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Jeff Riback partner with New Direction Partners speaks on mergers and acquisitions

Published on January 19, 2011

Jeff Riback with New Direction Partners dishes his take on mergers and acquisitions with Cary.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com, and I’m here with Jeff Riback who is a partner in New Direction Partners.  You guys have your hands in a few mergers and acquisitions; maybe you could talk about kind of what’s happening in the industry?  Are we seeing a pick up, are we seeing a slow down?  How’s that going? 

Jeff Riback:  Well, there’s definitely deals out there that are going on.  And I think that, you know, we’re going to continue to see deals because when you are in a turbulent or difficult environment, I think there are always opportunities.  And I’d like to think that people should always be a buyer or a seller for strategic purposes one way or the other and we’re seeing a lot of deals where companies are acquiring other company sales because –

Cary Sherburne:  Okay, tuck ins, more or less. 

Jeff Riback:  Tuck ins, right.  And you know, the reason for that is because there are a lot of companies out there who aren’t coming in with great financial results and don’t know how to get the value out of their business and then there are buyers who are looking to – they are strategically grow their business, add sales, new customers.  And so matching them up with a company that could conceivable be a tuck in target is a great way to satisfy the requirements on both sides.

The company that’s not doing great can get value out of their business and out of their sales and the company that’s looking to grow can make an acquisition that makes sense for them strategically.  So we’re seeing a lot of that. 

We’re also seeing some cashless mergers where companies know that they need to get scale or they need to improve their equipment utilization and they are coming together with other companies with the same goals and they are basically sharing equity but they are more productive and have a company that is going to return better results. 

Cary Sherburne:  You know in this year, 2010, we hadn’t seen any like big mergers or acquisitions for a long time, we saw a pretty big one with Quad and World Color, what did you think about that? 

Jeff Riback:  Well, I mean, I think that that is, you know, an interesting deal because, as you said, w haven’t seen that many of those and I don’t know that we’re going to see a lot more of those given you know, multiples of companies are trading out and so forth, but I do think that there’s more of a chance for the smaller players to do strategic deals, you know, in this environment, there’s been a lot of consolidation of some of the bigger guys over the years and I think now that there is going to continue to be more of a chance for the smaller players to, as I said before, get some value from their business.  And for the ones that are doing a little bit better, to use strategy to help grow their business. 

Cary Sherburne:  So there’s really a couple of different things you could do.  You can pick up a distressed business, book a business basically and you let the equipment go and the building go and deal with the people as best you can, or you can find a business that’s similar to yours but different enough that the two of you together are going to have value – two strong businesses come together. 

Jeff Riback:  Well, let’s focus on this one thing, okay, there needs to be a strategy, no matter what you do. And the strategy can be, you know, a variety of different things.  It needs to fit your business.  Is your strategy that you need to have better equipment utilization, is it that you need new technology to have a wider value delivery chain to grow your business?  Is it that you need to get into other verticals, so you’re looking for a customer base and you could acquire that?  And once you have that strategy, then you can go out and find the kind of companies that kind of fit that kind of strategy.  So I think, you know, no matter what the structure of the deal is, I think that you need a strategy and then you need to fit a deal into that strategy. 

Cary Sherburne:  Great.  Thank you very much. 

Jeff Riback:  My pleasure.  

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