In this chapter, we studied horizontal integration and the build-borrow-or-buy framework. One…

In this chapter, we studied horizontal integration and the build-borrow-or-buy framework. One industry currently consolidating is furniture manufacturing, with thousands of manufacturers and suppliers. Manufacturers range from large recognizable brands, such as Baker, Steelcase, and La-Z-Boy, to small family-owned companies. Demand for both office furniture and residential furniture is experiencing post-recession growth. Analysts have observed that companies are shopping for acquisitions as consumers are shopping for furniture. Charter Capital Partners in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a mergers and acquisitions adviser helping companies initiate, negotiate, and close deals on one company’s purchase of another. To take advantage of the increase in M&A activity in the furniture manufacturing industry, Charter recently launched a dedicated furniture practice. Western Michigan is home to the top three office furniture manufacturers, which is a key segment of the industry. The sales of the top three make up half of the industry’s $10 billion market. Charter Capital Partners has hired your small consulting team to do the basic research regarding a client that has recently approached the group. The client is a small manufacturer of office furniture in a mediumsized town in Michigan. The managers are seeking advice as they decide whether to upgrade capabilities in order to expand sales, to find a partner with complementary skills, or to sell to a larger company. The owner has stated that the firm is like a family, and he feels a sense of loyalty to the workers and the community. The firm has had steady sales over its history, although it experienced a slight dip in sales during the recession. The company is aware that other office furniture manufacturers are beginning to integrate technology into the furniture. For example, one competitor is building wireless technology into desk surfaces to power several devices at one time and avoid the need to plug them in. The owner sees the integration of technology as a game changer. Using the build-borrow-or-buy framework and other strategic concepts, develop a set of questions to ask the managers of this small business in order to gather information regarding a decision as to whether to hire new employees with more sophisticated technology expertise in order to build capabilities in-house or whether to partner with another firm that already has these capabilities. Alternatively, consider information that could help the owner decide whether this is the time to sell to a larger company. Your consulting team will need adequate information to help put a value on the firm in order to advise Charter if/when it initiates a search for a partner or buyer.

 

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