Middle-market business owners should learn to take real vacations

By James S. Cassel

Last month, I wrote about the virtues of taking a gap year or a gap period. However, I recognize that not everybody might be able to do that right away or while still working. So, this month I am writing about the second-best option: taking a real vacation — i.e., time off.

Although it may sound impossible or scary to — get ready for this — disconnect by keeping your phone and all your devices turned off, it is healthy and important for your well-being as well as that of your family and your business.

What does it mean to take a real vacation? Many middle-market business owners tend to forget. I qualify as one.

We all know the reasons this is important: mental and physical health benefits, family benefits, reflection and relaxation time, the list goes on. But we end up working more than we should on our vacations out of fear of losing customers or business opportunities.

Fact is, depending on your industry, taking vacations can lead to new client opportunities. I know many people who have met some of their best clients or customers while on vacation or otherwise pursuing personal interests, such as golf or photography. Taking a vacation can also provide a good opportunity to test your succession plan.

In the financial-services industries, many of the big companies have policies requiring certain personnel to take off for two consecutive weeks without access to email. In part, they do this for security reasons in the highly regulated, closely scrutinized industries. Maybe this model should be considered across other industries for well-being not only for security reasons.

How do you check out without hurting your business? Following is some practical guidance.

  • Find the best time. We all have times of year when our businesses are slower than others.
  • Plan for your time out of the office. As best you can, handle items that require your personal attention before you depart. Determine who will take your place and have an internal system to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Ask your team to manage issues independently and only contact you if absolutely necessary, such as a true emergency.
  • Decide whether to tell your clients in advance that you will be out of reach. Often, the simple act of giving clients advance notice and telling them who to contact in your absence can minimize the likelihood of any issues. It is best practice to let them know.
  • Decide whether to have an “out of office” auto response message or whether you should automatically forward your emails to someone who will respond in your place and notify you in case of emergency.
  • If you cannot check out completely during your time away, you might consider allocating a limited time per day, let’s say one hour to checking your emails and responding to key items while delegating others. You might do this at the beginning or the end of the day. But you must stick to that, and keep your devices off the rest of the time.

I recognize this advice is easy to give but not as easy to follow. As I write this article, my office manager is offering to monitor her emails occasionally while she is on vacation, and I am not stopping her. I am not very good at practicing what I am championing, but I continue to try.

Life is all about balance. It all goes by too quickly. So, take the time to enjoy yourself, and you might find yourself — and your business — thriving more than you had imagined. Taking real time off gives you a change to reflect and plan. Use it!

James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, an investment-banking firm with headquarters in Miami that works with middle- market companies. He may be reached via email
at jcassel@casselsalpeter.com or via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesscassel.

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Cooper’s Take: What Is Slowing the Pace of Tech Take-Private Deals?

By Laura Cooper

Although private-equity firms have money to spend, the well-performing public markets and desire to exercise price discipline may be keeping them from splurging on take-private technology deals.

A report by investment bank Cassel Salpeter & Co., which focuses on initial public offerings and public company takeovers, notes there were 20 public company acquisitions for both private-equity and corporate buyers for the first half of 2017, compared with 61 completed for all of 2016.

If deal making continues at the same pace, the figure also would represent a decrease from the 50 deals recorded by the bank for 2015.

Of the 20 deals closed so far this year, 18 of them were made by strategic buyers—only two were completed by private-equity managers.

Acquisitions of public companies overall have dropped because of a number of factors, including large megadeals in the space last year, according to the report. Among the deals are Dell Inc.’s acquisition of EMC Corp. and Microsoft Corp.’s purchase of LinkedIn Corp. As a result, a number of corporate buyers are on the sidelines digesting previous acquisitions.

The idea that some corporate buyers are resting after a banner year for acquisitions may have been good news for private-equity players if public markets weren’t performing as well as they have been. For even the biggest spenders, industry watchers have noted that no matter the size of the fund, private-equity firms have been doing due diligence and practicing discipline when it comes to pricing.

Although private equity seemingly has been exercising control when buying in the public market, three private firms led the report’s list of most active buyers of public companies for the three years ended June 30.

