I.O. Metro Acquired By Banyan Funds, Consumer Growth Partners And Diamond State Ventures

I.O. Metro Acquired By Banyan Funds, Consumer Growth Partners And Diamond State Ventures

I.O. METRO (www.io-metro.com), a specialty lifestyle furniture retailer, is pleased to announce its acquisition by Banyan Funds, Consumer Growth Partners and Diamond State Ventures. I.O. METRO, a privately held company headquartered in Arkansas, was founded in 2005 by Jay Howard and Bill and Helen Benton and currently operates 21 stores across eight states in the Midwest and South. I.O. METRO primarily sells exclusively developed lines of modern and eclectic furniture, art and accessories.

Banyan Funds in partnership with Consumer Growth Partners and Diamond State Ventures purchased the Company on January 21, 2011. Friday, Eldredge & Clark represented I.O. METRO in the transaction and the Rose Law Firm represented the investor group.

“I.O. METRO is incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with such experienced capital,” said CEO Jay Howard. “It is important to note that all current ownership will be moving forward with the new company, as well as the entire management team. This collaboration will further allow us to advance our expansion strategies, which include plans to triple the company’s size in the next five years.”

Consumer Growth Partners, with offices in New York and Kansas City, is an independent private equity sponsor that focuses exclusively on investments in the retail, branded consumer products and restaurant sectors. CGP seeks to acquire companies that have a compelling proposition, proven economics, a significant profit growth potential and an experienced management team.

“I.O. METRO offers a tremendous opportunity to expand a proven and unique home furnishings retail concept. We are excited to partner with Jay Howard and his management team. Howard has been successful in quickly establishing I.O. METRO as a category leader,” said CGP Partner Jeff Teeven. “We are also pleased to partner with Banyan Mezzanine and Diamond State Ventures on this transaction.”

Diamond State Ventures is a private equity and venture capital firm with a $125 million fund based in Little Rock, Ark. Diamond State Ventures invests in small and lower middle market companies located in Arkansas and across the Midwest and Southeast United States.

About I.O. METRO
Headquartered in Lowell, Ark., I.O. METRO is a moderately priced, specialty lifestyle furniture retailer that sells modern and eclectic furniture, art and accessories in 21 locations across the Midwest and South. Through its innovative in-house product development team and network of sourcing options in 14 countries, I.O. METRO is able to differentiate itself from monotonous furniture choices so common in the furniture industry. Each I.O. METRO store offers a wide range of custom options with free design service. For information, visit www.io-metro.com.

About Banyan Funds
Banyan Funds was founded in 2002 to provide mezzanine capital to smaller middle-market companies headquartered primarily in the Southeastern United States.

With over $250 million of committed capital from Fund I (2004) and Fund II (2007), we provide financing of approximately $2 million to $8 million to companies which meet our investment criteria, generally structured in the form of subordinated debt with attached warrants, but we will also participate in equity co-investments.

Banyan has invested in over 45 companies to date. We strive to contribute beyond the capital provided to our portfolio investments by entering into a close partnership arrangement with management teams, coupling high integrity with a desire to build substantial enterprise value. We expect to be active following the financing, making available our extensive corporate finance, lending and strategic management advisory experience.