Author Topic: Company being sold - should I stick around?  (Read 1264 times)

birdiegirl

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Company being sold - should I stick around?
« on: March 15, 2018, 03:03:23 PM »
Our company is being sold and Iím torn about what to do for myself.  I was already unhappy with my job and planning to leave, take a few months off, then look for a new job that is more fulfilling for me.  But when this came up I thought it would be best to wait and see what happens with the sale.  My ideal situation would be to be let go with a severance package and possibly retention bonus to transition my work.  (Iím in accounting so they will need a transition period for the new company to take over, itís not something they can just drop)

There are a few weeks yet before the deal closes but we are learning a little more about the transition plans/processÖÖit sounds like it will be hell.  They are expecting it to take 12-18 months and we will be expected to keep up with our regular responsibilities plus work on the transition to the new ownerís financial system. (My boss also becomes very difficult to work with under major stress like this, so Iím not looking forward to that part either)   

There has been no discussion of severance or retention agreements.  We have an annual bonus plan that will end with the sale, we will get nothing for 2018 (my bonus is typically around 20% of my salary).   So essentially it feels like Iím taking a pay cut but getting more responsibility. 

How long should I stick around and wait to see if I get a package?   Do companies typically setup agreements right away in this kind of situation or do they wait to see if people quit on their own?   Should I be upfront with my current boss and/or the new management and tell them what I want?   

My concern is that Iíll try and stick it out and not be happy with the outcome Ė either getting a tiny package or dealing with a ton of extra work/stress for the transition and they decide to keep me on and I have to quit with no severance. 

Iíve been involved in few acquisitions before but never one like this where everything is so uncertainÖ..or it is certain and weíre being kept in the dark. 

birdiegirl

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 04:23:52 PM »
I should add that I have FU money but am still working toward FI.  The reason for staying would be for the extra money, to help with my plan to downshift to a less stressful position or just something that I find more fulfilling.  Most of the ideas I have will pay less than my current salary. 

azure975

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 07:17:20 PM »
I'm in a very similar situation. I'm sticking around just to continue to bank some money since, like you, all of my next step ideas pay considerably less. I'm just letting things roll off me at work. What's the worst they can do, fire me? I don't think the transition for us will be 12-18 mo though--I'm thinking more like 6. I don't think I'd stay 18 months.

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 07:56:21 PM »
A bit of food for thought.  Who is buying?  A mega corporation that wants more diverse subsidiaries, a competitor or a private equity fund?  These three scenarios go in order from less to more dire.  In scenario 1, nothing will happen for a while and position elimination is not initially likely.  For some mega corps that may take five years or more.  Some holding company types have propensity for cutting benefits: vacation days get cut, insurance gets skimpier, 401(k) match drops, and so on, which results in some employee-initiated exits.  This takes care of headcount without layoffs and expense of severance pay.  Competitor buyout - layoffs likely after merged management decides who is "redundant".  Can be as soon as 6 months post deal close.  Private equity?  RUN AWAY - NOW.  The new management is likely to can all bonuses, walk a lot of people out of the door, and deny any severance pay.  These entities exist solely to extract value out of acquisitions, nothing else, and the news for employees is never good under those circumstances.

My advice would be to start looking or, if you have FU money, prepare for exit whenever conditions get to you.  If you really liked your job, staying would be optimal in scenario 1, but it seems to me that you aren't enamored with it and would be facing unpleasant conditions at work without guarantee of a bonus or severance pay in either scenario.

birdiegirl

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 08:15:46 PM »
Good question - it is a partial competitor.  They touch a bit into our space but want to expand their offerings to clients.  The majority of the client facing  services are not redundant, so those that bring in revenue probably don't have to worry . 

The buyer is wholly owned by one private equity firm.  We've been owned by private equity too...until our parent company declared bankruptcy a few year ago.  Now we're owned by the debt holders for the most part, so no surprise a sale was coming.  Don't think it could get much worse than our current ownership...they fully embraced cost cutting as a business strategy :)

Buyer's have acknowledged that there is redundancy in the "back office" functions.  All they'll say is that there will be a transition period and they will treat people respectfully - no idea what that means in their world. 

NorCal

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 10:36:34 PM »
You're in a great spot from a negotiation perspective.  If my experience is any guide, they'd try desperately to hold onto those with back-office skills during the integration, then do layoffs once their comfortable everything works okay.

Talk to your boss.  Tell him you're willing to do the added work of integration, but not under a 20% compensation cut.  Ask for either a raise or some type of retention bonus.  Give two weeks notice on the spot if they say no.

Or just walk out the door if you don't want to deal with it.  That is the blessing of FU money.

Using FU money to walk away is one of the best feelings in the world.  I've personally done that once, and getting close to doing it a second time.

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 10:38:54 PM »
Stick around.  Here are 2 scenarios.

1. They fire you and offer some kind of package.
+ Mo' Money for you to do the thing you want to do now.
- 0
2. They keep you, fire others, Then you wait a little and go and say: If you want me to stay, I need Mo' Money (similar to @NorCal's idea, but with a little delay to see how it all shakes).
+ They give you Mo' Money because they already fired the other person and consider you valuable.
- They tell you to get lost, you quit, and "pay" with the weeks of suck you endured (but you won't be working for free, so you are not really paying $$$). 

2(-) above is really your only loss, but it does not seem major.

PE people go in not really knowing how to run the day to day, so 2(+) above is not entirely unlikely. 

« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 10:40:43 PM by WalkaboutStache »

SwordGuy

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Re: Company being sold - should I stick around?
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 10:39:41 PM »
Go job hunting.   

After you have a better offer in hand, let your company know you're leaving and why.

They'll either offer you more to stay or they won't. 

Either way, you're ahead.