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EOM Stories

Doble Engineering Company Acquired By ESCO Technologies Inc.

Overview

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Doble Engineering Company is the world’s leader in providing high-end, diagnostic test solutions for the power generation industry. With 85+ years of history and a unique library of 25 million apparatus test results, Doble is the industry leader in collecting and analyzing proprietary data to improve electric utility operations.

Bigelow Assignment

Obtain the best new majority shareholder for the Company, and in doing so, provide a liquidity event for the current shareholders and their beneficiaries.

Challenges

The equity ownership of Doble was held largely in several Trusts for the benefit of two notable, post-secondary educational institutions. Working with multiple interested constituencies is a Bigelow unique ability. Establishing and then successfully meeting expectations from multiple stakeholders was crucial to a successful outcome. Finding the right fit, as well as maximizing value for the beneficiaries was paramount.

Ironically, the Company’s superb track-record of market share leadership and financial performance concerned some investor candidates as to their ability to improve the company on their watch.

“I admit that I had a great deal of professional skepticism about how Bigelow might help us find the best-fit new investor. Now with the benefit of hindsight, I see how Bigelow helped us portray an aggressive, but in my view, achievable growth plan that excited our new owners and optimized the outcome for our exiting shareholders.” Bob Smith, CEO Doble Engineering Company
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Outcome

Most investment bankers are trained to, and would naturally, view Doble merely as an instrument manufacturer serving electrical utilities. Bigelow unlocked substantial value by re-positioning Doble as the “sole technical knowledge reservoir of apparatus test results for power generation applications globally.” Recreating Doble’s database of over 25 million test results (spanning decades) is virtually impossible. Several of the best investors recognized this as Doble’s competitive advantage and were willing to reflect its value in their offers.

Throughout the process Bigelow initiated regularly scheduled updates with Doble’s very active Board of Directors (and their shareholder constituencies), providing real-time transparency, and calibrating expectations to the quantitative and qualitative outcomes. This proactively sought input from all stakeholders and smoothly moved the process forward to a rapid closing.