The First Deal: Nolan Advised Crane Potato Chips in its Sale to Acton Food Corporation

“Little did we know that the Crane and Perfect transactions would be the launching pad for our investment banking career which has proven to be extremely rewarding. We have learned that each transaction plays out differently, Crane and Perfect being no exceptions. The Nolan team continues our passionate commitment to staying nimble, flexible and creative for the best interests of our clients as we know that surprises do occur in the transaction process.” – Pat Nolan, Founder and President, Nolan & Associates


1976. This is when it all began for Nolan & Associates. Fate works in unpredictable ways.

Pat Nolan, founder of Nolan & Associates, had his eyes set on acquiring Crane Potato Chips, a second-generation owned potato chip manufacturer serving the Midwest grocery and retail industry. During the process of negotiating with the owner of Crane to purchase the business, the owner sought bankruptcy protection.

Still interested in the deal, Nolan offered funds to the bankruptcy court Trustee to maintain the store shelf space while the bankruptcy process took place. Nolan was optimistic he would be the winning bidder of a closed bid process.

In the midst of all of this mayhem, the Crane workforce was approached by local union stewards wanting to organize the rank and file. The thought of having to deal with this type of activity while bringing a sick company back to health made the acquisition opportunity less attractive and no longer compelling to Nolan.

Not one to give up easily on money offered to the trustee, Nolan realized he needed to find a bidder and buyer for Crane, as no other willing parties were coming to the table. He hit the road (literally) to meet with likely buyer candidates for Crane. His search led him to Acton Corporation (AMEX: ATN), a publicly traded snack food manufacturer. Acton was well situated to acquire the product line and handle a union shop.

Before the ink was dry on the successful closing of the Crane/Acton transaction, Nolan was contacted by Perfect Potato Chip Company, as word of the efforts and positive outcome at Crane made industry news. Within a few short months, Nolan closed on the sale of Perfect to the Potato Chip King of Chicagoland, Jay’s Potato Chip, cementing his legacy as the original “chip guy”.

This was the beginning of what we know today as the investment banking business of Nolan & Associates, Ltd. Four decades and several hundred closed transactions later, the entire Nolan team continues Pat’s “leave no stone unturned” approach to providing investment banking solutions for the middle market.

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FINRA Licensed Broker Dealer Affiliated

Nolan & Associates’ commonly owned affiliate, Middle Market Transactions, Inc. (MMTI), is but one of a very few FINRA licensed broker dealers serving business owners in the middle market.

Securities offered through Middle Market Transactions, Inc. Member: FINRA/SIPC