The moral compass at Volkswagen was evidently not set to true north. The easy way or the cheapest solution in the short run may well be the most difficult way and the most expensive in the long run. Let the example at Volkswagen be a call for all of us to reexamine our moral compasses, both as individuals and as those compasses get translated within our companies. Some of the best decisions are made when we simply say no to the easy road.
“Is Your Business Ready for Sale?” is one of the most pressing question facing business owners today. And the question is important for advisers to businesses, since we are instrumental in asking hard questions and, indeed, have the responsibility for asking hard questions of our private company clients. At the outset of a new series of posts, let me say categorically, I am not, not, not suggesting that your business should be up for sale. Bear with me while we focus on the actual question of “Is Your Business Ready for Sale?”
Shares of La Quinta Holdings (LQ) dropped sharply upon the surprise announcement on Thursday, September 17th, after the close of trading, of the the resignation of its CEO, Wayne Goldberg. The stated reason for the resignation was “mutual agreement.” Mr. Goldberg had been CEO at La Quinta for about 15 years.
In a second announcement the same afternoon, La Quinta provided modestly lower guidance (than previous) for RevPAR (revenue per available room) and for full year adjusted EBITDA. RevPAR guidance was lowered about 1.0% from an expected increase of 4.5% to 5.5% to the range of 3.5% to 4.5%.
The reaction in the share pricing of La Quinta on Thursday was immediate and severe. After closing at $18.97 per share Wednesday afternoon, the opening price Thursday morning was $15.93 per share, or some 16% lower than the day before. Based on about 131 million shares outstanding, the drop amounted to about $400 million in lost market capitalization.
So many questions that a business owner must ask. And answer, if he or she hopes to have successful management and ownership transitions and a successful business end game that prepares him or her for the rest of life. Many of the questions are interrelated and the answers to some will influence the answers to others. I pose the following questions as a starting point for discussion between owners, their families, their key employees, and their advisers. At the conclusion of the questions, I suggest that you can begin to work on answers by examining your buy-sell agreement. That process will get you in the mode of asking and answering critical questions during the interim time between now and your business end game that will insure that you transition ownership and management smoothly and prepare for the rest of your life.
When I read about Uber’s most recent financing, which valued its equity at $51 billion, I thought about FedEx Corporation, a Memphis-based company. I then wrote a blog post titled Uber Market Cap of Equity Exceeds that of FedEx. This past week, my thoughts about FedEx turned towards AutoZone, another Memphis-based company, as well as […]
This post introduces the concept of “interim time,” which is the easily lost time between two critical goal posts in the life of a business owner, his or her current status quo and their business end game. It is, after all, what we do during this interim time that prepares us not only for our inevitable business end games, but also for the rest of our lives.
A decade ago, Richard Jackim and Peter Christman wrote a book entitled The $10 Trillion Opportunity. The second edition had the subtitle of “Designing Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners.” While the book did provide a guide for financial advisers working with middle market business owners, I don’t recall that it provided a basis for […]
In this post, I explain why I believe that fixed price buy-sell agreements are not workable for most closely held and family businesses. This is as true for large companies as well as much smaller companies. However, if you or your client insists on using a fixed pricing mechanism in a buy-sell agreement, take the steps recommended in this post to maximize the probability of success and minimize the potential for future disputes. My text for this sermon lies in Chapters 9, 13, 14, 16 and 17 of Buy-Sell Agreements for Closely Held and Family Business Owners.