M&A wrap: East Coast media group launches new Hispanic radio station in Austin

November 17, 2020
ABJ Staff

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Originally published on Austin Business Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2020/11/17/m-a-wrap-provene-point-health-norsan.html

As mergers and acquisitions bounce back to near pre-pandemic levels, here are four recent deals that caught our attention.

• Point Health Tech Inc., an Austin-based digital health startup, announced Nov. 16 that it plans to buy The Karis Group, an Austin company that's been around for more than two decades helping people navigate the health care billing process. Financial terms were not disclosed. Point Health is building an app to help people find, understand and pay for health care services, according to its website. The product is still in beta testing and is expected to launch in early 2021. The announcement framed the deal as a way to combine Point Health's "team of experienced product, technology, and UX design experts" with The Karis Group's "pricing data, healthcare navigation, and bill negotiation experience." Dr. Tony Dale founded Karis in 1996 after negotiating down the bill for his own knee surgery. The Karis Group website says the company puts 10% of its monthly profits into charitable work, both in Austin and around the world. The Karis Group name will disappear as the two sides combine under the Point Health brand in the first quarter. Matt Dale, son of Tony Dale, leads both Point Health and Karis Group as CEO. In a May blog post, Matt Dale explained how he had worked at Karis after college, but left to embark on his own entrepreneurial career (he was co-founder of daily-deal website Mooala Brands and founder of Snap Brands, a subscription box company). Dale then returned to Karis in 2017 and became CEO in March, according to his LinkedIn page.

• Austin startup Provene Inc., which built an app that addiction treatment providers can use to monitor patients, announced Nov. 16 it had been acquired for an undisclosed amount by iVitalize, a California-based company making treatments for drug addiction such as infusion therapy. Provene was actually scheduled to present Nov. 16 during the latest Austin Technology Incubator Demo Days. Oscar Martinez, chief financial officer for iVitalize, appeared at the virtual ATI presentation and said Provene's tech will be integrated into iVitalize's wider approach to treating addiction. Austin Inno has more on the deal.

• Norsan Media, which owns Hispanic-focused media outlets across the Southeast, announced Nov. 12 that it had acquired an Austin radio station as the foothold for its expansion into Texas. Norsan paid an undisclosed amount for frequency KZNX and translator K236AY, which are now broadcasting La Raza 95.1 FM/1530 AM. “This will be the beginning of our expansion in Austin and in the Texas market and we’re excited to introduce La Raza to our great growing community,” Norberto Sanchez, Norsan Media’s CEO, said in a statement. The seller was America Telecommunications Group Inc., according to trade publication Inside Radio. Norsan Media said it reaches more than 2.5 million Hispanics in the United States. It is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and owns 29 radio stations, three TV stations and three weekly publications in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and now Texas, according to the announcement. Parent company Norsan — which is also led by Sanchez — owns and operates 18 restaurants including Frontera Mex-Mex Grill, Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano, Pampas Steakhouse and Frankie’s the Steakhouse. It also owns a meat processing and distribution company called Prime Meats.

• Austin-based Your Fare Inc., maker of a platform that helps restaurants manage and track online orders, has bought two other Austin companies. It announced Nov. 11 its acquisition of digital marketing startup Beyond4 to enhance its suite of tools for restaurants. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Beyond4 offers its clients the ability to target their customers with tailored messaging through SMS and email, a service that will allow Your Fare to build toward being a one-stop-shop for restaurants. Then, on Nov. 12, Your Fare announced its acquisition of Pronto, which also makes online ordering management software for restaurants. Financial terms were not disclosed. Your Fare earlier this year raised a $2.4 million seed funding round from angel networks including Band of Angels, Houston Angel Network, Capital Factory, Sierra Angels and Texas HALO Fund.

Brent Wistrom with Austin Inno contributed reporting for this story.

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