March 17, 2011

Father and son

It was our first meeting with a prospective acquirer from abroad who was thinking of buying a percentage of the company shares of our client. They had come prepared with a list of questions to gain more information about our client’s company. One of the questions was about a percentage, the details of which I do not remember now.

In this meeting my client’s company was represented by the founder of the company and his son, who is the general manager. The founder is about 60 years old and his son is somewhat over 30. When the prospective acquirer asked the question concerning the percentage I mentioned above, the father stared at the ceiling in concentration and after some quick thinking said, “approximately   50 %”. In the meantime, the son had started to work on his Excel sheets on his lap-top while we could easily follow his work on the projected screen.

Most probably the father couldn’t guess how long this work would take and so he asked the visitors if they would like to drink some more coffee and tea. This service was not completed yet and only 3-4 minutes had passed since the son had started his calculations when he declared the outcome as “49.2 %”. Everyone around the table had a big smile on the face. We were glad to see that the result obtained through experience matched the one supplied by a good infrastructure. It was a successful meeting and the potential acquirer left satisfied with all the information received.

It is not always the case that experience and infrastructure fit each other that well. One of them usually surpasses the other. If one day you are sitting at the table as an acquirer, which one would you value more in the company you want to be a partner of?

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