When I started BBE, there were not many blogging sites on the Internet. Many more people have joined the blogoshpere since I started posting. Our staff now includes seven bloggers covering a total of 28 different topics in as many blogs posted every week. There are many areas of interest we do not cover. We had decided early on that if we could not provide a quality blog on a topic, we would not put out a second rate post. We do keep an eye on other sites posting on topics we do not address.
One such blog site was operated by a company with offices in our city, Blogging Topics, Inc. (BTI). I had been introduced to Bob, the CEO of BTI, at a blogger convention several years ago. Finding that we had many mutual interests, we have stayed in touch over the years, getting together for lunch or dinner every few months and sharing stories of the blogging world. Although his blog site could be considered competition in a general sense, our sites did not have blogs on the same topics. In reality, there was no direct competition between our sites.
Bob had come to blogging later in life and was now in his late 60s. In our last two lunch meetings, he had mentioned that the idea of retiring was becoming more and more attractive. Although his staff and blog writers were very talented and enjoyed working for him, none of them had any interest in running the business. Bob was faced with a very common problem for older business owners: how to cash in on the business he had created and nurtured to maturity. Bob and his wife, Mary Pat, were the only shareholders of BTI, having funded the company themselves.
After some discussion with our Board of Directors, I set up a meeting with Bob. When Alice, our President, and I met him at his offices, we suggested that BBE might have a solution to his problem: BBE and BTI could enter into a merger, which means that BBE would buy the stock of BTI. We told him there were several ways to do this. One way would be for BBE to pay Bob and Mary Pat cash for their stock. Another option would be a stock swap, i.e., pay for their stock in BTI with shares of BBE stock. Bob said he and Mary Pat had spoken often about selling the company. Both of them were in good health and looked forward to many years together in retirement. He expressed concern over what might happen to his employees if he were to sell BTI. He promised to get back to us in a few days.
A week later, Bob called and asked for a meeting to discuss how BBE might merge with his company. We proposed that we get together at BBE's offices to explore various merger options. We will join that meeting in the next blog.
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