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Thursday, July 10, 2008

North Track Funds Parent Changes Hands

News summary by MFWire's editors

The Ziegler Companies, parent firm of North Track Funds just got a lot more employee friendly. The Ziegler family has sold its remaining interest in the company to a buying group of employee-owners at a price of $35 per share. The buyout means that Ziegler family will no longer be associated with their namesake company they have been involved with for more than 100 years. Bernard C. Ziegler III, currently chairman of The Ziegler Companies, will also be retiring from the company. Total assets for Ziegler's asset management arm, Ziegler Capital Management, were at $3.3 billion as of March 31.

Company Press Release

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Ziegler Companies, Inc. (symbol: ZGCO), a diversified financial services holding company, today announced a significant stock transaction effective July 9, 2008. On this date, the Ziegler family sold its remaining interest in the firm to a buying group of employee-owners at a price of $35 per share.

“I believe that the company is now ready for the next phase of growth and it will take the total commitment of management to make it work. The Ziegler Companies is truly a boutique and, I believe, should be owned, in large part, by the employees,” said Bernard C. Ziegler III, who will be retiring as chairman of The Ziegler Companies, Inc.

“This is a very important step for our firm,” said CEO John Mulherin. “It continues a trend begun several years ago to transform our firm into an independent and closely-held company characterized by significant employee ownership.”

In the last five years the company has undertaken numerous steps to restructure its equity base. These include a series of tender offers, equity actions, and treasury purchases that have reduced the public float by over 1,000,000 shares. In addition, the company delisted its stock at year-end 2004 and discontinued its dividend in 2007. Presently the firm has just over 1,200,000 shares outstanding of which roughly 80% are owned by employees and directors.

“This transaction marks a pivotal moment for the company. The Ziegler family has provided over 100 years of leadership and involvement in the firm and our associates are grateful for their ongoing friendship and goodwill,” said Mr. Mulherin.

About Ziegler:

The Ziegler Companies, Inc. (symbol: ZGCO) is a growth-oriented boutique investment banking and investment services firm with a primary focus in the healthcare, senior living, church and school and renewable energy sectors. Operations encompass capital markets (capital advisory services, bond underwriting, mortgage banking, institutional sales and trading) and wealth management, including asset management and investment services.

Nationally, Ziegler’s Capital Markets is ranked as one of the leading investment banking firms for not-for-profit healthcare and senior living providers, as well as religious institutions and schools.

Ziegler Wealth Management (retail brokerage) encompasses investment and consulting services for individuals, families, business owners and institutions. It operates a network of financial advisors throughout Wisconsin and the nation.

Ziegler's alternative investing activities include raising and deploying capital through private investment funds with investment objectives related to the real estate, services and technology sectors of the healthcare and senior living industries.

Ziegler Capital Management, LLC sponsors the North Track family of mutual funds and provides separate account management for individuals, corporations, foundations and endowments. Total assets under management are approximately $3.3 billion (as of 3/31/08).

Certain comments in this news release represent forward-looking statements made pursuant to the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, in particular, the overall financial health of the securities industry, the strength of the healthcare sector of the U.S. economy and the municipal securities marketplace, the ability of the Company to underwrite and distribute securities, the market value of mutual fund portfolios and separate account portfolios advised by the Company, the volume of sales by its retail brokers, the outcome of pending litigation, and the ability to attract and retain qualified employees. 

Edited by: Erin Kello

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