Kohler Company

775 Words Mar 7th, 2014 4 Pages
Kohler Co.
Summary:
Kohler is one of the largest and oldest privately held companies in America. It started by manufacturing plumbing fixtures, famously inventing the first modern bathtub, and soon after began manufacturing small engines and generators. Today the company is also in the furniture and luxury resort business. Most of the company’s shares are held by members of the Kohler family, however 4% of the outstanding stock is owned by outsiders. Herbert Kohler Jr., the CEO and Chairman of Kohler, would like to do what he can to keep Kohler stock within the Kohler family and its interests. This led to the 1998 recapitalization. In this restructuring of equity, family members and permitted transferees (Kohler Trusts, Kohler
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Analysis: Much of the share price was driven by the speculation that Kohler might soon go public. Herbert thought this was the primary reason the shares were extremely overvalued. However, the assumption of a future IPO was inaccurate. One of the core values and strengths of Kohler is the private classification of equity. Kohler considers it a competitive advantage to not have to disclose its financial position to the public. Not only does it give away proprietary information to competitors, but public reporting also affects the way a company can make decisions. Kohler feels that many of the business decisions that made Kohler a success, such as investing in cast iron production at a time when the industry was moving away from it, would not have been possible if they were accountable to pubic shareholders. Without the possibility of an IPO a lower share price than what share prices recently traded for was could be justified. However, Herbert must also consider the effects of having the valuation be determined in court. The first drawback to this is how costly legal proceedings are. On top of lawyer fees and court costs, it could be very expensive to reconcile and audit all financial documents as well as pay for expert opinions concerning the valuation. Since there is no standard or correct metric to value a company, there is increased risk as to how the court will
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