Considering the Acquisition of a Business Unit of a Large Company? Part Two

Additional Issues Regarding Carve-Outs

In the course of assisting our clients in evaluating potential acquisitions, target companies are typically “stand-alone” entities that lend themselves to fairly direct analysis.  However, in numerous instances, our clients have contemplated the purchase of individual business units that were part of larger corporate organizations.  These types of transactions are referred to as carve-outs.  In March, I highlighted several important items that we observed during our work on carve-out acquisitions.  Part One discussed understanding reasons for divesture, the importance of brand recognition and customer relationships and key business processes and systems. 

Continuing our series on carve-out acquisitions, we will highlight some additional issues for consideration based on buy-side due diligence work that we have performed.  The considerations are as follows:

  • Evaluation of Corporate Cost Allocations:  The first part of this analysis is to identify all costs allocated from the corporate parent and/or other related operating subsidiaries to the carve-out.  These costs often include items such as human resources, employee benefits, accounting, tax, legal and information technology costs.  In many instances, such costs are charged to the business unit on a monthly basis, using any number of allocation factors (i.e., head count, revenues, transactional volume, etc.).  Management must estimate what these related costs will be on a stand-alone basis subsequent to the transaction in order to evaluate the net financial impact to historical reported EBITDA of the carve-out for deal valuation purposes.
  • Employee Pay and Benefits:  We have observed that large corporations generally have more generous benefit plans (including profit sharing, deferred compensation, defined benefit pension plans, stock options, etc.) than privately held companies.  This can pose a challenge when a privately held company is considering the acquisition of a carve-out because it is important for management to retain key employees (i.e., making them whole post-transaction from a compensation and benefits standpoint), while balancing the existing compensation and benefits structure for current employees.
  • Supply Chain Issues:  During one engagement, the target business unit, a consumer products company, sourced its product from the Far East.  The parent company had a number of other business units engaged in the consumer products industry with similar sourcing arrangements.  The parent company even had a large team of individuals in several offices in the Far East to manage procurement and quality control with respect to product sourced from there.  Therefore, it was important for our client to determine how it would manage this part of the supply chain in the immediate and longer terms post-transaction, including related normalized costs/margins and additional required investments.  The results of this analysis had a significant impact on the valuation and negotiation of the deal.

Schneider Downs has extensive experience in providing due diligence services.  To learn more about how Schneider Downs can help you, please contact Joel Rosenthal, Shareholder, or Marc Brdar, Senior Manager, at (412)-261-3644.

© 2014 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2019 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

our thoughts on

Fraud and Corruption Seminar Review
What is Liam Neeson’s Name Worth?
Slow Start in 2019 for Mergers and Acquisitions
Financial Trustee Service Considerations

Register to receive our weekly newsletter with our most recent columns and insights.

Have a question? Ask us!

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note, and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Ask us

contact us

Map of Pittsburgh Office

One PPG Place, Suite 1700
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
p:412.261.3644     f:412.261.4876

Map of Columbus Office

65 East State Street, Suite 2000
Columbus, OH 43215
p:614.621.4060     f:614.621.4062