Viscusi AdvisorsThinking of Buying or Selling Your Company?
MMQB recently sat down with Stephen Viscusi, CEO of the Viscusi Group, an executive search firm specializing in the interior furnishings industry, to discuss a new venture he has launched. Viscusi's new consulting business is born from decades of work in the contract furnishings industry.
Q: What Is Viscusi Advisors, and what made you expand The Viscusi Group services?
SV: "I created Viscusi Advisors as a consulting company for private equity and other companies, such as manufacturers and dealers interested in acquiring or selling businesses in the interiors industry."
Q: What Are you Offering Clients?
SV: "As the founder of The Viscusi Group executive search firm, I have unique long-term relationships with company owners, CEOs, and their Boards that I'm willing to share with investors seeking to acquire specific companies or sell companies that they already own. My client could be a private equity company, manufacturer, dealer, or retailer wanting to buy or sell a company. I have seen a trend in our search business in the past couple of years. We were increasingly selling searches to private equity companies who acquired companies in the interiors space. At Viscusi Advisors, these same people have asked me to use my personal relationships to introduce them to manufacturers, dealers, and other important players in the industry. A traditional business broker or banker does not have the level of trust or contacts in our industry that I have earned over the years. The formation of Viscusi Advisors happened very organically."
Q: Are you a business broker?
SV: "No, I'm not a business broker, or an investment banker, simply an advisor. I keep our fee low for that reason. We charge a modest 1% fee of the ultimate transaction. We are not Lehman Brothers - we ask questions, make suitable introductions, and provide advice, and the fee reflects that. We work along with bankers and brokers to close deals."
What's unique about Viscusi Advisors is that I can provide insight into the personalities my client will be negotiating with, which may help both parties succeed in the ultimate sale or acquisition.
Q: Who are your clients so far?:
SV: "I have learned from my search business that everything is confidential, which is even more true for the Advisors' business. There is a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place before any conversation or exchange of documents. It is always private and confidential if someone wants to sell their company or even explore the possibility."
But lots of PE firms and business owners have called. It's a good mix: Contract but especially residential manufacturers that want to sell. The mix includes healthcare, hospitality, flooring, tiles and stone, textiles, furniture, and outdoor. Plus retail, "to the trade," and traditional contract dealers. You name the business, and chances are they have made contact.
Q: But you still do head-hunting? The Viscusi Group must be one of the largest in our industry.
SV: "The Viscusi Group remains the same; a traditional search and consulting practice. Yes, headhunters, as you call it, and I am not ashamed of the word. I do not know if we are one of the "largest" recruiters that specialize in the industry, but we are certainly one of the best known, and as a result, candidates we cold call for jobs return our calls. Good people, from the C-Suite to the sales rep, are not typically out looking or reading LinkedIn help wanted ads, so we recruit these people for our clients, and because we are well known, we can make hires happen faster. Then, every hire is contractually backed up with a full Year Free Replacement Guarantee, meaning, if someone hired through The Viscusi Group quits or is fired within one year of their start date, we will replace them for free."