The Company was formed in a the highly leveraged combination of three Chicago area printing, production and marketing / creative businesses.
The Company provided a one-stop shop for its blue-chip customer base by integrating a full array of print services with advanced technology, creative services and unmatched customer service in one state-of-the-art location.
The Company’s leveraged balance sheet was unable to sustain a drop in revenue caused by the loss of a major customer which quickly led to significant operating losses and a severe liquidity crisis. Ownership injected capital but it was not enough to provide the liquidity needed to allow the Company to operate efficiently.
The Company stretched vendor payments creating an uncertain supply of critical materials and services and operating inefficiencies. The combination of operating losses and insufficient liquidity caused loan covenant violations resulting in even tighter liquidity as the lender sought to exit the credit. Fort Dearborn worked with ownership to reduce operating expenses by over $3,000,000 and served as Chief Restructuring Officer while the Company refinanced its line of credit facility with a new lender.
Despite the refinancing, the Company continued to be undercapitalized. The Company was unable to stem its negative cash flow on its own, so the line of credit lender required a CRO be retained. FDP was again hired, as CRO, and again cut costs, but realized that without additional capital, the liquidity crisis was insurmountable. FDP embarked on the simultaneous pursuit of additional capital and potential strategic buyers.
Under FDP’s guidance, numerous challenges to completing a transaction were quickly overcome:
Multiple lenders were involved:
–One lender provided the Line of Credit
–Another lender provided equipment term loans, including SBA guarantees, and provided a mortgage on the real estate which was owned by Fuse’s owners in a separate legal entity. This lender also had a second position on the working capital assets.
–Both term loans were under collateralized based on current values
Three underfunded union pensions had to be resolved prior to closing
Maintaining operations through closing of a transaction while all key vendors had the Company on COD or CIA terms
Operating under a daily borrowing base to determine availability for daily disbursements, payroll, product vendors, rent, utilities, etc.
A capable and willing buyer was found and within 3 weeks a creative transaction was devised whereby the accounts receivable were retained by the seller and the inventory was sold at cost to the buyer on a as used basis.
The proceeds from the accounts receivable and inventory paid off the senior working capital lender within 45 days and the remaining proceeds were applied first against the equipment loan.
The equipment was leased to the buyer directly by the owners temporarily and eventually the equipment was acquired by the Buyer resulting in a full payment to the equipment lender. The Buyer also entered into a longer term lease on the real estate.