Business/Finance Contributors Funeral Industry News

Foundation Partners Haven’t Made A Purchase In Over A Year And All Original Founders Are Gone, What’s Next?

September 15, 2013

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Foundation Partners Haven’t Made A Purchase In Over A Year And All Original Founders Are Gone, What’s Next?

Insight provide by: Jeff Boutwell, President of NewBridge Group, a merger acquisition consulting firm that assists both buyers and sellers of family owned funeral homes.

Jim Price and Steve Shaffer are both extremely talented and respected professionals and I’d expect to see them both back in the industry at some point, probably after whatever non-compete they have expires. Foundation Partners lost two really good people with great ties to the industry. However,  Foundation owns a really strong group of businesses and I expect them to be fine.

Foundation started a little over 3 years ago with 4 industry veterans and Sterling Partners, a private equity firm with experience in multiple location businesses.  All the founding industry players are gone and have moved on.  Over the last few years  NewBridge has represented several clients that have considered selling to Foundation, two clients did choose Foundation and are part of that company now.   Steve and Jim are now gone and Paul Haarer joined us a few months ago.  I’m now not sure who will now be the leader to pursue acquisitions in the future, but I hope they continue to pursue purchasing new businesses.

As for the future of Foundation, I really believe that the underlying businesses are strong and I believe Foundation will continue to grow.   Although, they have not completed a purchase for almost a year.  I suspect they have been building capital in anticipation of purchasing some of the Stewart Enterprise divestitures.  I think they will also be very selective in their acquisitions going forward and will at acquiring large businesses and also firms surrounding their existing locations.  From what I can tell, Foundation treats their location employees well and Brad Rex has tremendous credentials.  They recently added Justin Baxley to their executive team, who came from an acquisition, which shows they are willing to promote from within.  To a seller, promoting from within and treating your employees well are important issues.  That being said, most sellers look for the highest price and the ability to connect with their buyers. We’ll see what the future holds for Foundation. I’d love them to stay active in pursuing acquisitions, because for our clients, the more possible buyers the better.