How Cooper-Standard plans to seal more M&A deals

Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
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Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc. CEO Jeffrey Edwards isn’t keeping the company’s growth strategy a secret.

The automotive sealing parts supplier is laser-focused on merger and acquisition activity to expand its core businesses -- and it’s bringing in the ammo to seize its market share.

The company said earlier this month it hired longtime M&A attorney Aleksandra Miziolek to serve as its vice president, general counsel and secretary. She will succeed Timothy Hefferon, who is retiring in February after serving in the roles since 2004. Hefferon will continue as a senior legal officer on a transitional basis until June 2014.

Miziolek will be charged with closing acquisitions under Edwards’ direction, she said.

In an October interview with Crain’s Detroit Business, Edwards said strategic acquisitions are in the future for those businesses. Cooper-Standard acquired Jyco Sealing Technologies Inc. in July, adding three additional plants in Canada, China and Mexico.

The supplier was also listed on the New York Stock Exchange in October.

“There are other opportunities that we are looking at,” Edwards said. “We're having more discussions with our customers; we believe acquisition has been part of the history of Cooper-Standard, and there is no doubt that in the coming months, that will continue.”

Miziolek will leave her position as shareholder and director at Detroit law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC’s automotive and manufacturing practice for Cooper-Standard, where she led the firm in representing 80 active suppliers in acquisition and divestitures activity.

She also represented Ford Motor Credit Co. during its 2005 divestiture of Triad Financial Corp.

Miziolek said the supplier’s commitment to growth presented an opportunity too great to ignore.

“There’s going to be a lot of activity on the M&A front,” Miziolek said. “The decision wasn’t easy, but the opportunity to work with a rapidly-growing supplier is amazing.”

However, it wasn’t Cooper-Standard’s desire for growth that sealed the deal -- it was Poland.

Polish is Miziolek’s first language as a first-generation born in the U.S. to immigrant parents. She said Cooper-Standard’s six plants in Poland and potential growth in the emergent industry in the country is what excited her most.

“I look forward to spending some time in Poland, speaking the native language,” she said.

And, hopefully, sealing some deals.

You can reach Dustin Walsh at dwalsh@crain.com.

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