Growth-Based Franchise Opportunities: Lessons from the Geico Acquisition
Journal of Private Equity, pp. 6-17, Spring 2011
Posted: 22 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 21, 2011
Private Equity acquirers often purchase under-performing businesses and then cut costs, and otherwise turn those businesses around for later sale. This approach has worked incredibly well, so much so that it has attracted a great deal of competition thereby making similar deals increasingly scarce. A potentially lucrative alternative to such deals is growth-based franchise opportunities.
A “franchise” is Graham and Dodd nomenclature for a firm operating with a sustainable competitive advantage. A growth-based franchise opportunity arises when a franchise has unrecognized growth potential, and as such can be purchased at a reasonable “margin of safety,” or discount from estimated value. The classic example of such an opportunity is Warren Buffett’s 1995 GEICO acquisition.
This paper presents an approach for identifying, evaluating and tracking the value realization of growth-based franchise deals in the context of the GEICO case. The approach integrates strategic, financial, and performance management concepts in a way that, it is hoped, will prove useful to future acquirers and researchers alike.
Keywords: M&A, valuation, franchise/sustainable competitive advantage, value realization, performance management
JEL Classification: G22, G34, L21, M13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation