and new scale and significance for our teams.”

As part of the strategic investment and joint venture, Lambert acquired the PR practice of 9thWonder. The team will remain based in Houston, adding a Southern hub to the firm’s offices in Michigan, New York and Arizona. Likewise, 9thWonder adds world-class marketing, creative and ad buying firepower to Lambert’s clients and practices in automotive & mobility, consumer, education & social impact, healthcare, investor relations & capital markets, and public affairs.

Additionally, within Lambert’s family of companies is Black and woman-owned diversity, equity and inclusion consulting and diverse board development firm, EQUALSIGN, who will join with 9th Wonder’s Consumer X team to offer a full-spectrum of multicultural marketing and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) expertise. This is a key element in the partnership and one that both firms feel is extremely important for the future landscape of businesses and marketing.

“We are excited to invest in 9thWonder as part of the growing Lambert Family of Companies and believe this unique agency partnership and co-investment model will be another catalyst in our accelerating growth,” said Jeff Lambert, founder and CEO of Lambert. “Jose and the 9thWonder team are a perfect complement to our offerings in PR, investor relations, crisis communications and diversity consulting; their office network is a hand-glove fit with our regional hubs in Michigan, Arizona and New York, and we both have an active M&A strategy that we believe will be compelling to owner entrepreneurs looking for an alternative to the agency networks.”

As part of the agreement, Jeff Lambert will join the 9thWonder board. Joining Lambert in the deal is an investor group led by Monika Mantilla, a fund manager and capital markets leader with a proven track record of investing in minority, women-led and diverse-owned companies as well as owners and entrepreneurs located in low or moderate-income (LMI) communities. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We see tremendous potential with the 9thWonder team and their proven multi-market platform and felt the time was right to accelerate their growth with our strategic capital and connections,” said Mantilla. “Our commitment to diverse entrepreneurs and companies, coupled with a shared alignment as Hispanic founders and leaders with complementary national platforms, make this a tremendous opportunity.”

Lambert Acquires New York Banking And Financial Services Firm Casteel Schoenborn Investor Relations Corporate Communications

DETROIT, Mich., January 14, 2020 – Lambert & Co., a top-10 investor relations firm and a top-5 private equity communications agency nationally, today announced the acquisition of Casteel Schoenborn Investor Relations & Corporate Communications. The deal marks Lambert’s seventh transaction and second in the last two months.

The transaction advances Lambert’s strategy to be the nation’s leading integrated investor relations and public relations firm for emerging and established market leaders through organic growth, acquisitions and innovation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The Casteel Schoenborn team has built a tremendous business offering strategic guidance to publicly traded regional and community banks and other U.S. financial services firms, making them a perfect fit to accelerate our strategic plan and bolster our IR and financial services sector expertise,” said Jeff Lambert, founder and CEO. “Their unique approach, enduring partnerships with management teams and vast experience set enhances our current client roster and creates a true financial services powerhouse.”

Casteel Schoenborn serves public and private enterprises, private equity firms and their legal and financial advisors in other industries nationwide, advising on a wide range of issues including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, public offerings and private placements, regulatory enforcement actions and litigation, governance issues, as well as special situations and crisis communications. Casteel Schoenborn’s professionals have worked with publicly held firms with market capitalizations ranging from under $100 million to more than $80 billion to execute IR and communications programs that achieve corporate objectives and secure full and fair valuation for the companies’ shares.

Casteel Schoenborn is based in Williamsville, N.Y. and its team is joining Lambert as part of the transaction, with principals Lynn Casteel and Jeffrey Schoenborn named managing directors.

“Joining Lambert provides us additional scale and access to talent across its network of offices in Michigan, New York City and Phoenix,” Casteel said. “Our team is excited to leverage the additional breadth of industry expertise and integrated communications capabilities for our client, as well as contribute to the success of Lambert’s clients on each end of the capital markets spectrum – from pre-revenue companies raising their first round of capital to well-established publicly traded corporations. We have advised numerous U.S. financial services companies over the years, with a strong emphasis on banking, and look forward to this next chapter in our business to provide a broader array of services that clients seek.”

