Mergers & Acquisitions

Resources: M&A Talk Podcast

At M&A Talk we bring you exclusive interviews with experts in business sales, valuations, mergers and acquisitions and more. We talk to the most experienced professionals in the industry to uncover their secrets.

From Bankruptcy to a $441 Million Exit with Greg Knight

From Bankruptcy to a $441 Million Exit with Greg Knight

Greg Knight

Entrepreneur

In this episode of M&A Talk, we’ll learn how Greg Knight took control of GT Advanced Technologies, moving from bankruptcy to a $441 million exit in five years. Walk along with us during Greg’s entire journey from taking over the company after it emerged from bankruptcy proceedings, to how he created a vision to turn the company around, managed cash flow, scaled the company, and managed all the stakeholders – from the board to the employees to the hedge fund investors. Join us for this turnaround story.

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Guest Profile

Greg Knight was recently President and Chief Executive Officer of GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), a producer of silicon carbide crystal materials for rapidly expanding markets such as EV, PV, and power electronics. As CEO, Greg successfully pivoted the company from capital equipment to manufacturing advanced materials focused on silicon carbide. GTAT was acquired by Onsemi in October 2021 for $415 million in cash.

Greg has 20 years of extensive experience in both leadership positions and as a strategic consultant for companies in the new materials and industrial technology space including electric vehicles and other high performance electrification applications. His leadership positions include: Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Exawatt; President of PV Tech Group, and Chief Technology Officer for Equity Solar.

Greg has served on multiple Boards of Directors of both private and public companies. Greg served five years in the U.S. Navy as Chemistry / Radiological Controls Officer and holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University and a formal nuclear engineering education from the Naval Nuclear Power School.


Highlights

  • Managing different stakeholders requires different strategies. For example, you must communicate differently with your board of directors than with your investors.
  • There’s never an end to due diligence on the buy side.

Topics Covered

  • How did you get introduced to GT? [2:30]
  • What caused GT to go into bankruptcy? [3:50]
  • How did they come out of bankruptcy? [6:00]
  • What was the market cap of the company? [6:55]
  • How long did the bankruptcy proceedings take? [8:15]
  • What was your vision when you took over the company? [10:00]
  • How did you create the idea for the vision? [11:00]
  • Who controlled the board? [17:55]
  • What other stakeholders did you have to manage? [19:05]
  • How difficult was it to pivot the business after coming out of bankruptcy? [24:20]
  • How did you raise additional capital? [26:20]
  • How did you scale the company? [27:50]
  • What was the most difficult challenge in executing your vision? [31:40]
  • How did you align the board and the investors? [34:20]
  • What lesson did you learn in terms of how to communicate with the different stakeholders? [37:10]
  • What was the investors’ timeframe? [41:40]
  • Did you consider debt financing to scale the company? [44:00]
  • What went into your decision to sell the company? [44:30]
  • How long did the sale process take? [46:00]
  • What was your role in the process? [48:30]
  • How did you manage the negotiations? [52:00]
  • What was your criteria in looking for a buyer? [53:00]
  • How did you maintain confidentiality? [54:30]
  • How did you manage the due diligence process? [55:30]
  • Who was involved in the due diligence process? [58:35]
  • How involved were you in the negotiations? [59:10]
  • What are some of the potential problems in the purchase agreement? [1:02:15]
  • What does the Department of Justice consider when deciding whether to approve the transaction? [1:08:00]
  • What happened between the anti-trust approval and the closing? [1:10:20]
  • What was the closing process like? [1:11:40]
  • What was the closing like for you emotionally? [1:15:10]
  • How did you announce the deal to your employees? [1:16:50]
  • How involved were you in the transition process? [1:19:00]
  • How long did it take for you to phase out of all of your responsibilities? [1:19:30]
  • What’s next for you? [1:23:30]
  • What was your most important lesson learned? [1:26:00]
  • What’s your advice to other middle market business owners who are about to go through an exit? [1:27:00]

Learn More


Resources Mentioned

A Roadmap to the Successful Sale of Your Business (152 pages)

A Roadmap to the Successful Sale of Your Business (152 pages)

You could spend a lifetime figuring out how to successfully sell your business and still end up confused or clueless. What if you can stop the guesswork and start taking action now?

Read more