Case Histories

Dodson, David, and Irv Grousbeck. 2020. "Nashton Partners." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Launched: 06/2008; Acquired: N/A; Funded Search - $500KK raise; Searchers: Jay Davis - HBS-2008 and Jason Pananos - HBS-2008; Search Name: Nashton Partners; Source: Email prospecting; Company: Vector Disease Control; Industry: Pest Control; Location: Arkansas; Employees: 40; Revenue: $7,500K; EBITDA: $1,400K; Price: $6,500K; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: N/A; Equity: N/A; Setting: 26 months into the search, searchers are evaluating two proposals, both of which may extend their search even longer; Unique: Seeking additional funds to extend search from investors, seeking equity funding beyond investors; Non-disguised."

Ruback , Richard, and Royce Yudkoff . 2017-05. "Cambridge Franchise Partners." Harvard Business School Publishing.

"Launched: 09/2013; Acquired: 09/2013; Self-Funded; Searcher: Matt Perelman - HBS-2015 and Alex Sloane-HBS-2015; Search Name: Cambridge Franchise Partners; Source: Networking; Companies: Burger King & Maaco franchisees; Industry: Quick Service Restaurants and Auto Painting; Location: Boston, MA; Revenue: $$43MM; EBITDA: $5.7M; Setting: Perelman and Sloane commence a roll-up in the quick service restaurant and automotive paint segments. They focus on operating improvements and spinning-off real estate.; Unique: Franchisee businesses; QSR, Rapid Growth."

Ruback, Richard, and Royce Yudkoff. 2016-09. "Rose Electronics Distributing Company." Harvard Business School Publishing; Revision Date: Nov 05, 2016.

"Funded Search Launched: 01/2014; Acquired: 04/2016; Searcher: Itamar Frankenthal - HBS-2013; Name: New Concord Capital; Company: Rose Electronics Distribution; Industry: Electronics; Location: San Jose, CA; Revenue: $14.6MM; EBITDA: $2.2MK; Seller Note: $3.5MK; Debt: $4.5MK; Setting: Itamar Frankenthal reviews the various term sheets provided after presenting over 40 banks with his request to provide a loan of $4.5M to support the purchase or Rose.; Unique: Term sheets from 9 different banks are presented for analysis."

Ruback, Richard, and Royce Yudkoff. 2016-08. "Baskits Inc." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: November 2016.

"Launched: 2011; Acquired: 10/2014; Self-Funded; Searcher: Robin Kovitz - HBS-2007; Name: JetStar Capital; Company: Baskits; Industry: Gift Baskets; Location: Toronto, ON; Employees: 14; Revenue: $N/A; EBITDA: $N/A; Setting: Soon after Robin Kovitz (MBA 2007) acquired Baskits Inc., the largest gift basket company in Canada, she became convinced that the business needed to make significant operational improvements. In her first year as CEO, she introduced an ERP system to help with sales and purchasing and relocated the business to a more efficient facility. She wondered if she had moved too quickly.; Unique: Seasonal business; importance of logistics; taking charge in the first month."

Sahlman, William, Robert White, and Stephanie Puzio. 2015. "Discover Capital." Harvard Business School, March 10, 2015.

"Launched: 10/2014; Funded Search-12 Investors, $405K raise; Searcher: Kelly Bianucci - KEL-2011; Search Name: Discover Capital; Location: Denver, CO; Setting: One month after raising fund; Kelly Bianucci starts up her search.; Unique: Over-subscribed fund; female searcher; Non-disguised."

Sharpe, Jim, William R. Kerr, and James Weber. 2015. "Winnan Metal: Fulfilling the Dream ." Harvard Business School, February 6, 2015.

"Launched: 07/2010; Acquired: 11/2011; Funded Search-14 Investors, $560K raise; Searcher: Neil Lombardo - HBS-2008 and Neil Kashyap-UMass-2004; Name: Wide River Partners; Source: Network; Company: Winnan Metal; Industry: Metal Fabrication; Location: Indiana; Employees: 200; Revenue: $23,900M; EBITDA: $N/A; Price: $N/A; Seller Note: $N/A; Debt: $N/A; Equity: $N/A; Setting: 12 months after the acquisition, contemplating expansion, investment and possibly an acquisition; Unique: Lean Manufacturing, ERP systems, quality and delivery issues; Fully disguised."

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2014. "Fail Safe Testing, Inc.." Harvard Business School.

"Launched: 07/2013; Acquired: 06/2014; Funded Search; Searcher: Tony Bautista - Sloan-2013; Name: Long Trail Leadership; Source: Business Broker; Company: Fail Safe Testing, Inc.; Industry: Equipment Testing Services for Fire Departments; Location: Manalapan, New Jersey; Employees: N/A; Revenue: $2,600M; EBITDA: $0.960K; Price: N/A; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: N/A; Equity: N/A; Setting: 90 days after acquisition, dealing with day-to-day issues; Unique: Employee issues when in a service company, 1st 100 days of ownership; Disguised financials."

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2014. "Citywide Building Services." Harvard Business School.

"Launched: 06/2013; Acquired: 08/2014; Funded Search; Searcher: Greg Ambrosia - HBS-2013; Name: Sunsphere Capital; Source: N/A; Company: Citywide Building Services; Industry: Window cleaning services; Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Employees: 50; Revenue: $10,300M; EBITDA: $2,910K; Price: $12,376K; Seller Note: $N/AK; Debt: $N/AK; Equity: $4,121K; Setting: 60 days after acquisition considering how to extend coverage and manage new hiring; Unique: Transitioning knowledge from owner to the searcher, being "tested" by employees; Disguised hourly and bidding rates."

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2014. "Zeswitz Music." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: January 12, 2015.

"Launched: 06/2012; Acquired: 07/2013; Funded Search; Searcher: Randy Shayler - HBS-2012; Name: Succession Leadership Capital; Source: N/A; Company: Zeswitz Music; Industry: Musical Instrument rentals; Location: Reading, PA; Employees: 26; Revenue: $N/A; EBITDA: $N/A; Price: $N/A; Seller Note: $N/A; Debt: $N/A; Equity: $N/A; Setting: More than a year after the acquisition, the searcher is evaluating the sales organization and pricing structure after a year of declining sales; Unique: Recovering from sales decline."

Chess, Robert, and Austin Kiessig. 2013. "Brown Robin Capital." Stanford Graduate School of Business, April 3, 2013.

"Acquired: 2009; Funded Search-15 Investors, $525K raise; Searchers: Lucas Brown and Ryan Robinson - GSB-2008; Search Name: Brown Robin Capital; Source: Proprietary cold call; Company: OnRamp Access, Inc.; Industry: Information Data; Location: Austin, TX; Employees: 19; Revenue: N/A; EBITDA: N/A; Price: $10.4M; Seller Note: $0M; Debt: $5.2M; Equity: $5.2M; Setting: 2-3 years after acquisition Braun and Robinson reflect on the search process, an early "busted deal" and their transition into ownership after raising the financing to purchase the company: Unique: Searching and fundraising during a recession; seller requests for non-valuation extra considerations; Non-disguised."

Kelly, Peter, and Lacey Wismer. 2013. "Vestige Capital." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Launched: 06/2009; Funded Search: 15 Investors, $525K raise; Searcher: Mario Sicilio - GSB-2009 and Jose Antonio Fernandez-GSB-2009; Name: Vestige Capital, LLC; Source: Broker; Company: Bomi Mexico; Industry: 3rd Party Logistics for Health Care Industry; Location: Mexico; Employees; Revenue: $13,100M; EBITDA: $N/A; Price: $30,000K; Seller Note: $N/A; Debt: $N/A; Equity: $N/A; Setting: 21 months after founding search facing an opportunity to re-price an earlier offer; Unique: Search Partner leaving the search, re-pricing a deal, running out of funds; Non-disguised."

Sharpe, Jim, and James Weber. 2013. "Elasto Therm: The Next Step." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: September 9, 2013.

"Acquired: 2001; Self-Funded Search; Searchers: Nate and Julia Burstein - HBS-1995; Source: Networking; Industry: Rubber and Urethane; Location: Columbus, Ohio; At time of Case Employees: 90; Revenue: $15M; EBITDA: $2.6K; Setting: 11 years after purchase, operational challenges during recession and facing growth decisions; Unique: Husband and wife switch CEO roles; Disguised locations, protagonist and company names."

