Case Study

Engineering Design Tools Company Achieves Objectives of Family Owners by Selling to Management



Client Situation

A seasoned engineering design tools company had been owned by a family for decades and the board was comprised of second, third, and even fourth generation family members with different sets of objectives and varying degrees of familiarity with the business. Company revenues had declined over several years due to changes in technology, and the board wrestled with the future of the company. With many different points of view and willingness to take action among its members, the board was unable to make necessary decisions as performance continued to decline.


The board brought in a E78 team member who had extensive experience in managing change in strategic direction as a consultant. He first met with each of the board members to gather and understand their individual take on objectives, issues, perspectives, and barriers to any particular direction of the business. He also reviewed the last 10 years of financial history of the company and met with the management team to get their input on strategic direction. He then conducted a competitive analysis that resulted in a carefully prepared and narrowed-down set of alternatives aligned with the objectives of the stakeholders and the reality of the market.

He presented the manageable set of alternatives to the board at a retreat and, as an objective outsider, was able to clarify and gain acceptance of the realities facing the board. Two of the alternatives were selected and combined: 1) to sell the company to management, and 2) to sell the underlying real estate in a separate deal.


The family sold the operating company to management and also sold the underlying real estate property for a substantial sum. The board and company management were very pleased to have the situation resolved and have all parties come out ahead financially.

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