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  • Selling a Food or Beverage Manufacturing Company

    Jun 1, 2022

    There is a common misconception that you need to do something new to be successful as an entrepreneur.  Although that is a common pathway to business success, it is also true that if you do something better or different than your predecessors, significant achievement financially and in market share is also possible.  As a case study take pickles, pickles have been around for over 4000 years (https://www.history.com/news/pickles-history-timeline#:~:text=Pickles%20got%20their%20start%20more,health%20benefits%20and%20delicious%20taste).  Talk about a mature marketplace.  However, in the 1970’s Robert Vlasic recognized that humor was a vehicle to selling more of the pickles manufactured by his family owned busines, Vlasic Pickles, and started an advertising campaign employing a stork and comedy to sell his product.  Here are a couple of examples of the iconic ads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qQO6CVxyWw and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4LzC0oi5Sw.  The final products of his efforts as a privately held company owner were the elite status as America’s largest pickle producer and an eventual sale of the business to the Campbell Soup Company for $35 million in stock (A value of over $155 million in today’s dollars).  Unfortunately, the world recently lost Robert Vlasic at the age of 96 (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/21/business/bob-vlasic-dead.html).  It is my belief that every person reading this article has had direct exposure to his product, many as recently as the just completed Memorial Day holiday weekend.  I encourage all to pause and recall a pleasant memory where pickles were involved in an event.  It is often simple gatherings with family & friends that are some of the happiest times of our lives.

    The Vlasic family entered the pickle business in the 1950’s when they converted a sauerkrat plant to pickle production.  As with all companies, their sales started locally. IBA is a large advocate for the Buy Local Movement ( https://producersmarket.com/blog/how-why-to-buy-local/).  It is the belief of our organization that supporting local businesses and economies creates employment opportunities, supports real estate development, provides tax dollars for schools & infrastruture, and rewards entrepreneurs for taking risks at a level not possible when economic support is given to businesses with out of state or out of country corporate headquarters.  In addition, the purchase of locally manufactured food & beverage products promotes healthier and more diverse product offerings in the marketplace.

    IBA, as the oldest business brokerage firm in the Pacific Northwest, has a long history of representing owners of manufacturing companies producing food & beverages in the sale of their companies.  We have successfully represented business owners in the sale of companies as diverse as distilleries (https://www.3howls.com/) and wineries (https://lostriverwinery.com/) to bakeries (https://celinepatisserie.com/ and https://www.byenbakeri.com/) to pet food manufacturers (https://www.naturalpetpantry.com/).  We are currently working with salsa makers, fruit wine producers, coffee roasters, and smoked fish preveyors.

    The successful sale of a food or beverage manufacutring business is a sophisticated, nuanced process requiring significant knowledge, experience, and skill.  Elements of a professionally faciliated sale include proper valuation of the business incorporating its competitive position in the market, propreitary recipes & processes, and staff & equipment infrastructure; creation of a confidential marketplace where the maximum number of potential buyers are indentified while holding all information about the sale in confidence from customers, staff, and suppliers; negotiation of favorable terms for sale in the best interest of retiring shareholders and business contintuity; and facilitation of the sale process to mitigate risk and trailing liabilities for the parties.

    If you are interested in networking with owners of manufacturing companies and members of the IBA team, IBA is the hosting sponsor of the CAMPS event at the Heritage Distilling on June 23 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/june-23rd-mixer-tickets-313971516257).  Heritage Distiling is a wonderful example of a local manufacturer who has become a household name in approximately a decade (https://heritagedistilling.com/pages/about-us).

    If you are interested in learning more about the process associated with selling a privately held or family owned food or beverage manufacturing company, the members of transaction team specializing in that sector of the economy would welcome the opportunity to provide an overview of our client services. All conversations with IBA are held in strict confidence. 100% of IBA’s fees are payable upon performance when a transaction is completed.

    IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, and mergers & acquisitions community on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.

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