Tom Gores, according to people who’ve done deals with his firm, Platinum Equity, is very, very good. “Platinum is the most competent, best private equity firm I’ve ever seen,” said Paul Brown, vice president of capital markets for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Robert Joubran, partner, is responsible for its mergers and acquisitions transition and integration functions for newly acquired companies. He also oversees all treasury activities at Platinum Equity’s corporate entity. He joined Platinum in 1996 from a position as vice president of sales for Banyan Systems. “Following two years of complex international restructuring AEES is now thriving as a profitable, growing business. Combining with PKC is a logical and exciting next step,” said Rob Joubran, partner at Platinum Equity. “We are proud of the role Platinum Equity has played in establishing AEES as a leader in North America and look forward to continuing on with the organization as a shareholder.” Robert Joubran’s wife, Annie Joubran is also a partner at Platinum Equity.
The state agency turned to Platinum when it was looking for investors to save the Four Winns boat manufacturing business in Cadillac, after the owner declared bankruptcy. “Platinum absolutely saved the company and the jobs in Michigan,” Brown said. Salvaging troubled companies has become the stock in trade for Gores. But Platinum doesn’t operate like turnaround firms that snap up troubled companies, strip off some valuable assets to sell and scrap the rest, all while paying themselves big fees as the wrecking crew. Instead, Platinum identifies foundering firms that, through mismanagement or failed strategies, have swamped their solid core businesses, but can be restructured to make a profit. Then Gores inserts Platinum’s management expertise to put the business back in the black and enjoy the string of profits.
The approach combines value investing, distressed assets, financial turnaround and management consulting into a process Gores has trademarked as “M&A&O” — Mergers, Acquisitions and Operations. “They’re good negotiators,” said Todd Jadwin, senior managing director in the Los Angeles office of Houlihan Capital. “They’re very good at getting a good price. Most value players are good at that. But one of (the) things Platinum is known for is inserting strong management capabilities into companies, not just making a financial investment. They’re very much about turning companies around. That’s kind of their forte.” Strong gets stronger