Published May 31, 2011

Operating Without Personal Guarantees

By Clay Brock

Business owners often tell us that one of the reasons they want to do a transaction is to avoid having personally guaranteed bank debt. We don't blame them. A personal guarantee means that in the case the business declines or fails, not only does the owner lose his livelihood and primary asset but he also can be asked to come out-of-pocket to make the lender whole. That's the stuff of nightmares, especially if the owner is later in his career.

Hadley Capital is prohibited from making guarantees, and we don't ask our partners to make them either. When we are buying or recapitalizing a business, and the business owner keeps some equity in the company going-forward, this means he can rest assured that he wont have to pay back the bank sometime in the future.  It is hard to put a value on this this peace of mind.

Hadley Capital is able to get bank and other debt that is not guaranteed because of our track record of success, our professional firm structure which gives lenders comfort that we'll act reasonably in periods of distress and because we put substantial equity into each deal. This is a powerful tool in terms of enabling us to structure effective transactions that work for everyone.

Clay Brock - General Partner

Clay made his first small company investment in the late 90’s and never looked back, joining forces with Scott in 2004 to raise Hadley Capital Fund I. Over the past twenty years he has worked closely with nearly a dozen small companies on growth and improvement initiatives.

Clay currently works with Storflex, and previously served as chairman of the board of directors for Bluff Manufacturing and SGA Production Services, both former Hadley Capital companies.

Clay is the firm’s annual leader in vertical feet skied, a competitive cyclist and an instrument-rated pilot. He is also actively involved in a number of community and non-profit organizations.

Clay received a degree in English from Gettysburg College and his MBA from the University of Chicago. He and his wife Amy have three children, and a black lab named Dexter.