Making It Big “Overnight” | Calkins Law Firm

Making It Big “Overnight”

April 16, 2018

In an earlier blog post, I suggested that if you seek to acquire one or particularly more than one business, you should develop and plan and implement a deal magnet. Doing so would involve a considerable investment of time and treasure. Or else pay a retainer for a professional to conduct a buy side search for you, a retainer and a success fee.

Miracles do happen and dreams do come true – but even for seemingly “overnight” success stories, there’s usually more than meets the eye. When asked about his apparent overnight stardom after the release of Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen said something to the effect of, “I toured nonstop for 7 years to make it overnight.” Throughout all of that effort he also met the producers and managers with the networks to elevate him to that level. And so it was with the successful acquisition of HeatSeal for Rick Martinko and Ron Ziske.

Rick Martinko, formerly a banker and investment banker, decided to try to acquire an operating business.

After attempting numerous acquisitions, and after failing to close on any of them, Martinko approached me to help him find and close on an acquisition.

I assisted Martinko with several acquisition opportunities that he identified, and all of those acquisitions failed to close. Martinko kept assuring me that he would close on the next acquisition opportunity. I kept working with him on the search. I am sure his patience was running very thin, as frankly mine was too. Martinko increasingly doubted that he would ever acquire an operating business (I did too).

It was Martinko’s lucky day when an accountant friend of mine brought the HeatSeal acquisition opportunity to my attention. This business met all of Martinko’s acquisition criteria and was not listed or shopped. “A goldmine,” I thought. Like water for a parched man.

The problem was that my accountant friend saw no reason to show this opportunity to Martinko.

I prevailed on my accountant friend and convinced him to show the opportunity to Martinko, largely as a favor to me. By this time Martinko owed me plenty on all of the bested deals.

Well, folks, the rest is history.

While I haven’t been involved with HeatSeal or Martinko since I put this deal together, I have heard that for Martinko, and for Ron Ziske, a manager who I introduced to Martinko and has managed HeatSeal, this acquisition has been a proverbial home run.

So, you might ask, why do I advise and counsel would be entrepreneurs to build a deal magnet? Why do I advise them to proactively develop acquisition opportunities? Why is it important to retain a professional to conduct a search?

Because miracles do happen, and dreams do come true, but nobody can put together deals like this one every day. To get results, there must be an underlying framework. Although it may seem miraculous in hindsight, there must be a machine that is constantly working towards the goal.

Needless to say I derived immense satisfaction from contributing to the regional economy by putting first Martinko and Ziske and then the two of them and Heatseal together. And of course their enduring gratitude.

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