Ruback, Richard, and Royce Yudkoff. 2012. "Home Nursing of North Carolina." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: June 3, 2013.

"Acquired: 2012; Self-funded; Searcher: Ari Medoff - HBS--2011; Name: Arosa, LLC; Source: Proprietary email; Acquired: Home Nursing of North Carolina; Industry: Health Care Services; Location: Raleigh, North Carolina; Employees: 120; Revenue: $4.6M; EBITDA: $833K; Price: $3.6M; Seller Note: $1.15M; Setting: Just prior to closing; Unique: EBITDA performance hurdle; Non-disguised."

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2012. "Castronics." Harvard Business School.

"Launched: 6/2009; Acquired: 12/2009; Self-Funded; Searchers: Patrick Dickenson - HBS-2009 and Michael Weiner-Sloan-2007; Name: Ninth Street Capital Partners; Source: N/A; Company: Castronics; Industry: Oilfield components; Location: Kimball, Nebraska; Employees: 29; Revenue: $5,500M; EBITDA: $2,597K; Price: $9,350K; Seller Note: $2,250K; Debt: $5,800K; Equity: $1,300K; Setting: 2 years after the acquisition, considering their next steps for the business after sales and EBITDA had tripled; Unique: Challenges of growth in hiring employees and expanding capacity. Unusual revenue sharing with a partner company; Non-disguised."

Sharpe, Jim, Michael J. Roberts, and Sonia Nagala Chang. 2012. "Paul Thomson: Walker Insurance." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: June 26, 2013.

"Acquired: 2011; Funded Search-15 Investors, $312K raise; Searcher: Paul Thomson - HBS--2009; Name: Scottish American Capital; Source: Proprietary letter; Acquired: Walker Insurance; Industry: Specialty Insurance-Managing General Agent; Location: Florida; Employees: 32; Revenue: $3.2M; EBITDA: $235K; Price: $1.680M; Seller Note: $1.380M; Setting: 6 months after closing; Unique: Earnout; Running the business before ownership, Disguised location and company name."

Sharpe, Jim, Michael J Roberts, and Howard H Stevenson. 2012. "Peter Jepsen." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: April 26, 2013.

"Acquired: 2010; Funded Search-10 Investors, $280K raise; Searcher: Peter Jepsen - HBS-2007; Name: Allman Corporation; Source: network contact; Industry: Furniture Hardware manufacturing; Location: Stockton, California; Employees: 98; Revenue: $23.5M; EBITDA: $971K; Price: $7,007M; Seller Note: $0.630M; Debt: $3.1M; Equity: $2.8M; Setting: 9 months after the acquisition with declining revenues; Unique: Breaching bank covenants, dispute over working capital adjustment and difficulty with seller, Disguised timeline, location, and searcher/company name"

Nanda, Ramana, William R. Kerr, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. 2011. "Innova-Mex Capital, LLC." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: August 25, 2012.

"Launched: 07/2009; Acquired: N/A; Funded Search-15 Investors, $525KK raise; Searcher: Eduardo Clave de Robina - HBS-2009 and Fernandez de Loyola-HBS-2009; Name: Innova-Mex Capital, LLC; Source: N/A; Company: ENKONTROL; Industry: ERP Software for construction; Location: Monterrey, Mexico; Employees: N/A; Revenue: $N/AM; EBITDA: $5.68K; Price: $N/AK; Seller Note: $20%; Debt: $20%; Equity: $60%; Setting: 7 months into search in final negotiations with seller; Unique: Owner retains 20%, challenges with real estate, seller working full time for 6 months; Non-disguised."

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2011. "Lind Equipment." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: June 3, 2013.

"Launched: 05/2006; Acquired: 12/2007; Funded Search-10 Investors, $N/AK raise; Searcher: Brian Astl - HBS-2006 and Sean Van Doorselaer-Queens-2005; Name: OPK Capital; Source: ; Company: Lind Equipment Ltd.; Industry: Industrial Safety Equipment; Location: Ontario, Canada; Employees: N/A; Revenue: $5,803M; EBITDA: $1,715K; Price: $7,250K; Seller Note: $725K; Debt: $3,350K; Equity: $3,175K; Setting: 6 months after acquisition, sales and earnings down, debt is in default; Unique: Finding additional financing - institutions or investors, recession impact;"

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2011. "Nashton Partners and its Search Fund Process." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: July 12, 2012.

