New Direction Partners
At New Direction Partners, we often advise selling owners of printing businesses to be prepared to stay on in one role or another after the transaction closes. Because keeping a hand in the business at the new owner’s request is a given in so many deals, it’s helpful to have some idea of what the responsibility is going to entail.
Sooner or later, a printing business doing well where it was born will start to think about planting its flag someplace else. To expand geographically, a firm can either acquire a company in a distant region as a going concern or merge with it to form a consolidated, but dual-location, entity.
Not all that long ago, it seemed that investors seeking middle-market opportunities wanted to look at anything but printing. This, happily, has changed, and for the last several years, middle-market investors have shown that they now regard acquiring profitable, well-run printing and packaging companies as a smart play.
Even if you're at the peak of your career as a printing company owner, and the decision to sell your printing business is years away, there's no time like the present to account for the necessary steps to be ready for the sales process.
As the former president of a Printing Industries of America regional affiliate, I had the good fortune to work with many smart and successful owners of thriving printing businesses. I had the greatest respect for their abilities, but then as now, there is one thing that I would never have recommended that they attempt: selling their companies without professional representation and advisement.
You've finally made it to the point in an acquisition where you can sit down with the seller and close the deal. This is the point at which we always urge our buying clients to pause, take a breath, and circle back to the essentials of the transaction.
In diplomacy, the motto for negotiators and peacemakers is “Trust, but verify.” The advice applies to M&A transactions between printing companies as well. Get the facts, confirm the understandings and be open about everything that the process discloses.
Negotiation is the most critical step in our six-stage journey toward a deal — the phase in which the transaction either comes together as the negotiators want it to or falls apart because their efforts have worn them out.