Strategy Planning Execution, Inc. ("SPX") is a Corporate Transactions Advisory firm that specializes in driving the strategy, planning and execution of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures for enterprise clients within Technology and Service industries.  SPX prides itself on being one of the rare firms with a proven track record of being able to effectively drive the execution of a corporate transaction from start to finish.  In essence, we provide the resources and knowledge that our clients need to either rapidly grow inorganically through mergers and acquisitions or to promptly exit business ventures altogether through divestiture or the sale of the entire enterprise.  Instead of our clients worrying about building a Corporate Development function of their own, they can continue to focus on running their businesses while outsourcing those activities to SPX.

SPX’s value proposition is simple – We provide exceptional analytical insight to our clients, supported by years of diverse experience, superior methodologies and a compendium of documented lessons learned.  We are experts at what we do.

Cedric Thomas is the Managing Principal of SPX.  He has over 20 years of proven leadership experience running strategic programs and business operations at companies such as Apple, Tesla and Symantec.  Prior to starting SPX, Mr. Thomas also worked as a Management Consultant at one of the “Big Four” firms where he drove multiple Corporate Transactions and Business Transformation projects for enterprise clients.

 

View or download Cedric's summary of professional experience by clicking here.

SERVICES


Acquisition Services

The Problem

Many executives understand the benefits of growing inorganically through acquisition but are unable to do so because they don’t have the right staff in place.

Our Solution

SPX provides the ability for Enterprises to outsource their Corporate Development functions in a way that aligns the cost of the function with the cost of the transaction. Our firm partners with its clients from the beginning of the acquisition lifecycle to analyze their product portfolio, develop acquisition value drivers, identify targets that fit the client’s criteria, perform Due Diligence and establish a valuation in order to negotiate a transaction that optimizes value.

The Problem

Within the acquisition lifecycle, finding and buying a company is the easy part. However, most enterprises are ill-equipped to drive and manage the organizational, operational and technological complexities associated with integrating an acquired company.

Our Solution

SPX has expertise and resources to manage every aspect of an acquisition’s integration so that every department, function and the company as a whole operates as one combined entity. We deploy highly experienced integration experts and robust tools to maximize the value every transaction.

Enterprise Exit Services

The Problem

Over time, a company can become an amalgamation of various products and services, some of which may not be important to the its core or its mission. These non-core products can become a distraction to the company’s executives, which can lead a lack of focus on the company’s most important products, regardless of how well they perform.

Our Solution

SPX has the ability to provide enterprises with a way to rapidly divest and sell underperforming or non-core businesses. We manage the entire transaction on the behalf of our clients so that they can continue to focus on managing the aspects that still matter. Prior to even entertaining offers from Buyers, we not only estimate the value that an enterprise can receive but we also outline the operational risks and challenges of divestment based on various buyer scenarios. By taking this approach, clients know exactly what they are getting into before going down this path.

Scalability Services

The Problem

Many companies that are growing rapidly or inorganically are unable to operationally scale in order to support a certain growth trajectory due to the presence of inefficient and ineffective business processes. These processes are usually manual in nature, lack standardization and are overly complex due the operational debt associated with the execution of multiple acquisitions or hyper-growth initiatives. As a result, the costs to support these enterprises is higher than usual and the results that these processes produce are less than optimal. Moreover, internal stakeholders are not provided with the tools that they need to effectively manage the business and external stakeholders are usually negatively impacted by suboptimal operations as well.

The Solution

In these situations, SPX works with client stakeholders to assess and document critical business processes from end to end and to identify and prioritize operational areas of improvement. From there, we recommend technological improvements such as process automation and system enhancements in order to accomplish the five following objectives:

1. Reduce or eliminate unnecessary manual labor
2. Optimize process efficiency
3. Minimize processing costs
4. Improve the accuracy of results from a process
5. Improve the ability to effectively manage the business

For every initiative that we implement, we provide a benefit vs. cost analysis. From there, we identify and focus on implementing and monitoring initiatives that rapidly improve the client’s operational performance.