"Launched: 06/2008; Acquired: N/A; Funded Search-20 Investors, $500K raise; Searchers: Jay Davis - HBS-2008 and Jason Pananos - HBS-2008; Name: Nashton Partners; Source: Email prospecting; Company: Vector Disease Control; Industry: Pest Control; Location: Arkansas; Employees: 40; Revenue: $7,500M; EBITDA: $1,400K; Price: $6,500K; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: $2,900K; Equity: $3,900K; Setting: 26 months into the search, searchers are evaluating one final proposals, considering going back to investors for $60,000 for additional search time; Unique: Seeking additional funds to extend search from investors, searchers living in two locations running the business; Non-disguised"

Ruback, Richard S. and Royce Yudkoff. 2011. "Greg Mazur and the Purchase of Great Eastern Premium Pet Foods." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: June 6, 2013.

"Launched: 06/1997; Acquired: 03/1999; Self Funded Search; Searcher: Greg Mazur - HBS-1997; Name: N/A; Source: N/A; Company: Great Eastern Premium Pet Food; Industry: Wholesale Pet food distribution; Location: Boston, MA; Employees: N/A; Revenue: $7,654M; EBITDA: N/K; Price: N/A; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: $736K; Equity: $500K; Setting: During due diligence; Unique: Earnout on Sales, working capital adjustment and turnaround; Non-disguised."

Ellis, Jim, and Lisa Sweeney. 2010. "WorkWell(A,B&C)." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Launched: N/A; Acquired; Funded Search; Searcher: Carla Kelso - GSB-xxxx and Derin Frasher-GSB-xxxx; Name: Big Sky Capital; Source: Network; Company: WorkWell; Industry: Professional Employer Organization-outsourcing HR functions; Location: Austin, TX; Employees: 40; Revenue: $12,386M; EBITDA: $2,605K; Price: $16,000K; Seller Note: $0K; Debt: $5,000K; Equity: $7,915K; Setting: 3 snapshots: early negotiations, final LOI terms, and preparation for a day on of ownership; Unique: Hi multiple; first-day meeting with employees; Fully disguised"

Ellis, Jim. 2009. "Models of Entrepreneurial Acquisition." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Setting: As he nears graduation from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Pat Smith is considering his career plans. He wants to be an entrepreneur, but he has no start-up idea of his own. He is interested in entrepreneurship through acquisition and, based on conversations with various entrepreneurs, is trying to decide which type of search fund is right for him: a traditional, or funded, search, a self-funded search, or a sponsored search. In addition, he has to decide whether to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor immediately after graduation or later in his career."

Ellis, James, and Sean Harrington. 2008. "Aero Logistics." Stanford Graduate School of Business, Revised September 7, 2011.

"Acquired: 2003; Funded Search-13 Investors, $375K raise; Searcher: John Fowler-GSB-00 and Josh Greenberg-GSB-00; Name: Montebello Capital; Source: Investment Banker contact; Industry: Logistics Services; Location: San Francisco Bay, California; Employees: 12; Revenue: $5.6M; EBITDA: $1.492M; Price: $5.175M; Seller Note: $1.750M; Debt: N/A; Equity: $4.0M; Setting: 6 years after the acquisition, selling the business; Unique: Full history from founding to exit, Partner searchers and interactions with spouses; Non-disguised"

Ellis, James, and Sean Harrington. 2008. "David Dunwood." Stanford Graduate School of Business, Revised October 16, 2009.

"Acquired: 2004; Funded Search-7 Investors, $350K raise; Searcher: David Dunwood - GSB-1996; Name: Falcon Capital; Source: WSJ article; Company: Mountain Auto; Industry: Automotive Aftermarket Parts Retailer; Location: Rocky Mountains; Employees: 1,200; Revenue: $129M; EBITDA: $10M; Price: $59M; Seller Note: $5M; Debt: $35M; Equity: $20M; Setting: 18 months after purchase; Unique: Declining profits, shrinking cash flow, facing bankruptcy, intense competition, executive morale issues, and vendor concerns; Disguised location, timeline, the protagonist and company name."

