By The Business Journal of Milwaukee

ZBB Energy Corp. said Monday that it has agreed to buy Tier Electronics LLC, a Menomonee Falls manufacturer of power electronics, for about $3.2 million in cash, stock and assumed debt.

Menomonee Falls-based ZBB Energy, a manufacturer of utility-scale batteries and power systems for renewable energy applications, said the transaction expands it offerings of power management systems and customer base.

With the acquisition, ZBB (NYSE AMEX: ZBB) will offer energy storage, utilization and management systems that range from wind and solar converters to power quality, micro-grid systems and hybrid electric drives for vehicles. Eric Apfelbach, ZBB's president and CEO, called the deal a "game changer" for the company.

"When it comes to renewable energy, we now have the capability to store it, use it and manage it over a wide range of powers and applications," Apfelbach said in a press release.

ZBB Energy will acquire Tier Electronics for a $1.35 million promissory note paid over three years, 800,000 shares of common stock and assumption of approximately $900,000 of liabilities, including customer deposits of approximately $350,000. Based on ZBB's Jan. 21 closing price of $1.15 per share, the stock portion of the consideration is worth $920,000.

Jeffrey Reichard, Tier Electronics founder and president, will serve as president of Tier Electronics, as ZBB's vice president of electronics development, and will serve as a member of ZBB Energy's board of directors. Tier currently has 16 employees and operates from a 10,400-square-foot leased facility in Menomonee Falls. Tier Electronics will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of ZBB Energy.

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