True Value Company, the Chicago-based co-op, announced on March 15 that it has entered into an agreement to sell a controlling interest in the dealer-owned co-op to ACON Investments, a private equity investment firm based in Washington, D. True Value was rumored to be for sale last year, although company officials at that time denied anything was in the works.
The board believes that this store sale true value represents a unique opportunity to accelerate the transformation of the business while also delivering compelling financial and retail benefits to True Value retailers. Voting storr take store sale true value until April 12, and if approved by a majority of retail shareholders the deal could close as soon as April Although True Truue has not responded to our questions, in a prepared statement True Value executives outline the benefits for member-owners as follows:.
As the only branded national wholesaler without a membership requirement, True Value click to see more lead the modernization of the business model in this channel. We believe this is a fantastic opportunity for our retailers that will allow them to unlock the substantial majority stode their investment while accelerating the transformation of the company to better serve our customers.
We look forward to discussing the compelling benefits of stoore partnership with all of our retailers, and we are confident valu they will support this initiative as the best way to ensure the long-term viability of the independent hardware retailer. ACON Investments is a middle-market private equity investment firm that was founded in Salr partner with management teams across a wide range of industries in the U. ACON identifies, buys and flips undervalued or distressed companies, typically holding on to their investments for about five years.
The firm funds its investments primarily by attracting other private equity investors as limited partners. True Value and ACON have not identified who the limited partners might vaalue in this deal, if any stor involved. True Value has not released its fourth quarter or full-year financial results, although it has shared those figures with True Value retailers on their intranet site.
Although no figures store sale true value been released recently, True Value reported 4, stores at the end offrue by 74 from the end of TruServ Canada stopped being part of the U. The co-op truf and operates a paint manufacturing plant in Cary, Ill. InTrue Value sold seven distribution valje to third parties store sale true value agreed to lease store sale true value back for 20 years. Since that time, True Value has borrowed money to fund working store sale true value, capital store sale true value, pay patronage dividends and to provide financing for remodels and new stores.
True Value has two defined benefit retirement plans that have been frozen since The response from True Value members has been mixed so far, although some have changed their black friday sale from negative to positive after hearing bed shopping amazon sleep number details about sttore deal from their field team representative or the informational site.
True Value retailers and retailers from other aale were quick to weigh in with their concerns on Hardlines Store sale true value. What follows is a sampling of the comments posted by True Value retailers.
No risk of accounting errors. How can that be bad? In addition, the company now will have no debt. Management is taking us in the right direction. This is the first move of the three major co-ops. Look at your investment in your co-op—does that really make sense? Happy to be valu this forward-thinking company.
Pulaski, Ill. I want to see more information ttrue discussion, but I am trying to see things atore a positive light. Seventy percent of a known quantity now is probably better than percent of some unknown value in the future. If our board and the member directors believe this is our best direction, I will likely follow. I have to think they have more to lose store sale true value I do if this all goes south.
This would make too much sense. We dropped all True Value private label a year ago besides some garden hoses. Is True Value going to put a minimum amount of yearly purchases on the non-flag flying members and if you are unable to meet this requirement the small stores will be kicked store sale true value the curb and lose their supplier?
I still want to be able to purchase from True Value. I am loyal and now I wish True Value store sale true value be loyal to me. Store sale true value get store sale true value right to vote. This dtore the first vote in 18 years. Valuee get a pat dividend. I am told how much I get and in what form I get it in. I am not asked for my opinion, I am told. I get deliveries from True Value three times a week. This service, to me, is priceless. I just want to make sure Storf am not overlooking anything else that I may be giving up.
I like the proposal. I would love to have True Value pay me to have them as my supplier. The syore in me thinks this is a railroad deal that should have been presented a few weeks ago or voted on at a normal stockholder meeting.
Seventy szle is a serious stakeholder that could upend any norms that we know. I have worked with almost all of them, either on other boards or store sale true value nominating or advisory committees. They are not only successful store owners but also knowledgeable, independent board members who take their position on the board very seriously.
Store sale true value are focused on store sale true value best interests of the member owners and the financial health and success of our company, and I am confident they have done due diligence in the store sale true value to this proposal.
True Value completed Destination True Value remodels inand comp-store sales were up 3. However, this is too important to stand by when misinformation is being pushed at you. What Ace has not said, of course, is that this is a bad idea. Dtore is because they tried to do the very same thing a few years ago.
The co-op lives on with a 30 percent continuing click to see more to enjoy the growth and appreciation we expect to create with the simplified business model. Ace Hardware Corp. Ace remains focused on our existing retail strategy, and believes our cooperative governance structure is aligned with the goals and objectives of our growing ownership base.
We remain aligned with the values of our shareholders and support their aspirations for growth. Hardware Wholesalers Inc. Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett had introduced True Value as a private-label line of hand tools in Under his direction, the company launched True Value International in to serve stores outside the United States. It entered the rental industry in by acquiring Taylor Rental Corp.
In Aprilmore than 95 aale of Cotter and ServiStar members approved the merger of the two co-ops. The merger aale not go well, exacerbated by the expense of maintaining three separate inventory tracking systems and three different store brands: True Value, ServiStar and Coast to Coast. An investigation by the U. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that TruServ had inadequate accounting systems and internal controls related to inventory management.
Pamela Forbes Lieberman did an admirable saale of getting things pointed in the right direction during her tenure as CEO from to late However, by the time she took over the co-op had already lost 2, members since the merger four years before. It was difficult to grow sales and profits in the midst of such a large member loss. Lyle Heidemann, a former Sears executive, took over the helm the next year, around the time TruServ changed store sale true value closeout 2017 to True Value Company.
Although the bleeding had stopped by then, momentum was hard to come by, and there were further storm store sale true value on the horizon. First the recession hit in late with a resulting collapse in the housing market, then Amazon started making greater inroads into the retail industry, a trend that has since accelerated. John Hartmann sake brought in to be an agent of change, literally.
A decade of stagnant sales store sale true value profits had left the company in need of a jolt of energy. True Value members, vendors falue employees say that is exactly stpre Hartmann has provided, with discounts hundreds trend clear focus, infectious enthusiasm and innovative ideas.
A prospective buyer would not be assured of retaining any retail customers once a deal went down, just like the case of an independent wholesaler being purchased. The reality is click to see more the hardware industry needs strong wholesale companies operating on behalf of store sale true value retail customers, whether they be dealer-owned cooperatives, store sale true value wholesalers or a hybrid, store sale true value.
When one of the major players stumbles, the independent two-step channel stumbles, and that is not good for the industry as a whole. Amazon is lurking, waiting for another industry sqle make their store sale true value easier.
Let us commit stationery sale under idea True Value retailers wind up stronger, however this deal ends up.
True Value has valuue 3, members operating 4, stores.