Marshall, Paul W. and Gustavo Herrero. 2007. "Parmalat Uruguay (A&B)." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: November 30, 2012, https://hbr.org/product/parmalat-uruguay-b/807119-PDF-ENG.

"Acquired: 2005; Self-Funded Search: Searchers: Matias Campiani-CMU-93, Arturo Alvarez-Demalde-HBS-02, and Sebastian Hirsch-Columbia-02; Name: Leadgate; Network contacts; Industry: Dairy processing and retail distribution; Location: Montevideo Uruguay; Employees: nn; Revenue: $36.3M; EBITDA: -$500K; Price: N/A; Setting: At the day of acquisition; Unique: Purchased in bankruptcy, discussions with debt holders; Non-disguised."

Ellis, Jim, and Bethany Coates. 2006. "Pacific Cares-Seizing a Market Opportunity." Stanford Graduate School of Business, Revised June 08, 2008.

"Launched: 08/2001; Acquired: 02/2003; Funded Search-15 Investors; Searchers: Ryan Snow - GSB-1998 and Peter Pearson-Kellogg; Search Name: N/A; Source: N/A; Company: Pacific Cares; Industry: Technical support services for medical equipment; Location: N/A; Employees: 30; Revenue: $9,685K; EBITDA: N/A; Price: N/A; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: N/A; Equity: N/A; Setting: 2 years after the acquisition, sales doubling in both years to $48M, they are considering how quickly to grow - "robust" or "steady" and present their recommendations to the board; Unique: Solving growth staffing issues and different investor expectations about growth and dividends; Disguised fully"

Leslie, Mark, James Lattin, and Joshua Spitzer. 2006. "Presidio Solutions." Stanford Graduate School of Business, April 17, 2006.

"Launched: 01/2001; Acquired: 01/2003; Funded Search-15 Investors; Searchers: David Beckett - GSB-1998 and Mike Sinclair - Kellogg-11997; Search Name: N/A; Source: Contact of Beckett; Company: Prieideo Solutions; Industry: Outsourced Sales for IT companies; Location: San Francisco; Employees: N/A; Revenue: $5M; EBITDA: N/A; Price: N/A; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: N/A; Equity: N/A; Setting: 18 months after the acquisition, revamping sales systems and hiring an EVP of outside sales; Unique: Operational challenges of managing sales organization, the profile of 3 founder/sellers.; Disguised company and searchers."

Ellis, Jim, and Alicia Seiger. 2004. "Sarah Harris." Stanford Graduate School of Business, Revised March 3, 2006.

"Launched: 10/2000; Acquired: N/A; Funded Search-13 Investors, $200K raise; Searcher: Sarah Harris - GSB-1999; Search Name: N/A; Source: Cold Call; Company: Never Wait; Industry: Hotel reservation call center; Location: Phoenix, Arizona; Employees: 35; Revenue: N/A; EBITDA: $1,600K; Price: $8,000K; Seller Note: N/A; Debt: N/A; Equity: N/A; Setting: Variety of times during search and while running the business; Unique: Negotiating LOI with the seller, female searcher, raising equity capital, hiring sales executive, CEO Role in sales; Disguised company and searcher."

Grousbeck, H. Irving and Alicia Seiger. 2004. "Prospect Colleges." Stanford Graduate School of Business, Revised October 4, 2004.

"Acquired: 2/28/2003; Self-Funded; Searcher: Julie Ha - GSB-2002; Launched: 06/2002; Name: N/A; Source: River Guide&Broker; Company: Clarita Career College; Industry: Technical Training Schools; Location: Santa Clarita, CA; Employees: 14; Revenue: N/A; EBITDA: $400K; Price: $1,200K; Seller Note: None; Debt: N/A; Equity: $1,200K; Setting: 1 Year after purchase, dealing with personnel issues, considering the acquisition of Prospect and timing of hiring a COO; Unique: Female searcher; PE holding company as 85% investor, 15% equity for searcher; running business before owning."

Sahlman, William A. and Dan Heath. 2004. "Mt. Auburn Partners Search Fund." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: October 27, 2005.

"Launched: 08/2004; Acquired: N/A; Funded Search-10 Investors, $500K raise; Searcher: Joe Milne - HBS-2004 and Malte Bernholz-UC-Berkeley-1997; Name: Mt. Auburn Partners; Location: Boston, MA; Setting: Early stages of fundraising for the search; Unique: Raising from a friend, 2003 Stanford statistics."

