The sale of part of Dawson was not something President and CEO David DeCapua had planned. The company is composed of two different entities — a health care side and a commercial staffing side. The health care side has been a part of Dawson's core business for 18 years and has been sought after by much larger competitors for years, DeCapua says, but recent conditions made it increasingly attractive.
"You factor in the pandemic, a frothy market, explosive multiples, we were in a position to have conversations," DeCapua says. "And so we began that process."
Despite the favorable conditions, the company was not looking to sell. But when Aya Healthcare sent DeCapua an email from their CEO, he took notice.
"I've received multiple emails over the years and I just haven't been interested. We have a good thing going — good margins, an incredible team — and it just wasn't of interest. Having said that, like any entrepreneur, I always had a number and a multiple in my head and I put it right out there. I told the CEO, Unless we're talking these two multiples and these numbers, there's really nothing to talk about. He said, OK, let's do it. So, he called my bluff."
DeCapua presented the offer to the company president who a week later came back and said he believed they should execute the deal. And so the long process began.
With the health care side of the business being the better half of the company's overall revenue, DeCapua knew the transaction was going to be impactful. Part of the company, however, included 35 individuals, most of whom had been with the company a decade or more.
"So, we were extremely sensitive but we also recognized that the timing was really pretty good to do something. And I'm 53 and it really provided us an opportunity to become introspective and determine if I can pull some chips off and keep my core company intact and still run a 50-million staffing entity, it really made linear sense to go through the process."
The deal also had a personal aspect to it for DeCapua.
"I always tell people when they ask that question be careful what you wish for because many people will look at me today and say, You hit the home run, that's the greatest thing ever. Yeah, kind of because I do miss it. I'm not going to lie. It isn't solely about the money. We truly had a good thing going for years. Not to be braggadocious but we really had the Central Ohio market locked up and that's why people kept coming after us. When you build a team and you build the relationships over time, it became impenetrable. And so the clamor from opposition was non-stop."
But, he says, he and the company recognized the threats to the business in the market, which include the technology advancements.
"There are billion-dollar providers out there that have technology levels that quite frankly we knew weren't going to go away and were only going to improve," he says. "And that really is what pushed us to the point of we need to consummate this deal."
DeCapua spoke at the Columbus Smart Business Dealmakers Conference about the deal with Aya Healthcare and how he personally came to terms with selling. Hit play to catch the full conversation.