Challenge: In early 2013, CVSL — a publicly traded company now known as JRJR Networks — acquired a controlling interest in the Longaberger Company. As part of that controlling interest, CSVL assumed ownership of the Longaberger Golf Club. Part of the CVSL strategy involving the Longaberger Company was to dispose of the company's non-core assets. CVSL had never sold a golf course before nor had their attorney gone through the golf course sales process.
When evaluating an asset, identifying the right buyer type is critical. The type of buyer and the number of buyers in that classification will drive pricing. In the case of a nationally-ranked golf course with positive cash flow, private sector (non-golf industry) buyers play a significant role, and they are typically willing to take a lower going-in return on investment (ROI) than golf industry owners and operators.
In identifying the "trophy buyer," it's important to determine if the asset is iconic on a national or state level or merely sentimental to a localized community. Longaberger Golf Club has been ranked the top daily-fee course in Ohio for 13 straight years and the 55th-ranked daily-fee course out of 13,000 in the country. Our research showed that while Longaberger's iconic appeal crossed borders into Indiana and West Virginia, the trophy value was specific to the local market and did not resonate nationally.
Previous marketing efforts by the Longaberger Company and another brokerage firm had positioned the sales price at national/international trophy value with a going-in ROI that did not generate offers. We were challenged with setting an asking price that pushed the boundaries for our buyer type while targeting a disposition price that was achievable given the amount of deferred maintenance and the going-in ROI.
Strategy: We gained a thorough understanding of the deferred maintenance issues through the review of management company capital plans and multiple property tours. Our team made some suggestions to the owner regarding small but important items that should be repaired prior to our marketing efforts. Ownership made those repairs.
While marketing channels included golf industry owners and operators, the primary focus was on reaching the state of Ohio's general population. Colliers' public relations firm drafted a press release for the sale and received seller approval for distribution.
The golf course parcel constituted 600 acres, and the seller owned several adjoining parcels. The sale was structured so that a buyer could purchase the golf course and entire 647 acres, the golf course with 80 non-essential acres carved out for added value to a seller-owned adjoining parcel or the golf course and any or all of the adjoining parcels.
Result: The release we distributed to the press regarding the owner's choice to sell the property was picked up by every major media source in the state. We had numerous offers from golf industry professionals, and we generated multiple offers in our acceptable range from private parties with motivation that went beyond ROI.
Our team supplied a purchase and sale agreement (PSA) template to the seller's counsel that worked seamlessly with our letter of intent (LOI) template that was used for submitting offers. We chose a buyer that we determined to be the most committed to the deal, and we closed escrow six weeks after full execution of the PSA and five months after the initiation of the marketing campaign. It should be noted that because of the work in the pre-marketing and pre-offer stages, there were only very minor, incidental discoveries in the due diligence period, and they never threatened the integrity of the sale.
“We were very happy with Colliers' brokerage efforts. They did a great job preparing the offering materials, marketing the course to a wide variety of buyers, and succesfully managing the closing process."
“If it had been any other broker representing the seller, I probably would not have done this deal." (in reference to Colliers broker, Keith Cubba)”
President of Four Virtues LLC
Buyer, Longaberger Golf Club