Bowen, H. Kent . 2003. "Molded Dimensions." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: December 1, 2004.

"Acquired: 2001; Self-funded; Searcher: Mike and Linda Katz - HBS--1994; Source: Network; Acquired: Molded Dimensions; Industry: Rubber Manufacturing; Location: Port Washington, Wisconsin; Employees: 60; Revenue: $8.7M; EBITDA: $1.5M; Price: $6.0M; Seller Note: $1.5M; Setting: 6 weeks after closing; Unique: ESOP funding, Husband & Wife as Searchers; Non-disguised."

Gompers, Paul. 2003. "Hudson Manufacturing." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: November 12, 2009.

"Acquired: 2009; Funded Search-1 Investor; Searchers: Brett Keith and Owen Colligan - HBS-1999; Name: Rockwood Equity Partners; Source: Network-banker; Company: Hudson Manufacturing; Industry: Military and Industrial filter manufacturing; Location: Cleveland, OH; Employees: 147; Revenue: $21M; EBITDA: $3M; Price: $13.35M; Seller Note: $2.5M; Debt: $7.5M; Equity: $1.0M; Setting: During negotiations to acquire the company; Unique: Funded by single investor, Busted deal costs, Environmental liability, searchers retain 80-90% of equity; Disguised company name."

Lattin, James, Mark Leslie, and Erin Yurday. 2003. "Med-Mart: Transitioning the Business Model (A,B & C)." Stanford Graduate School of Business; Supplemental cases: B Case Case: https://hbr.org/product/med-mart-transitioning-the-business-model-c/E163C-PDF-ENG.

"Acquired: 1993; Funded Search-11 Investors, $195K + $120K raise(36 months); Searcher: Peter Kelly - GSB-1990 and Leon Winters; Name: Tasso Corporation; Source: N/A: xxxx; Industry: Home Medical Supply Retail; Location: Bakersfield, CA; Employees: 170; Revenue: $14.5M; EBITDA: $1.7M; Price: $7.0M; Seller Note: $1.2M; Debt: $3.0M; Equity: $3.3M; Setting: 2 years after acquisition evaluating changes to Sales Strategy; Unique: Misrepresented inventories, receivables, and EBITDA discovered after closing, investors inject additional $225K, search partner resigns. Non-disguised."

Peterson, Joel, and Alicia Seiger. 2003. "Russell Poore." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Acquired: 1998; Self-funded; Searcher: Russel Poore - GSB-1992; Name: US Shred, LLC; Source: Networking contact; Industry: Document destruction and shredding; Location: Phoenix, AZ and Salt Lake City, UT; Employees: 28; Revenue: $1.85M; EBITDA: $270K; Price: $1.5M; Seller Note: $0.900M; Debt: none; Equity: $0.500M; Setting: 4 years after acquisition; Unique: buying a business in bankruptcy, hiring a "partner" after finding a business, acquiring 2 businesses at once, selling out after 4 years. Non-disguised"

Holloway, Chuck and Christopher S Flanagen. 2002. "SunWest Medical Services." Stanford Graduate School of Business, Revised June 10, 2003.

"Launched: 06/1990; Acquired: 08/1993; Funded Search-11 Investors, $279K raise; Searchers: Peter Landry - GSB-1989 and Paul Brooke; Search Name: Tasso Corporation; Source: N/A; Company: SunWest; Industry: Distribution of medical equipment for home health care; Location: Santa Barbara, CA; Employees: 170; Revenue: $17.1M; EBITDA: $1,700K; Price: $7,000K; Seller Note: $1,200K; Debt: $3,000K; Equity: $3,300K; Setting: 8 years after the acquisition, contemplating investor desire for exit and searcher role; Unique: Raising funds to extend search after 18 months, financial difficulties after purchase, settling with the owner to discount seller note, one searcher quits after a few years, opportunities for growth through acquisitions in later years."

Hamermesh, Richard. 1998. "Explo Leisure Products." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: July 11, 2012.

