What Happens When I Change My Mind (and don’t complete the transaction)?

graphics failed acquisitionsWhat happens when Larry (your son in-law) loses his plant manager’s job on the east coast at the same time you are scheduling the closing date for your manufacturing company in the Midwest?

Your daughter would love to move the family back here (babies and all) if only her husband could find a good plant manager job in MN?

It has been my experience that no amount of money will stand in the way of grandpa doing what is best for the family (if money is not the driving force behind the sale) and if you are the buyer, no amount of lawyering or threatening will win you this deal.

Most privately held sale transactions don’t treat the issue of deal termination well to start with.

Losses to the buyer of a transaction that was shopped for for twelve to twenty four months and worked on for another six to eight months are hard to recover (don’t forget to add lost opportunity costs).

There are other reasons that hard won deals don’t end well for buyers.  Another in-law example (brother in-law) had spent years siphoning off inventory from the family business and running his own operation with corrupt employees sharing bonus money.  This was uncovered in the due diligence phase after years of search and months of back and forth negotiating.

I think it true that most deals don’t close and many transactions that do close have too much “hair on them” which makes them struggle or fail.

Even the best process and smartest deal making people will have these problems but far more trouble can be expected from a weak team and poor process.

One of our recent public company engagements was with a buyer still paying for a very big acquisition mistake ten years later.  The board was very much like the cat that sat on a hot stove.  It would never sit on a hot stove again (nor would it ever sit on a cold stove).

Shortcuts and a non-professional approach to acquisition can cost allot.  Transactions are all about risk and smart people want it minimized.  Find good people and develop best practices – it saves money.

 

 

 

 

 

An Uncomfortable Family Reunion

ensenadaAA business owner, we’ll call him John, grew his rebuilt truck parts business over 30 years to 20+MM – no small achievement. John’s  company was a major employer in a small town. John himself was a celebrated benefactor at school fundraisers and church events. Continue reading “An Uncomfortable Family Reunion”

Corporate Communications & Successful Acquisitions

african art 2 It’s often the very best people that bail out when acquisitions are badly managed.

Corporate communication can save good employees and customers during the acquisition process if used wisely. The loss of key people and customers is extremely costly.  The investments in team and resources to preempt these losses are quite modest in comparison.

Because it is a difficult topic with no single right answer, management often fears saying anything that might disturb the troops.  When nothing is said & rumors become the key to information, employees ride the emotional roller coaster that drives those who can move on to consider other possibilities. Continue reading “Corporate Communications & Successful Acquisitions”

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