The Problem

As a company grows in terms of revenue, customers, products and employees, business operations become more complex and the need to effectively manage the business becomes more critical. If the proper investments are not made into technologies and tools, a company can experience the following issues:

1. Inability to provide the Sales team with the tools that they need to be effective
2. Inability for the company to effectively manage customer orders, fulfillment and inquiries
3. Inability for the company’s operators to monitor direct and indirect costs
4. Inability for the company’s operators to make management decisions due to inaccurate data
5. Inability for the Finance team to meet the reporting requirements due to inefficient processes

In addition to the issues outlined, companies that do not invest in technologies will need to hire additional headcount to perform basic operations, which can negatively impact profitability.

The Solution

SPX specializes in rapidly implementing cloud-based Information Technology platforms that enable middle market companies to efficiently and effectively operate and to scale for growth. We have Technology experts that specialize in functional design and technical development and that are capable of addressing each client’s customized business processes, requirements and needs. Unlike many other consulting firms, we don’t recommend “plain vanilla” approaches nor do we focus primarily on the selected technology’s capabilities. Instead, we start with defining each client’s data requirements and by designing the most efficient and effective business processes possible based on how each client would like to operate. After we document and analyze business requirements and processes, we drive project planning, technical development, implementation, User Acceptance Testing, change management and training for the project.

Case Studies


Acquisition Strategy and Due Diligence

Digital Yalo acquired Ninja Multimedia to add more capabilities to create an even stronger, dynamic and innovative marketing agency.

The Situation

Digital Yalo was interested in building its internal capabilities and expanding its breadth of services.  The company has provided its clients with traditional marketing agency services for years.  However, the company’s founder wanted to continue to grow and offer innovative service offerings by rapidly adding new capabilities to his team through an acquisition.  This is one of a multitude of acquisitions that Digital Yalo intends to execute to rapidly grow.

Our Solution

Similar to most privately-owned middle market companies, the client did not have a formal Corporate Development department or function, so SPX agreed to provide this function on an interim basis.  Our responsibilities include:

  • Developing an overall Corporate Development strategy and roadmap
  • Advising the client on capital structure and financing decisions
  • Finding potential targets that fit the client’s culture and strategy
  • Developing customized valuation models to evaluate potential acquisitions
  • Performing Due Diligence and analyzing the results
  • Driving the negotiation of the terms and conditions of acquisitions of interest
  • Providing advisory services during the integration planning process

During the Ninja Multimedia acquisition, Digital Yalo had already chosen Ninja Multimedia as a potential acquisition candidate.  Thus, our role was to identify risks with the possible acquisition and to calculate an acquisition price through a rigorous (but expedited) Due Diligence process.  SPX also developed and documented “Value Drivers” for this transaction that provided Key Performance Indicators that help to measure the extent to which the acquisition would be accretive or diluted to Digital Yalo’s shareholder value.

Results
  • Completed Due Diligence efforts and valued the target within a 30-day period
  • Orchestrated the negotiation and execution of the acquisition within a 30-day period
  • Drove the negotiation of the acquisition to ensure the retention of all key and critical employees
  • Developed Day 1 Integration Plans that gave both the acquirer and the target the necessary guidance that they need to operate efficiently and effectively on “Day 1”

End to End Integration Planning and Execution

New Mountain Learning merged with Carnegie Learning to form a Math and World Languages print and digital educational publishing powerhouse.

The Situation

Carnegie Learning and New Mountain Learning had just announced that they had merged and needed to perform integration planning.  Although both companies competed in the educational space, they were vastly different in terms of products, strategies, customers, operations and Information Technology systems.  Every company function needed to be integrated in order to move the combined entity in one common direction.