"Acquired: 1997; Self-Funded Search; Searchers: Tim Trowac and Dave Rahall - HBS-1987 & 1988; Name: TR Capital; Source: Network Contact; Industry: recycled and new golf balls; Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Employees: 100; Revenue: $13.5M; EBITDA: $2.579Me; Price: $9.4M; Seller Note: none; Debt: $5.9M; Equity: $3.5M; Setting: 7 months after closing - missing projections; Unique: One searcher on site; Disguised searchers, location and company name."

Roberts, Michael J. 1998. "Terry Hinge & Hardware." Harvard Business School.

"Negotiations: 1995; Funded Search-10 Investors, $200K raise; Searcher: Andrew Cousin - HBS-1992; Name: Amersham Corporation; Source: Unknown; Industry: Manufacturing and distribution of Hinge and Hardware; Location: Los Angeles, California; Employees: 95; Revenue: $16.9M; EBITDA: $1.28K; Price: $5.8M; Seller Note: $450K; Debt: $3.8M; Equity: $2.0M; Setting: Submission of Investment Memorandum to Investors; Unique: CIM and PPM Details, Earnout, Non-disguised."

Grousbeck, H. Irving and Nick Mansour. 1997. "David M. Dodson." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Acquired: N/A; Funded Search-7 Investors, $350K raise; Searcher: David Dodson - GSB-1987; Name: Falcon Capital; Source: WSJ Article; Company: ADAP-Auto Palace; Industry: Automotive Aftermarket Parts Retailer; Location: New England; Employees: 1,200; Revenue: $108M; EBITDA: $11.7M; Price: $60M; Seller Note: None; Debt: $40M; Equity: $20M; Setting: Negotiations with the seller; Unique: Searcher raising a 2nd Fund and Seller Auction Process, Non-disguised."

Bowen, H. Kent. 1997. "Jim Sharpe - Extrusion Technology (Abridged A&B)." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: June 18, 2013. Supplemental (C) Case: https://hbr.org/product/jim-sharpe-extrusion-technology-inc-c/698096-PDF-ENG.

"Acquired: 1987; Self-funded; Searcher: Jim Sharpe, HBS-1976; Source: Proprietary Letter; Acquired: Press Alloys; Industry: Aluminum Extrusions; Location: Randolph, Massachusetts; Employees: 57; Revenue: $3.3M; EBITDA: $400K; Price: $2.0M; Seller Note: $1,240K; Debt: $660K; Equity: $100K; Setting: 1 day after closing; Unique: Teamsters Union, Owner name disguised."

Sahlman, William A and Andrew Janower. 1996. "Pathfinder Capital." Harvard Business School.

"Launched: 03/1993; Acquired: 1994; Self Funded; Searchers: Larry Stevenson and spouse - HBS-1984 and Harry Yanowitz-U-Penn-1989; Search Name: Pathfinder Capital; Source: Investment Banker; Company: Smithbooks; Industry: Retail book stores; Location: Toronto, Canada; Employees: 1714; Revenue: $139M; EBITDA: $5.8M; Price: $24M; Seller Note: $5M; Debt: $16.5M; Equity: $2.5M; Setting: 8 Months into search, having looked at 10 companies, partners have a one month exclusive to raise financing for Smithbooks with their life savings at stake; Unique: Former consultants and spouse as partner deciding the appropriate ratio of debt and equity to finance their $24M acquisition."

Grousbeck, H. Irving and David Dodson. 1987. "Kirk Riedinger and Jamie Turner." Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"Acquired: 1987; Funded Search-10 Investors, $80K raise; Searchers: Kirk Riedinger and Jamie Turner - HBS-1985; Name: Galena and Chelen Corporation; Source: Industry Contact; Company: St. Louis Institute of Technology; Industry: Proprietary career training center; Location: St. Louis, MO; Employees: 77; Revenue: $3.9M; EBIT: $500K; Price: $4.963M; Seller Note: $1.838M; Non-Compete: $1.855M: Debt: None; Equity: $1.6M; Setting: n nnn; Unique: 1-year search raise, then new fund, one searcher full time in 1st year, other working; Disguised name of company and location"

Stevenson, Howard H, and H. Irving Grousbeck. 1986. "Jim Southern." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: March 28, 1989.