Siris Capital Group, Thoma Bravo and Vista Equity Partners topped the chart with five take-private deals apiece. They were followed by a slew of corporate buyers including Oracle Corp., which made four acquisitions of public companies in the same period.

Although midyear indications suggest total 2017 take-privates could decrease compared with previous years, there is still time for private-equity investors
to put money to work in the public market—and potentially reap rewards that could result from bullish bets.

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Steel Partners Ltd. to Acquire Remaining Outstanding Shares of Ore Holdings, Inc.

NEW YORKJuly 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Steel Partners Ltd. (“Steel”) the owner of approximately 60% of the outstanding Common Stock of Ore Holdings, Inc. (“Ore”, Pink Sheets: ORXE) and all of the outstanding Series A Convertible Preferred Stock of Ore, together representing approximately 93% of the outstanding Common Stock of Ore on an as converted basis, has agreed to acquire the remaining issued and outstanding shares of Ore pursuant to a definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) entered into today by and among Ore, Steel and Ore Merger Sub, Inc., an entity controlled by Steel (the “Merger Sub”).  The Merger Agreement was unanimously approved by both a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Ore consisting solely of an independent director and the entire Board of Directors of Ore.

Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, Merger Sub will be merged with and into Ore, with Ore surviving as a wholly owned subsidiary of Steel (the “Merger”), and all holders of outstanding Common Stock of Ore (other than Steel, and holders who properly exercise appraisal rights of Section 262 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware) will receive $0.20 per share in cash for each share of Common Stock of Ore they own at the effective time of the Merger.

The Merger is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including stockholder approval, and the parties anticipate the closing of the Merger to occur within 30 days.

In evaluating the Offer, the Special Committee retained Cassel Salpeter & Co. LLC to provide financial analyses with respect to the Ore stock.  In announcing the transaction, Terry Gibson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ore, said Ore’s Common Stock has been thinly traded and essentially illiquid and the transaction provides liquidity to Ore’s stockholders while at the same time preserving Ore’s net operating loss.

Certain statements in this press release and other statements made by Ore or its representatives that are not strictly historical facts are “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that should be considered as subject to the many risks and uncertainties that exist in Ore’s operations and business environment.  The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results, performance and/or achievements of Ore to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements, expressed or implied, by the forward-looking statements.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and that in light of the significant uncertainties inherent in forward-looking statements, the inclusion of such statements should not be regarded as a representation by Ore or any other person that the objectives or plans of Ore will be achieved.  Ore also assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements or to advise of changes in the assumptions and factors on which they are based.

As previously reported, Ore has suspended its SEC registration and no longer provides financial or other information through SEC filings. Ore intends to continue to provide quarterly and annual financial information by posting such information on its web site, www.oreholdings.com.

To ensure the preservation of Ore’s net operating loss, Ore’s Certificate of Incorporation limits the ability of  stockholders from acquiring more than five percent of its outstanding stock.

Ore Holdings, Inc.  – Overview

Ore Holdings, Inc. is currently focused on investing in profitable operations to redeploy its working capital and maximize the use of its net operating loss carryforwards.

Terry Gibson – President, CEO & CFO (212) 520-2260


SOURCE Ore Holdings, Inc.

DASI received growth capital from A Global Private Equity Firm

  • Background: Diversified Aero Services, Inc. (“DASI”) is a full-service aftermarket surplus aircraft parts supplier based in Miami, Florida with additional facilities in London and Singapore. DASI specializes in all of the major aircraft platforms, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, and Embraer, offering customers a comprehensive and diverse portfolio of high-quality consumables and rotables from the “nose to the tail.”
  • Cassel Salpeter:
    • Served as financial advisor to the Company
    • Ran a competitive capital raise process, identifying and contacting over 100 financial parties
    • Structured a minority recap combined with growth capital to expand its footprint and accelerate the purchase of bulk inventory
  • Challenges:
    • Substantive ABL lender in place, which increased the difficulty of raising certain forms of capital
    • Negotiated and executed on a complex “drop-down” transaction structure to optimize tax implications and future operations
  • Outcome:  In July 2017, a global private equity firm purchased a minority interest in DASI, while committing to a substantial follow-on investment amount.