Published March 16, 2012

Assisting Family Businesses in Generational Transitions

By Paul Wormley

We have worked with a number of families to pass a family business from the first generation to the second generation. In each case, the families faced a familiar but intractable problem: generation one needs to sell the business for cash in order to comfortably retire but generation two does not have enough money to buy the business.

In our experience, the second generation also wants to keep growing and improving the business and, in many cases, has good, concrete ideas but lacks a partner that can help them execute the ideas.

Hadley Capital has helped multiple family business address this dilemma:

  1. We partner with the second generation to acquire the business, funding the transaction with substantial cash at closing. The first generation is able to comfortably retire and the second generation participates as meaningful equity owners.
  2. We work with the second generation to develop and implement a growth plan; as equity owners, the second generation benefits from the resulting increase in value.
  3. The family business identity and legacy is perpetuated and the second generation gains an experienced and rational partner in Hadley Capital.

Hadley Capital has more than a decade's experience buying, owning and improving small businesses. Our ownership model is well aligned with many family businesses: we are good stewards of our companies with a long-term focus and an interest in improving and growing our companies, creating opportunities for management and employees and equity value for owners.

I was at dinner last night with a second generation family business owner. She said that she didn't know that "guys like you were out there" and that we might be able to help her family business. If you are an owner of a family business that is facing this dilemma, we are out here, give us a call and we can discuss how we might be able to help you.