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Mergers & Acquisitions

Ahern & Associates is a management consulting company, specializing in the transportation industry. 100% of Ahern’s practice is involved in trucking, logistics and warehousing.

Ahern works with clients, providing strategic advice on;

  • The impact a Trucking Company Merger/Acquisition may have on their business
  • The impact a Trucking Company Divestiture may have on their business
  • How to improve the operating performance of a business;
  • How to improve a business model; and
  • How to improve the overall shareholder value of a business.

In reference to Transportation Mergers & Acquisitions, Ahern does not act as a business broker or investment banker.

  • Ahern does not get involved in contract negotiations;
  • Ahern does not get involved in the due diligence process;
  • Ahern does not get involved in any part of the process of structuring “a deal”.

However, Ahern does provide value to their clients, in reference to identifying potential opportunities that may have;

  • The same cultural values as the client;
  • The same ethical values as the client; and
  • Opportunities that offer strategic value to Ahern’s clients.

In reference to Sellers, Ahern works with Sellers to prepare them to go through the emotional process of “letting go”.  It’s easy to say you want to sell your company; it’s a more difficult task to actually go through the process of mentally preparing yourself for that final day. Selling a business is like planning your own funeral. It’s a very difficult process; it’s a very emotional process, but it's a process that all of us should go through, but many do not.

In reference to Transportation Acquisitions, a Merger & Acquisition often represents a defining moment in a company’s development. In spite of the importance of these transactions, the overall track record for business combinations has not been a resounding success.

Why do so many highly visible transactions fail to meet their stated objective of increasing shareholder value?  How can management institute an acquisition program that avoids most common Merger & Acquisition mistakes?

Along with the reasons for a mediocre record of business combinations, a fairly common mistake is the transportation buyer fails to establish a compelling strategic reason for making the acquisition.

  • Ahern works with clients to determine what operating needs create the most value;
  • We review the clients operating footprint and goals and objectives;
  • We review their intellectual capabilities to drive their “plan”, and;
  • We provide observations of whether purchasing an outside business will enhance their operating model.

Typically, acquisitions have a significant impact on the overall probability and financial health of a business. Therefore, such transactions deserve the same thoughtful planning and execution as the introduction of a major new product, the building of a new plant, and/or the purchase of a major piece of equipment.

Ahern assists their clients in establishing goals and objectives to enhance their operating model and provide suggestions so that an acquisition can be a success instead of a failure.

With a proactive acquisition program, a transportation company is far more likely to avoid costly mistakes and will make business combinations contribute to the creation of shareholder wealth. Such a program, also provides management considerable control over the company's destiny.

An acquisition should be viewed as a dynamic process. Objectives and goals can be modified in response to events, as to the availability of relevant data, but actions are not dependent on those events. For a program to succeed, it must be proactive, yet under control. A successful acquisition program must also be an integral part of a company's overall strategic plan. Acquisitions can support a number of strategic goals, including growth, diversification, product or market expansion, and access to technology. Most failed acquisitions result from committing opportunity to drive strategy, rather than integrating acquisition decisions into an overall corporate strategy.

Due to Ahern's extensive transportation experience, Ahern works with clients to establish a comprehensive program to include;

  • Establishing responsibility at the policy level;
  • Developing programs that enhance shareholder value;
  • Define growth patterns, based upon the clients’ culture;
  • Identify potential opportunities that could be beneficial to improving a client’s business, and;
  • We work with clients to establish their objectives for growth.

Since Ahern & Associates does not provide services as a business broker or an investment banker;

  • Ahern is never involved in contract negotiations;
  • Ahern is never involved in the due diligence process;
  • Ahern does not get involved in the structuring of the “actual deal”;
  • Ahern’s clients make the determination if they want to pursue an opportunity; and
  • Ahern is not involved in the “decision making” of the client.
  • Ahern’s clients have their own acquisition teams that are well-versed in structuring fair transactions.

What Ahern can provide is, if a seller needs expertise in contract negotiations, we can refer the Seller to a law firm that has extensive experience in Mergers & Acquisitions of trucking companies.  If a seller has a problem, from a tax liability standpoint, Ahern has references that we refer, to tax attorneys.

In other words, what Ahern offers are;

  • Solutions to problems, if they present themselves, and;
  • We offer referral expertise to the appropriate parties that can solve concerns.

In essence, Ahern provides clients with a roadmap of how to improve their business.  We are able to identify a market for a client that has a specific need. The majority of transactions that our clients are involved in, the seller was never in the market to sell.

Many times, a seller will approach Ahern and ask for advice on how a process should work;

  • Ahern explains that Ahern does not provide advice on how to negotiate a sale;
  • Ahern does not provide advice on the due diligence process, but Ahern can provide advice on, “How to begin the process of letting go”;
  • Ahern believes that accountants and attorneys should be an integral part of a sales process, at the appropriate time, but their positions should be clearly defined.
  • Ahern believes that a Seller’s expectations must be realistic, and;
  • If a Seller believes that their company has more value than what the market is willing to pay, that Seller should rethink their objective.

The value of utilizing Ahern & Associates is most often realized when a deal does not reach its maturity. In most transactions, deals fall apart numerous times, because the Buyer/Seller have issues and don't know how to overcome those issues. Ahern recommends that the Buyer/Seller put their thoughts in writing and discuss with their legal representatives.

In Ahern’s process, when we work with clients to understand their goals and objectives;

  • We understand their operating model;
  • The client feels comfortable with Ahern; we feel comfortable with the client; and
  • We look for long term relationships.

Many of Ahern’s clients provide Ahern their business objective. It is very important that their goals and objectives can be accomplished. If an acquisition is part of “their plan”, Ahern always asks the client “What's the reason for an acquisition?” 