Dickinson Wright to Receive Three Honors at the 11th Annual Turnaround Awards

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that it was involved in three deals that are being recognized at the 11th Annual Turnaround Awards presented by The M&A Advisor. The deals being recognized are: Dianne’s Fine Desserts for the Divestiture Deal of the Year (over $100 million); Vinnie Johnson/Irvin Automotive Acquisition for the Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year (over $100 million); and the restructuring of Gilbert & Florence Hospital for the Healthcare/Life Sciences Deal of the Year.

The Divestiture Deal of the Year, Dianne’s Fine Desserts: Superior Capital and management invested $5.1 million of permanent capital to acquire the distressed, non-core dessert subsidiary of Heinz. The sale in June 2016 to Geneva Glen Capital yielded $81.4 million of net equity proceeds, more than 15 times Superior Capital and management’s invested capital and an IRR of 93% over a four year period. At the time of the sale, Dianne’s had become recognized as the new product innovator and had grown to become the market leader of private-label, gourmet desserts due to the Company’s No. 1 supplier position in its product categories to Sysco, US Foods, Performance Food Group and Gordon Food Service, which represent the four largest foodservice distributors in the country.

The Dianne’s acquisition and recent sale was led by Dickinson Wright Attorney Andrew MacLeod (Member, Detroit), the M&A team, along with the due diligence expertise of numerous Detroit-area firms. In addition to Superior Capital and the five firms utilized as direct advisors on the sale transaction, several other Detroit-area firms contributed to the tremendous success of the Dianne’s investment.

The Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year, Vinnie Johnson/Irvin Automotive Acquisition: The Detroit entrepreneur Vinnie Johnson has acquired Irvin Automotive Products, creating one of the largest privately-owned automotive supplier groups in Michigan. Dickinson Wright represented Irvin Acquisition LLC as the buyer in an acquisition of the stock of Irvin Automotive Products Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of TK Holdings, Inc. (Takata). Other companies in the group include Piston Automotive, Detroit Thermal Systems and AIREA, Inc. The acquisition of Irvin Automotive is part of the company’s ongoing plan for further expansion as a global supply-chain leader.

The Dickinson Wright team that was involved in the acquisition was led by Jim Plemmons (Member, Detroit) and Rick Bolton (Member, Detroit), and included Zan Nicolli (Member, Troy), William Shield (Member, Detroit), Cynthia Moore (Member, Troy), John Perkins (Member, Detroit), Colleen Shevnock (Member, Ann Arbor), Andrew MacLeod (Member, Detroit), and Adam Wallace (Associate, Detroit).

The Healthcare and Life Sciences Deal of the Year, Restructuring of Gilbert & Florence Hospitals: Gilbert Hospital is a small emergency hospital located in Gilbert, Arizona, a metropolitan suburb of Phoenix. Florence Hospital at Anthem is a small emergency hospital located in Florence, Arizona, a rural community located 60 miles from Phoenix. The two hospitals were founded by the same physician but were run entirely separate with different management and vendors. They did have a common secured lender. Each hospital suffered from lack of capital, competition, lack of leadership and poor collections. Each filed separate Chapter 11 bankruptcies a year apart.

In an extremely unprecedented move, Gilbert Hospital and the secured creditor proposed a plan of reorganization joining the two essentially unrelated hospitals. However, under their plan, the secured creditor would receive additional collateral and ultimately be paid in full while unsecured creditors would receive a cents-on-the-dollar recovery.

Dickinson Wright Attorney Carolyn Johnsen (Member, Phoenix), representing the unsecured creditors’ committee in the Florence case, countered with a Committee plan and then orchestrated a series of negotiations among all the factions that included the lender, the hospitals’ landlords, the United States Trustee and the Court-appointed patient ombudsman. The result was a full payment to all creditors. This case ultimately was a successful and creative solution to merge a rural and a suburban hospital and combine their respective strengths and reduce their respective weaknesses. Ms. Johnsen serves as the Trustee for the payments to creditors and will achieve the 100% mark.

The 11th Annual Turnaround Awards will take place on March 23, 2017 at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. To see the complete list of honorees for the 11th Annual Turnaround Awards, please click here.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 450 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has seventeen offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and ten other domestic offices in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville and Music Row, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management controls and security processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.