|They Wanted a Piece of the Action|
"Well I guess the feeling was . .. we finally did it. We knew what we were getting into. We knew that we were going to have to scrape all of our money together and that it would be tough for us all. "
That's how Pat Thody described the feeling he and eleven other managers of Simmons, Canada's largest mattress company, felt when they finally acquired the company from the U.S. parent.
Two years earlier, Pat, who was president, and eleven other employees, including head office executives and the managers of the six bedding plants located across Canada, approached the U.S. head office with an offer to buy the Canadian operation. At first Simmons head office in Atlanta, Georgia, said 'no'. Pat persisted, they started to warm, finally they agreed to sell them the Canadian operation. It was a huge undertaking, Simmons is Canada's largest mattress manufacturing company with over 600 employees.
Those magic words, "piece of the action". Where would Canada be if it wasn't for achievers willing to risk it all for a piece of the action? Pat Thody and his group have a king-size challenge ahead now that it's their own money and future that's on the line. We wish them nothing but good luck.
"Well Canada has 26 million people and they all sleep. The average home has 2 1/2 beds. It's a huge market."
Negotiations were friendly from day one yet it took nearly two years to close the deal (June 29, 1990).
Now that it's over, what advice does he have for anyone thinking of acquiring an existing successful company? "The first thing I would advise is to find credible mergers and acquisitions people with a good background, and depend heavily on them. It's a very complex business deal when you acquire a company. Unless you have a lot of experience yourself you should get professional help. You'll never regret it."
They say there are two things you should never buy: cheap shoes or cheap legal advice. If you're thinking of buying an existing company or forming a new company follow Pat Thody's suggestion. .. "Get good advice. .. it could be your best investment." Never rush into anything. Remember, if it's worth having, it's worth waiting for.
*Joining Pat in the bid were Brian Anderson, Jack Dudley, Peter Ingram, Ted Jackson, Terry Pace, Dave Puttock, Ron Meadley, Michel Arbic, John Main, Russ Westman, and Alan MacLean.
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