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River Falls Sajan acquired by European company

After 20 years of growing their River Falls language translation business Sajan from a small startup in their home to a global competitor, Shannon and Angel Zimmerman are selling to Luxembourg-based Amplexor International.

The acquisition is set to close around July 2017, after Sajan shareholders vote on it. It is valued at about $28.5 million, and will represent a 46 percent premium for Sajan common stock shares.

A language translation company, Sajan started small in 1997, but has grown rapidly since then. Last year it was listed as No. 8 in North America and in the top 30 in the world in its field.

"Sajan is a company in the community that has quietly lived in the shadows but is bigger and more involved than people think," Shannon Zimmerman said.

Angel and Shannon Zimmerman started Sajan back in 1997. File photo

This acquisition is a way for the company to continue its already large growth more aggressively on the global platform, Zimmerman said.

"We've always had the relentless quest to grow," he said. "We really needed to even jump bigger."

Though the company's global reach will expand, the River Falls office will stay.

"There's just a lot of benefits to River Falls for us," said Zimmerman, who was elected to the state Assembly in November 2016.

For the current employees, 105 in River Falls with another 35 worldwide, the acquisition will mean greater career opportunities and greater job security.

"To be part of something that is even more powerful and competitive in our market," Zimmerman said.

The acquisition was a jump Zimmerman and the company considered for a while.

"We had to get ourselves to a point also where this was the logical step," Zimmerman said.

After being approached by a few companies, Zimmerman said Amplexor shared the same values as Sajan and the two complemented each other well.

"From a chemistry standpoint, it felt like a very good fit," he said.

Zimmerman said though the transaction is labeled as a sale, its a merger that will generate new growth and employment opportunity as the company becomes more competitive in the global field.

"We don't want to be a part of it, we want to lead it," Zimmerman said.

For him personally, Zimmerman said it is bittersweet to be turning over the company. The business has always been about family for him. The name itself that is an acronym for his family Shannon Angel Josh and Nick. Throughout the years, he strove to keep the family environment.

Now he said those that work for the company share the same dreams he does for its success.

"There's such a respect and appreciation for these people," he said.

Looking back on how far the business has come, Zimmerman said he is humbled by the development. He said he and his wife started the company with nothing, and after years of putting their heart and soul into it, are selling it for nearly $30 million.

"That's the American dream," he said. "That's not lost on me."

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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