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MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
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Auri Design Group acquires Wellstone Filter Sciences

The Laguna Beach-based company says it will benefit from access to the public markets.

BY BRANDON RUSSELLPublished: March 01, 2011 12:00 PM

Auri Design Group, a Laguna Beach-based design and marketing company for men’s and women’s fashion footwear, has acquired publicly traded Wellstone Filter Sciences Inc. via a reverse merger. Wellstone, based in North Carolina, holds a patent on an advanced filter technology for cigarettes.

The company’s decision to select a reverse merger over a traditional IPO was made to avoid heavier costs, and to expedite the lengthy process usually associated with a traditional IPO, said Auri President and CEO Ori Rosenbaum.

“We believe this company is poised for the type of growth that would simply outpace an organically funded venture of this scale,” Rosenbaum said. “Our products and brand positioning are spot-on, and with access to the public markets, we hope to be able to take advantage of opportunities and execute strategic growth initiatives that we’ve previously had to pass up.”

After two years of operating boutique retailers, Auri earned the No. 8 spot on Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies for 2009 – the only footwear, fashion or apparel company to make the list.

“Auri is an incredible brand that has the potential to revolutionize the footwear industry,” said Wellstone CEO L. Jeremiah Hands. “The products have already proven to be highly successful at retail, and we are very impressed with Auri’s management team.”

Auri – which touts innovative designs, advanced technical materials and performance engineering – is poised to launch a new women’s fashion category into retail next month, alongside its already successful men’s line. To showcase the collection, the company has released its first brand movie – a tongue-in-cheek presentation highlighting the marriage of form and function.

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