"Acquired: 1984; Funded Search -1 Investor and self; Searcher: Jim Southern - HBS-1983; Name: Nova Capital; Source: Proprietary letter/email; Company: American Printing Forms Division; Industry: specialty forms printing; Location: Texas; Employees: nn; Revenue: $42M; EBITDA: $2.9M; Price: $15.0M; Seller Note: None; Debt: $12M; Equity: $800K; Setting: During final negotiations; Unique: Early funded search framework, request for $200K deposit, Non-disguised"

Roberts, Michael, and Howard Stevenson. 1983. "Allen Lane and Supplement." Harvard Business School; Revision Date: May 28, 1999, https://hbr.org/product/allen-lane-supplement/384133-PDF-ENG

"Acquired: 1982; Self-Funded Search; Searcher: Allen Lane-HBS-65; Name: Plas-Tek, Inc.; Source: Network-Accountant; Industry: Plastics Injection Molding; Location: New York City; Employees: 10; Revenue: $1.0M; EBITDA: $500K; Price: $1.250M; Seller Note: $950K; Debt: None; Equity: $200K; Setting: Making the final offer; Unique: Older searcher, aged 45; bringing in a partner after acquisition; Disguised location, the protagonist and company name."

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Posts – Being CEO/Owner

Random Quote

45-“Strategic partners” are very important to the business searchers.You want to rely on some trusted providers to support your business, you can’t do everything yourself!(See Blog Post-Strategic Partnerships)

42-Start early on legal documents, they often delay closings while under LOIBoth the searcher and the seller are plowing new ground and it takes a while to comprehend the meaning of all of the legal details .(See Blog Post-Getting to closing)

63 Searchers make promises they can meet to build trust with sellers. It is important to provide incremental opportunities to show that you can be counted on to deliver.(See Blog Post-Building Trust with Sellers)

34 Searchers who get access to employees before closing are more likely to close. Once the seller begins to confide in their employees about the sale of the business and introducing you as the “new owner”, they are more likely to proceed to finalize the transaction than to change their mind at the last minute.(See Blog Post-Getting to Close)

07-You are not a PE firm, don’t act like one!
Potential sellers resonate with your taking over their legacy, a PE firm is simply adding to their portfolio. Make sure your website looks personal and non-intimidating.

04-Fight Seller Fatigue in Due Diligence!
Sellers get worn out in this process. It is highly emotional for them, probably their first time at relinquishing their “baby” to someone else. During LOI stage, make it a practice to communicate with them, in person or by phone, every 2 days.

53-Holding monthly “all-hands” meetings indicates your transparency. Trust employees with what is going on with the business and they will trust you more .(See Blog Post-Communicating with Employees)

06-Use metrics to drive decisions
Track what is most important for your search – getting in front of prospective sellers to make offers to buy their business. Track the number prospects, IOI’s, LOI’s and set goals for yourself! If you measure it, you can improve it.

22-When in conflicts arise, remind professional advisors they work for you.
Inevitably, you will disagree with some advice you are getting. After checking multiple sources, do what feels right to you and move forward. You will have to “live” with your own choices, not the professionals!(See Blog Post-Professional Support)

18-Every day that goes by during Due Diligence raises the chance that you won’t close!
Time is of the essence when it comes to moving from a signed LOI to closing on your business. Seller fatigue sets in as the closing date gets extended and the seller constantly re-evaluates their motivation to sell. Only you can push the process along.(See Blog Post-Due Diligence)

44-Plan ahead, give thought to the small details of how you present yourself as the new owner. The first introduction to the employees of the business has a huge impact so you want every word to be rehearsed!(See Blog Post-Taking over the business)

50-Don’t expect immediate “loyalty”, the previous owner earned it, it takes time. You will need to earn the trust of your employees by your actions, not your words. (See Blog Post-Seller Tranisition)

35-Searcher CEO’s need to be prepared to walk away from volume orders if margins will decline. It takes a forward thinking CEO to seek out higher margin, value added opportunities to grow profits, not revenue.(See Blog Post-Wearing the sales hat)

09-Learn from others – read case histories
Over 40 case histories have been written about funded and self funded searchers in a variety of industries and historical settings. Each have great “lessons learned” and are worth the $10 cost to read them. Searchers are learners!

39-The business seller is “hiring” you to run their business. The owner trusts you enough to turnover the “legacy” of their business to you. (See Blog Post-Searcher Profile)

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