Large Corporate Spin-Offs Can Be An Excellent Way to Enhance Shareholder Value, According to Chief Financial Officer Todd Katz

todd katzWord that General Electric (GE) could spin off some of its holdings into standalone entities is an interesting development to those following mergers and acquisitions, as the move is a sign of changing times. According to a November 2017 article from Forbes magazine, the “global industrial conglomerate” that’s worth $175 billion could possibly spin off its transportation and healthcare businesses into separate publicly traded companies. However, Forbes also cites media reports that say the company may instead sell off a portion of its transportation operations – which were just four percent of GE’s 2016 industrial revenue. To Todd Katz, Quest Integrity’s former chief financial officer (CFO), these moves are examples of how large conglomerates seek to create value when the sum of the parts is potentially greater than their value as a whole.

According to the article, GE could continue to build diesel-electric hybrid locomotives after the spin-off. It’s oversight role could also include advising the business, data analytical and repair, per the article, which adds that the “wide array” of GE-made products include aircraft engines, medical imagine tools as well as the more familiar household appliances sector. Another reason to possibly expect these spin-offs to take place is the recent shuffling of personnel. According to the article, GE appointed a new CEO in June 2017 and he revealed plans to “reduce expenses by $2 billion by 2018” while responding to investor concerns over profitability.

As Todd Katz, formerly of Quest Integrity, will tell you, spin-offs can be an excellent way to unlock shareholder value.  As a former Director in healthcare mergers and acquisitions for Merrill Lynch, Katz worked to help corporate clients create value using a variety of strategic M&A structures. As a frequent leader of teams of investment bankers and attorneys, he oversaw many mergers and spin-offs.  Earlier in Katz’s career, he also had an opportunity to work on the crisis management team that managed bankrupt cable company Adelphia Communications after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in what was at the time one of the largest bankruptcies ever – valued at $18 billion.

Later during his three years with Merrill Lynch, Katz earned the title of Director and later joined Quest Integrity, an international pipeline inspection company as its CFO.  At Quest Integrity, Katz was instrumental in transforming the company into a profitable and fast-growing niche energy services company.  By the time of his departure in 2016, Quest Integrity has revenue of $75 million compared to the mere $14 million in 2008 when he first came aboard.  Katz’s former experience as an M&A advisor — along with the efforts of the entire team at Quest – enabled Quest to sell itself for $45 million to a public company.  In the process, Quest grew from roughly 50 employees to almost 300.  Not bad for what was formerly a small mom & pop pipeline inspection company.

Talk Of CVS, Aetna Merger Simply A Sign Of Staying Competitive, Former CFO Todd Katz Says

Todd Katz Quest IntegrityHow much does it cost to go toe-to-toe with Amazon in a ring that the online giant hasn’t even stepped into yet? If news of a possible merger between CVS and Aetna is any indicator, then it’s north of $240 billion dollars in combined annual revenue. According to an Oct. 27, 2017 report from Marketplace and American Public Media, the drug store chain and insurance company are in talks to join forces and weather any possible storm that Amazon could stir if it were to enter the prescription drug market. The latter is certainly a possibility, as the report notes that Amazon in recent years had a stake in an ill-fated company called drugstore.com. According to Todd Katz, Quest Integrity’s former chief financial officer, such a merger is a wise preventative measure when remaining competitive is essential to survival in the modern marketplace.

Per the Marketplace article, CVS is considering a $66 billion deal to purchase Aetna. The insurance company, which is valued at $63 billion, would theoretically provide millions of customers to CVS if the deal goes through. However, the article notes that the possible merger would need to get the approval of federal regulators, and similar medical mergers have been shot down in recent years. What does this all have to do with Amazon? A good question, says Todd Katz, formerly of Quest Integrity. The online retail and shipping company recently picked up Whole Foods in its search for continued growth, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t become a major player in the medical market, as well.  Katz, who advised numerous companies on mergers and acquisitions in previous roles at major Wall Street firms, says that a move between two entities as large as CVS and Aetna shows how much of a threat Amazon poses.

According to the article, Amazon’s entry into pharmaceuticals has been a topic of discussion despite there being no hard proof that it’s going to happen. “So now that Amazon is as big as it is and has as much influence as it [has], it has the resources to potentially build out a pharmaceutical business,” Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst, told Marketplace.

While with Quest Integrity, Todd Katz oversaw a period of record growth for the pipeline inspection company. For example, the company’s revenue in 2016 was $75 million and its worldwide employee count totaled 285 at the time of his exit. With such gains on his side, Katz knows what it takes for a company to buckle down and start turning major profits. In the case of CVS and Aetna, it could be a multi-billion dollar merger and Katz says that these are the types of maneuvers that companies must make to remain competitive.

