When family man Jay Haladay, CEO of Viewpoint Construction Software, announced this week that that Bain Capital, a privately-held alternative investment firms, had made “a major growth equity investment in the business” it sounded like another chapter in the company’s ongoing, aggressive strategy of drawing in outside investment to help fuel growth—although the value of the deal was not revealed.
But then a report on Bain at DealB%k, a New York Times site, attributed to unnamed people "who had been briefed "but were not authorized to publically discuss the terms," said Bain’s investment was worth about $230 million, and was for a majority stake in the Portland Or.-based company. I started thinking about Haladay’s often-expressed satisfaction at his success in building a family business over the years that has now drawn three of his sons into management positions, and I wondered how the new relationship would affect his dreams.
I called Haladay to ask if the Times report was accurate and how he expected the deal to play out.
“The information is correct,” Haladay said, but added, “They have given me a lot of incentive to stay and they are in no way interested in running a construction software business.”
“I now have three kids in the business and Bain recognizes the value of the team. They are in no way interested in changing the direction of our business or in interfering with the momentum.”
Haladay said he took Bain’s interest in Viewpoint as evidence that smart investors “are starting to see the vibrancy of the construction market from a technology standpoint“ and are putting their money up, while others are still just talking. He believes there has been long-term under investment in the development of quality software for construction, and that has set the industry up for transformational opportunities.
“Bain appreciates that the construction market is a vibrant market to be in and they picked us out of the litter. They agree with me that the market is ripe for disruption,” Haladay says.
Discussions on the deal began last October. At the time Haladay was working with his financial advisors planning next steps for the development of his company, including the possibility of preparing it for an IPO, as well as succession planning, and his advisors at Credit Suisse Bank brought Viewpoint to the attention of Bain, he said.
The approach “was kind of mutual,” Haladay said. “Any business that’s grown like ours needs to look forward and think about next steps you will be taking. Bain liked the Viewpoint story so much they decided to make a bigger check than we expected them to write. They would have bought it all.”
“Our family is still a very large shareholder in the business and Bain is going to be able to continue to work with members of the family and a very talented management team.”
He said no changes in the officers of the company are anticipated, but says that the current seven member board of directors will be reconstituted into a five-member board comprised of three from Bain, one independent, and Haladay.
Haladay said “he feels very comfortable with the way they [Bain} have conducted themselves. He said he has talked to other CEOs at companies Bain has made major investments in and heard good reports. “I’m pretty comfortable,” he said.