Our Solution

First, we developed a multi-phased integration strategy that focused on stabilizing the enterprise and immediately recognizing synergies.  This included:

  • Designing and implementing a combined optimized organization
  • Determining how to perform critical processes and to provide the necessary reporting while still operating in two different system environments
  • Identifying immediate operational overlaps and opportunities for cost savings

Second, we focused on migrating the combined company to one Information Technology environment.  This extraordinary effort included:

  • Transitioning employees to one common Human Resources Information System
  • Migrating all sales operations to one instance of Salesforce.com so that all Lead to Quote processes for all products can be managed and reported on uniformly
  • Migrating all business processes to one Enterprise Resource Planning system
Results
  • Retained and grew key customer accounts during the integration effort
  • Retained critical employees during the integration effort
  • Integrated two vastly different businesses into one common Information Technology environment
  • Positioned the company for increased organic growth
  • Identified a multitude of operational improvements that will lead to increased efficiencies and effectiveness once implemented

Acquisition Strategy and Target Valuations

Lumileds was interested in valuing specific targets to grow inorganically as a part of their overall corporate strategy.

The Situation

Lumileds had just spun off from Phillips.  The company quickly stabilized operations and established the necessary internal governance structure to execute acquisitions.  These acquisitions were expected to be relatively young companies and in adjacent high growth industries.  However, Lumileds had no tools or methodology in place to determine what these companies should be worth.

Our Solution

First, we developed and documented a methodology that we could put in place to get all of the stakeholders of each valuation effort to be totally aligned.  This document outlined roles and responsibilities during the Valuation Phase, provided an overview on how cost of capital should be calculated and it described the various valuation methodologies and when they should be used.

Second, we built custom valuation models to determine the intrinsic value of each company that they considered during the Acquisition Targeting phase.  These models also calculated the range of additional shareholder value that each acquisition could generate based on the price that Lumileds paid for the target.

Results
  • Developed a Valuation Methodology where one did not previously exist
  • Built customized models to value and justify bids on multiple targets
  • Enabled the client’s valuation calculations to become a key component of their Due Diligence process when reviewing acquisition targets

Integration of SolarCity and Grohmann Automation

Tesla had just acquired SolarCity and Grohmann Automation.  The Finance operations of both companies needed to be integrated into Tesla.

The Situation

Tesla acquired two companies that had different Finance organizations and different ways of doing business.  Both acquired companies had their own Enterprise Resource Planning systems and unique processes that were designed to support their respective organizations.  Somehow, we needed to integrate the teams, rationalize processes and migrate data into Tesla’s environment in a way that minimized disruption.

Our Solution

We began by helping Tesla design and implement a combined Finance organization that included the respective organizations of both acquired companies, with a rationalized reporting structure.  This facilitated decision making and removed risks for employees.

Second, we evaluated the similarities and differences between Tesla’s IT environment and the environments of the acquired companies.  By understanding these differences, we were able to identify potential gaps and risks.  These gaps and risks turned into business requirements that we needed implement within Tesla’s environment as well as interfaces between environments to accommodate the operations of both acquisitions in the best way possible.

Third, we migrated the data from the environments of both acquired companies to Tesla’s environment wherever applicable and facilitated User Acceptance Testing and Training for the employees of both acquired companies in order to rapidly migrate processes and procedures.

Results
  • Retained 100% of Critical employees during both integration efforts
  • Migrated Finance employees to Tesla’s environment within a 6 month period while still meeting Finance Service Level agreements that were in place
  • Developed an inventory of Operational Improvements that could be implemented to maximize the Finance organization’s efficiency and effectiveness

Our IP


How Do You Measure the Success (or Failure) of an Acquisition?

Determining how to correctly measure value is the first step to recognizing value in any corporate transaction.?

How Do You Measure the Success (or Failure) of an Acquisition?

Determining how to correctly measure value is the first step to recognizing value in any corporate transaction.

CAREERS


We are always looking to connect with talented corporate transaction practitioners that have deep experience in our service areas and a passion for exemplary client service. Please tell us about your experience and send us your Resume.  If there is an interest and a fit, we will get back to you!

Send your CV

CONTACT


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