Triage After a Failed Acquisition

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Challenge


  • Plastic thermoformer, which serviced the horticultural marketplace from two plants in the Midwest
  • The company lost $2 million from operations, primarily driven from losses associated with an ill-fated acquisition two years prior. Unfortunately, the owners had saved an insolvent company from bankruptcy and liquidation by absorbing all of its debts, including a beautiful manufacturing plant in the middle of a non-industrial rural area that would be difficult to sell.
  • Continuing price competition on commodity-type products had squeezed margins, and the company had inadequate cost systems to identify which products and customers were least or most profitable.
  • The company had been bleeding cash profusely and had exhausted all of its liquidity.
  • Additionally no one was in day-to-day management control of the company.
  • The owners wanted to sell the company and salvage something as they were at retirement age.

Solution

  • The initial assessment revealed the seriousness of the problem and our project manager became CRO to salvage as much value from the company as quickly as possible.
  • Quickly closed the corporate office and one of the plants, relocating all functions to the other plant to improve the significant underutilized capacity and to conserve cash and reduce costs.
  • Attempted to keep the business operating as we hoped to bridge to a sale transaction and avoid a liquidation that would be financially disastrous for all parties.
  • Negotiated on a daily basis for two months with the vendors and the bank to keep the business alive as a going concern in order to sell it.

Results

  • Found two prospective buyers who both preferred to purchase the business through a bankruptcy 363 sale.
  • Sold the business via a 363 sale as our previous marketing was critical in convincing the court of the market value of the proposed deal and sold the expensive plant independent of the business.
  • The secured lender recovered over 90% of its loan in this very difficult and painful process.

Daniel F. Dooley

Dan Dooley, CTP, is a Principal and CEO at MorrisAnderson based out of Chicago. He has a strong national reputation in crisis management, operations improvement, debt refinancing/restructuring and C-level positions. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and a regular author for industry periodicals. Dan has served on the Board of Directors of both Read More