Study’s Sobering Outlook On Worker Morale Can Be Improved, Todd Katz Says

If you consider your job “just a job,” then you’re in good company – it’s just a shame you don’t feel that way about the actual company you work for. According to a September 2017 Business Management Daily article, more than half of American workers view their employment as the one and only way to make financial ends meet. That’s according to a recent Career Builder survey that found 74 percent of respondents see their employment not as a career, but a way to pay the bills. The survey reached out to 3,462 full-time employees in the U.S. to gauge their opinions on work. After the need to keep the lights on at home, 41 percent of those contact said they work their current job because of a good commute. The third most popular reason for staying at the job they currently have is because of the need for health insurance. Overall, the Business Management Daily article states that three in 10 workers surveyed said they “merely tolerate or outright hate their jobs.”

All told, Todd Katz of Quest Integrity says that this survey paints a sobering portrait of the American workforce.  As a hands-on chief financial officer of a global pipeline inspection company, Todd Katz’s time with Quest Integrity was both rewarding and educational. During his time at the company, Todd led the firm through record employee growth and to revenue totaling $75 million by the time he departed in 2016. While Todd Katz was certainly hands-on at Quest Integrity, he also worked closely with fellow employees in this role and while with former employers. Entrusted with providing leadership across all financial functions at the company,  he helped ensure the financial health of the company and how to balance such health with the needs of employees for a meaningful and rewarding work experience.

That’s why he feels so strongly about the Business Management Daily article; it takes time to foster relationships with employees, but the payoff is usually a profitable company and proud workforce. Before his eight years with Quest  Integrity, Todd Katz was a Director of healthcare mergers and acquisitions for Merrill Lynch in San Francisco. While there, he also led and managed teams of bankers, attorneys and clients to execute various strategic M&A transactions and to enhance the firm’s business origination efforts. It’s this level of focus and respect for fellow workers that helped the firm work more collaboratively and productively as a team and ultimately earn more business.

We can’t control the job market and sometimes, any job offer will fit the bill. However, Todd Katz of Quest Integrity says that those in a position to improve morale, workload and tasks should work hard to do so. After all, do you want employees simply showing up to punch a timecard or truly contributing to the culture you’ve worked so hard develop?

Success Is A ‘Slow Burn,’ Business Head Todd Katz Says Of Mixed August 2017 Jobs Report

We can now close the books on August 2017 and with that comes the jobs report and the 156,000 new jobs that were added. Economists are predicting a good showing given the strong summer months and general upswing that the U.S. economy has been experiencing as of late. According to The Wall Street Journal, there are a number of other positive factors to consider, especially low unemployment. According to Todd Katz, who oversaw the growth of a modest pipeline inspection company into an international powerhouse in just eight years, the jobs report is a much-needed shot in the arm for American workers who’ve for too long watched roles be eliminated and wages stagnate.  The Associated Press adds that unemployment inched up to 4.4 percent, but that’s no big concern for businesses as the U.S. enters its “ninth year of recovery from the Great Recession.”

 

When Todd Katz left the inspection company, it boasted 285 employees – up from just 55 in 2008 before he took over as its chief financial officer. What’s more, many other roles Todd Katz has held during his financial career have included direct oversight of financial specialists underneath him. That includes training, mentoring, recruiting and management of teams of investment bankers at a national investment banking firm, as well as being a crisis management team leader at a New York City advisory firm. Going off these two employment examples alone, it’s clear that Todd Katz knows what it takes to keep workers happy.

 

Wages will play a major role in the August jobs report, according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s  because wage growth has been “stuck at a modest rate” despite “low unemployment and steady job creation,” according to the newspaper. While the financial experts at the newspaper believe “slack” in the labor market could be to blame, the possibility of younger workers replacing baby boomers could also be at play. That’s because those in their mid to late 20s and 30s most often start off at wages far lower than those about to retire. High wages may make people  happy, says Todd Katz, but it also affects their spending propensity and the health of the economy in turn. According to the Associated Press, hourly pay was up 2.5 percent compared to this time last month. That’s in contrast to an average of between 3.5 and 4 percent “when the unemployment rate is this low,” the AP added in a Sept. 1, 2017 report.

 

According to Todd Katz, these gains may be modest but they are still gains at the end of the day. Given that he held his position with the global pipeline inspection company for eight years before achieving $75 million in revenue in 2016, it’s clear that success can sometimes be a slow burn.

Take ‘Stock’ Of Online Service’s Recent Subscription Successes, Financial Expert Says

As if you needed Wall Street to confirm what many of us already knew, Netflix is on a roll. Media reports show that the live-streaming entertainment service that offers films, television shows and other programs has seen subscription rates swell far higher than what was previously expected. Specifically, CNBC reported in July 2017 that Netflix added 5.2 million members during the second quarter; predictions on Wall Street pegged Netflix to add about 3.2 million subscribers internationally. Naturally, the price of Netflix stock is soaring given the good news. According to Todd Katz, formerly of Quest Integrity, keen investors should be keeping a close eye on the entertainment service if they’d like to profit , as well. As a former chief financial officer of Quest Integrity, Todd Katz oversaw the change-of-hands at the pipeline inspection company that turned it over to a publicly-traded company. One year after that deal went through, the company recorded revenue of $75 million in 2016.

