Reginald Lewis managed to go against all the odds to secure the top position in the business field despite the racial environment that existed in that era. He involved himself an acquiring business through leveraged buyouts (LBO) several times and failing before mastering the skills through his failed experiences (Lewis & Blair, 128). Before undergoing the breakthrough in acquiring McCall Pattern, this tactic had previously failed him. In 1975, Lewis tried to purchase Parks Sausage, a firm that was based in Baltimore and was black-owned. A few years later, two to be precise, he attempted to take over Almet, manufacturers of leisure furniture, a firm that was based in California and failed.
The negotiations had taken 18 months only to fall apart in the final moments of accomplishing it. The failures came to be learning moments for Lewis as he sorted not to repeat the same actions in the succeeding dealings. He learned to hire the right people to accomplish goals with. Having the right and qualified people to offer their inputs and support ensured success (Lewis & Blair, 179). The failures enabled him to form a holding company that had just the right people to help in securing acquisitions. The experience he garnered from the failures facilitated the smooth acquisition of McCall Pattern Company after hiring the right people in the holding firm.
In the McCall Pattern Company Leveraged buyouts, Lewis negotiated for the selling price to a lower value which was still high. Lewis had $1 million as Equity which he had acquired after requesting for help from relatives, and friends, and he got the rest as debt from the investment bank. He managed to secure the acquisition of the company that was on the verge of falling. The cash flows from the business activities of the firm would then be used to service the debts. He formed the TLC company group that enabled him to have the right personnel to continue with the business that was struggling in an industry that was also declining. Although people were slowly diverting, Lewis managed to solicit for enough funds for the acquisition of the sewing company. Racial discrimination was also a limiting factor that reduced Reginald’s efforts in the field. He went beyond discrimination by proving his credibility in the field. The company was on the verge of falling before he acquired it (Lewis & Blair, 137). The skills he acquired from his failures enabled him to turn around the company and made profits even before he could again sell it.
The McCall Pattern company faced a reduction in the use of its products as people were then not sewing in homes. The only way of making the company become profitable was to improve the quality of the products, expand its market to other countries, and he emphasized on the generation of new products to secure more customers and also offer alternatives to the market. Since the cash flows would be the collaterals for paying up the debts, he had to ensure that all the activities in the firm geared towards generating cash flows. He contained costs in the company and ensured that the machines still produced other goods during downtime. The greeting cards would be produced during downtime ensuring that at no time were the firm activities stopped.
Lewis tried a public offering which went south but managed to gain profits thereafter. He cashed out the investments he had in McCall which generated $19 million for him and other stakeholders (Lewis & Blair, 141). The company was then auctioned where the John Crowther Group acquired it by paying $65 million and assumed a debt of $32 million which showed great profits from the value that Lewis had used to acquire it. Lewis later faced two lawsuits for allegedly misrepresenting the financial well-being of McCall company but he, however, managed to win the cases. Furthermore, he made a libel countersuit against the people who accused him and received a small settlement from it.
The Beatrice company was a fast food production entity that had already established its brand long ago. However, after a high leveraged buyout in 1895 by another group (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company), much of its assets had already been stripped by them to service the down debt (Lewis & Blair, 200). Lewis attention to the sale of the company that had 64 operating units located in 31 countries and in different continents. Lewis and his TLC group put forward their bid of $950 million to acquire the firm but after negotiations, it was settled to $985 million. He sorted help from Drexel and Michael Milken to help finance the takeover. In attempts to reduce the financing amount. He planned to also sell off a number of assets in the division simultaneously as the takeover was taking place. After acquiring the firm, the negotiations to sell off some of the assets also materialized immediately. Divisions sold included assets in Canada, Australia, and Spain (Lewis & Blair, 208). The sale reduced the amount to finance the buyout, and the colleagues he approached to help him finance the purchase also believed in his skills from the previous successes he had made using the same method of acquisition, that is, leveraged buyouts.
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