Is it to:

  • Increase revenue?
  • Bring an economy of scale to increase profits?
  • Fill back hauls or replace lower-paying freight?  Or
  • Increase availability to drivers?

There are so many considerations when looking for a potential acquisition. It could be;

  • Revenue size;
  • Location;
  • Additional infrastructure;
  • A client may want to change his/her operating model from company drivers to independent contractors;
  • Some clients may want to buy or lease equipment;
  • Some clients are looking for specific types of equipment, but;
  • The majority of Ahern’s clients want profitable companies – they are not looking for companies that are hemorrhaging and need to be turned around.

For further information, please feel free to review Ahern’s website at www.ahern-ltd.com, or contact us at (602) 242-1030.

LEVERAGED BUYOUT/MANAGEMENT

It is not unusual for an operational review to discover that the founding owner, may have made the decision to get out of the business. The decision may be based on retirement: successor planning, or simply he or she is just tired of the cyclical nature of the business.

When there's not a next generation to inherit or pass the business on to, many owners look outside to opportunities that are “knocking on their door”. One viable approach to business continuation is a Programed Sale to Management/Employee Group. The value that Ahern offers is we are able to discuss the various options that a company owner may have, in reference to the succession plan, and then refer the appropriate experts.

Ahern has assisted numerous companies in gathering their thoughts, and providing a plan to exit the business. Ahern’s services include:

  • A financial review of the business;
  • An objective review of the company's operations, including ongoing revenues and expenses;
  • A review of the customers and vendor relationships; and
  • The cash flow of the business, as well as the capital expenditures of the business.

We work with Principals, Lawyers and Accountants to discuss areas of concern, so that they can adequately prepare their clients for the next phase of their life.

In some instances clients are looking for additional financing opportunities, or new sources of capital. Ahern has a network of referrals that can provide that type of assistance. Additionally, because of Ahern’s extensive transportation experience, we are able to work with Financial Institutions and debtors to discuss and resolve concerns they may have, in reference to the total indebtedness of a business.

Testimonials
Dear Mr. Ahern,

Arkansas Transit Home, Inc. (ATH) was founded in 1958 by my late father, Wendell Chandler. In fact, to Illustrate how long that is got most trucking companies, our DOT number only has five numbers.

I would like to thank you Andy for making this very important and life changing event possible. It was a great experience.

Sincerely,
Dwight Chandler
President
Arkansas Transit Homes, Inc.

 

Dear Mr. Ahern,

We have worked with you and your colleagues at Ahern Associates for some time now. We find your expertise in the area of logistics (be it in consulting or based on being hired for acquisition analysis) to be out standing. We value the relationship and are very happy to give you this letter of reference..

You should feel free to have any party call us to discuss our experience.

Sincerely,
James M.Hill
Benesch Attorneys at Law

Dear Mr. Ahern,

England has been formally associated with Andy Ahern and his colleagues for approximately the past three years primarily in the area of acquisitions. During that period, we have experienced a professionalism that is refreshing. Andy offers in-depth expertise as well as industry knowledge born from extensive experience, a combination which adds material value well beyond a normal business relationship.

We anticipate a long term, mutually beneficial association. It was a great experience.

Very truly yours,
Keith c. Wallace,Jr.
Senior Vice President / Chief Financial Officer
C.R. England, Ind

 

Dear Mr. Ahern,

Century Carriers, Inc. and its subsidiaries are family owned businesses that was started 1998. When the Transportation business was booming, times were great but, like other family owned businesses we didnt prepare for the economy the past year. My wife and I lost many hours sleep and made many calls to attorneys, banks, and whom ever would listen to our story trying to figure out how we were going to save our business for our future and our children.

Andy and his team has given us hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are making progress, thanks again.

Sincerely,
Kevin Henderson, President/CEO
Century Carriers Inc. / Century Expedited Inc.

Dear Mr. Ahern,

Originally, I met Andy at a Truckload Carrier`s Conference during a round table discussion on the transition of family business. Andy was very knowledgeable about the topic and expressed many ideas that we hadn`t thought of. During the down turn of our industry in 2001, We called upon Andy, as a consultant, to help us understand how to turn our business around. We hired Ahern and Associates to come in and do businesses review. By giving us a road map to success with their intial audit, they helped turn our business around within thirty days.

Andy Ahern and Ahern & Associates have always delivered exactly what they have promised.

Sincerely,
Don Christenson, President
Christenson Transportation, Inc.

 

Dear Mr. Ahern,

We have thought about selling our business one day, but we really didnt know much about how to go about it. Your company contacted us a few months ago about a client of yours that was looking to buy businesses like ours. Now just a few months later, the sale is complete. Everything went very smoothly, Ahern was there to guide us through the beginning of the process. We are very happy with our whole experience with Ahern, especially Andy and Brian. They gave us personal attention any time we had questions or concerns.

Thank you,
John & Jennifer Rainney
DCT

Dear Mr. Ahern,

I wanted to thank you for your guidance, leadership and support. The professionalism and dedication of you and your staff is outstanding. The knowledge you posses of the transportation industry and its inner workings was been a huge asset to us in our time of transition. With your assistance we have been able to make significant changes within our company to improve structure and productivity. Aherns onsite visit and detailed evaluation of our company has been a very valuable tool. The outside look at how we do business and the suggestions you've made to improve our overall performance have been very valuable. All of your advice and direction has been thoughtful and caring, I feel that you truly care about our business and success. You've done everything you said you would do and then some, working with you and your dedicated staff has been a pleasure and will improve the productivity of our company. I look forward to a long relationship with Ahern and Associates.

Thanks again,
Dave Dean
Specialized Business Solutions. INC
Meridian, Idaho

 

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