It May Seem Trite But No One Lives Forever
It was a shock to the patient, the family, employees, and friends, when the business owner’s oncologist delivered the leukemia diagnosis.
The President and CEO of the 50-year-old, international manufacturer of thermal processing equipment, Thermcraft, Inc., had worked hard his whole life nurturing and growing the business started by his parents. Nearing 65, he had on occasion, flirted with getting things in order to sell the company so he could enjoy the fruits of his labor in retirement — travel with his wife Nancy and do the things he’d always wanted to do that a working life didn’t allow time for.
Sadly, Tom Crafton died April 28, 2020, having lost his fight to beat leukemia.
Where Do We Go from Here?
In preparation for his retirement, in 2016 before Tom received his diagnosis, he had hired Bill Thomson, a business manager and confidant he’d known for 10-plus years through professional channels. Bill came in to help Tom get Thermcraft, Inc. credentials in order, for the sale. After Tom’s death, Bill and Tom’s wife, Nancy, spearheaded the search for investment bankers to help with the sale of Thermcraft. They were looking for a special combination of talents. It was critically important that any investment banker they selected understand the company philosophy.
“Tom always told me that he was not going to sell out for the biggest buck,” says Thomson today. “He wanted Thermcraft to continue as a going concern, and he wanted to keep the people and the jobs here in Winston-Salem, N.C.”
Several large investment banking and accounting firms were considered. And the due diligence began in earnest.
“We interviewed several large investment banking and accounting firms, but we weren’t well taken with their approach,” Thomson says. “They were telling us what they were going to do, which of course worked for them, but they weren’t listening to us.”
Then Wells Fargo provided three recommendations that might try to understand their needs and be a better fit.
Tobin & Company, the firm that had produced the corporate valuation to prepare the company for sale, appeared on the list. The process took a while but once they had listened to presentations, Tobin & Company stood out over the others.
“We just had a tremendous connection with Justine,” Thomson remembers. “She and her team were such a pleasure to with work that suddenly we realized the decision to hire her as our financial counselor for the sale of the Thermcraft was a no-brainer!”
Tobin & Company provided other attributes that Thermcraft sought as well, including knowledge- and experience-based competence, first-hand Wall Street experience, and a flexible payment program.
“Justine didn’t present a take-it-or-leave it approach like the larger firms . . . she expressed a desire to learn the nuances of our situation and work together with us, which is what we wanted,” says Thomson. “And she was flexible, with a personalized, customized approach to sell-side merges and acquisitions. That’s exactly what we wanted and needed.”
Importantly, Nancy liked that Tobin & Company was woman-owned.
On September 9, 2021, after nine months of long hours and hard negotiations, the team closed the sale of Thermcraft, Inc. to Berea, Ohio-based Alloy Engineering, a fabricator specializing in high-temperature and corrosion-resistant alloys.
“Selling Thermcraft was easier knowing it was going to a company that respects our history and values,” Nancy Crafton says. “Tom would be happy to know there is a bright future for Thermcraft.”