Ocoee Environmental provided residential and commercial waste removal services and operated regional landfills. Ocoee was in the process of combining collection routes at transfer stations and acquiring statically located landfills.
Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE: WCN) is a California-based, publicly-traded waste removal company. WCN is an integrated solid waste services company that provides solid waste collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling services mostly in secondary markets in the Western and Southern U.S. The Company serves more than one million residential, commercial, and industrial customers from a network of operations in 23 states.
Numerous and frequent calls from publicly-traded waste removal companies offering to buy Ocoee at multiples of cash flow typical of the industry confirmed the owners’ opinions that it was time to sell, but for what price?
Having been contacted very often by potential buyers, the owners felt the marketing process could be cut short. They suggested calling only the three most likely buyers and presenting them with an abbreviated Confidential Information Memorandum. These companies seemed to be the most likely buyers – they were operating similar companies that were located in the region and did not need much of the industry information contained in a typical memorandum.
We explained to the owners that, by shortening the marketing process in this manner, they ran a significant risk of losing value, as the best buyer is typically not the buyer one would expect. Also, unless a potential buyer perceives that the seller has contacted a significant amount of other competition, the buyer is unlikely to put forth their best offer. We knew that only a fairly exhaustive search for potential buyers maximizes the value of a company.
The owners agreed to conduct a more complete process. Our research identified that the most probable buyers included 9 strategic buyers and 13 private equity groups with strategic interests. We approached these groups and conducted our confidential marketing process, which resulted in multiple offers.
The winning proposal came from a California-based, publicly-traded waste removal company – a company the owners were unfamiliar with. Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE: WCN) successfully out-bid the three potential buyers initially identified by the owners. Through our research, we discovered that WCN had made a strategic decision to enter into the Southeast. Ocoee strategically fit very well into WCN’s plan, and their offer was 22% higher than the next closest offer.