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REV’s Sullivan Advises on Acquisitions

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At BizTimes Media’s annual M&A Forum on Wednesday, keynote speaker Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of Milwaukee-based REV Group, discussed the human element of buying and selling a multi-million dollar company – an experience he knows all too well, boasting 21 acquisitions during his career, with four occurring in the past 12 months.

For companies making an acquisition, Sullivan recommends maintaining – rather than laying off – the employees of the acquired company. This applies especially to the company’s entrepreneur, who should sign a three-year minimum contract, he said.

Sullivan joined REV Group, a specialty vehicle manufacturer, in 2014 after previously serving as CEO of South Milwaukee-based Bucyrus International and then Gardner Denver, which he moved from Pennsylvania to Milwaukee.

Since assuming his role at REV, the company has grown from 14 to 22 manufacturing plants across the United States, and has made six acquisitions, including Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. in January. REV does not currently have a Wisconsin manufacturing plant, but Sullivan said that will eventually change.

Sullivan also discussed timing and preparedness as critical components of completing a merger or acquisition deal. A deal should close within 60 to 90 days of the agreement, but even before the agreement, he said, the deal should be framed and should reflect the broader goal.

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