According to the CNBC report, clients of Netflix were briefed on the good news in a memo that went on to say, “The company’s global scale and ability to mass-personalize content and marketing is fueling subscriber growth that few competitors are positioned to match.” According to the report, the note from KeyBanc Capital adds, “This should fuel revenue and subscriber growth at least in line with expectations while expanding barriers to entry.” As a former chief financial officer with Quest Integrity, Todd Katz has seen the significance of the stock market. The sale of his former employer to a publicly-traded company wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for eight years of growth, including a large increase of employees and income.

Todd Katz saw similar successes as a director of mergers and acquisitions at wealth management firms across the country, including his role in helping to earn some $34 million in revenue. It’s crucial for companies on an upward trajectory to keep on that path and it appears Netflix is well aware of this. While 91 Emmy nominations for original in-house content is a pretty good start, the CNBC article notes that programs like “Orange is the New Black” are one of the ways that Netflix is showing subscribers and investors that it takes content creation seriously. Morgan Stanley, a financial services firm, boosted its price for Netflix shares from $185 to $210, according to the CNBC report. According to Todd Katz of Quest Integrity, this is one of the strongest signs of economic health.

Verizon’s $4.5 Billion Bid For Yahoo A Bold Move, Financial Professional Says

Todd Katz

While not quite rising to the level of “monopoly,” Verizon’s June 2017 acquisition of Yahoo for $4.5 billion is a big deal. According to the Associated Press, the move ends Yahoo’s 21-year stint as a publicly-traded company , sees the ouster of CEO Marissa Mayer with a considerable severance package and could cost approximately 2,00 workers their jobs. What’s more, the email, sports and news departments of Yahoo will now fall under the direction of Tim Armstrong. Armstrong, a top AOL official, will head a department consisting of both AOL and Yahoo services, according to the report. Per the Associated Press, the move on Verizon’s behalf is intended to compete with the digital advertising sector that Google and Facebook are reaping the rewards of.

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions such as this, Todd Katz of Quest Integrity can comment with confidence. That’s because he spent nearly three years with a national banking company as its director of healthcare mergers and acquisitions group. Specifically, Katz managed teams of bankers, attorneys and clients who executed a wide variety of acquisitions, mergers, divestitures and spin-offs. As team leader and contributor to all aspects of business origination, Katz helped earn the national banking institution some $34 million in revenue.

According to the Associated Press, Yahoo’s advertising revenue had been on the decline for years. With Verizon now at the helm of the operation, it’s up to fresh faces to see the trend reversed. This is what’s at the heart of mergers and acquisitions, says Katz. Whether it’s a private company selling itself off to a publicly-traded one or –as it is in this case — vice versa, bold business moves is what it takes to profit in a global economy. Todd Katz, whose decades of professional financial sector experience, says that this recent move by Verizon should give Google and other major Internet service providers a run for their money.

Employers Looking To Hire Should Search For These Skill Sets, Attitudes Among Applicants

Todd Katz

The roughly 98,000 jobs added across the U.S. in March 2017 represents the smallest gain in approximately one year, according to recently-released federal statistics. Reacting to the “Employment Situation Summary” data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some economists believe that winter weather and recent higher hiring numbers allow for the slump seen in March. An S&P Global Ratings chief economist told The Washington Post that while March’s numbers were a disappointment, a rebound to recent gains is likely not too far off. To Todd Katz, who has spent decades as an authority in the financial sector, the ebb and flow of hiring is just part of the process. However, he also has some suggestions for both companies looking to add to their ranks in the coming months and job-seekers in the hunt for the perfect gig.

Per the April 2017 Washington Post article, March unemployment was down compared to February’s total – 4.5 percent to 4.7 percent, respectively. The report adds that roughly 56,000 of the total 98,000 jobs added came from the professional and business services sectors. The reason why winter weather affected employment totals is because retail and construction jobs, for example, are heavily tied to foot traffic and the ability to work.

So what should employers look for in the coming months as the U.S. economy continues its rebound from the Great Recession? According to Todd Katz, it’s easy to figure out who’s going to thrive in any environment if you’re looking for a few key traits.

The first consideration for employers should be enthusiasm. If your candidate is enthusiastic, that’s a sure-fire sign that this person will hit the ground running if hired. Given the massive shedding of jobs that has taken place in the U.S. over the past 10 years, a candidate who admits that they might be overqualified should show you that they want to perform the work you’ll be offering them – and not just working for a paycheck. Finally, consider how you’re coming across. This can be tricky for those who perform candidate interviews often, but how can you expect someone to be interested in working for you if you can’t get excited for your own employer?