Douglas Products Sells To Strategic Investor
Jerry McCaslin was a second generation owner of Douglas Products & Packaging, an agricultural chemical distributor in Liberty, Missouri. After 37 years in the business, McCaslin was tired of the stressful daily responsibility of running a company and wanted to spend more time with his family. Still, he was invested in the company’s future success and had identified many growth opportunities, including pursuing niche markets, expanding internationally, improving operational efficiency, and increasing sales efforts. McCaslin hoped to find an energetic buyer who would pursue these opportunities, while also allowing him to remain involved in the company in some capacity.
Mariner Capital Advisors determined that although a technical background in agricultural chemicals would be helpful to a buyer, it wasn’t strictly necessary. McCaslin had achieved great success with a sales and marketing background and a motivated future owner could do the same. Similarly, because Douglas Products provided many types of products (agricultural and chemical, as well as sewage overflow prevention) both in the U.S. and abroad, a wide range of companies might gain synergies from an acquisition.
We used our proprietary database of more than 1,000 individual and 8,000 private equity buyer candidates, as well as third-party research tools, to cast a wide but targeted prospect net. By focusing on strategic buyers and high net worth individuals with relevant experience, we identified nearly 100 prospective buyers. This resulted in three offers from three very different parties. We then determined that Bill Fuller, the former Chief Financial Officer of Becker Underwood, a large chemical company in Des Moines, Iowa, was the best prospect.
Due to his direct experience as a chemical company executive, Fuller had a keen understanding of the specialty chemicals market, including compliance issues, manufacturing, and marketing strategy. In addition, as Becker Underwood’s CFO, Fuller oversaw many corporate acquisitions. Consequently, he was qualified to perform his own due diligence on Douglas Products. Ultimately, his professional background and personal worth enabled him to obtain financing to complete the transaction.
Mariner Capital Advisors completed the sale of Douglas Products to Bill Fuller in April 2007. Due to Fuller’s industry background and business experience, we were able to close the transaction within 30 days of signing the letter of intent. Our client received full value for the company, as well as a long-term lease on its facilities. Additionally, McCaslin stayed on in a part-time consulting role after the sale.
About Douglas Products
Founded in 1916 by George Douglas, Douglas Products operates as a grain sanitization and janitorial supply company. The company is considered a light manufacturing and distribution business, because it blends raw ingredients and then packages them for commercial use. The company operates in three segments: agricultural products, commercial products, and sewage overflow prevention.
About Bill Fuller
Bill Fuller was the former Chief Financial Officer for Becker Underwood, a large chemical company based out of Des Moines, Iowa. Becker Underwood creates and produces specialty bio-agronomic and colorant products for a broad range of applications.
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