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Anatomy of Our Merger

Every business transaction has an anatomy. The anatomy of each party needs to fit and work well together to achieve the goals of the new organism.

Aspen Grove Investments merged with Agri-Management Services LLC effective January 1, 2019. Aspen Grove has been a member of Agri-Management since 2015. After the merger we purchased Growthland Realty in Humboldt Iowa.

If you’ve read “Cashman’s Comments” over the years, you have no doubt picked up a consistent theme: planning for the ownership transition of your business. This merger is the culmination of my ownership transition planning and the beginning of executing that plan over the long-term.

Let’s walk thru our ownership transition planning process and the anatomy of this deal.

Objective: I had several objectives when I started business in 2008. I believe in the adage “never get into something unless you have an idea of how you’re going to get out”.

  1. It was important for me to create a business model that others would find valuable. This can be very difficult in a service business.
  2. I wanted to establish a level of customer service that would be a differentiating factor. It was critical to find or create a transition that would continue to build upon the services and level of service provided.
  3. I wanted a very long-term transition for myself. I very clearly inventoried myself and I know that I love what I do and wanted to continue with my work indefinitely. I also wanted to create a situation where I could control my time and schedule.
  4. I wanted to train a successor. I have had a few key mentors over my career that I am deeply indebted to. It is important to me to be able to pass along what I have learned to someone who wants to carry on the work that I’ve started.
  5. Financial security is a key objective. I grew up on a small family farm and have known financial insecurity. My wife and I have worked extremely hard and sacrificed to put ourselves in a position to make this transition. Arriving at a deal that cemented that objective into our retirement was critical.
  6. Finding someone with shared values was critical. I’ve met lots of people and seen lots of businesses. It is rare to find a fit wherein values are similar and trust exists. When you find a relationship with common values, you are a long ways toward developing a plan that can work.

The Anatomy of the Deal.

Let’s look now at how this deal fits my objectives

We are very excited to have put together a plan that achieves all of our objectives. The resulting firm will be twice as large and we will have a team of experts that none of us could assemble on our own.

I hope this has been a good example of how an ownership transition plan can be created and executed. With the proper guidance, you can create the anatomy that can achieve your objectives too.