With Orrin Huebner on board, CSG takes consultive M&A approach

Feb. 28, 2022

For years, John Salterio and his team at Consolidated Services Group (CSG) has provided Merger and Acquisition (M&A) services to operators as a secondary offering through Salterio-owned, Trinity Transaction Services (TTS). CSG is the largest Food Service coffee trader in the US, serving hundreds of operators and representing dozens of products. Whenever clients asked for M&A support, CSG was there to help broker a deal. With the expanded partnership to include Orrin Huebner, CSG/TTS is changing their approach in 2022, as CSG/TTS is focused on becoming a major player in the convenience services M&A and consulting landscape.

An experienced team

The executive team at CSG brings a wealth of experience to the table:

      • John Salterio – CEO with 42 years in business as an OCS operator and broker.
      • Donna Henderson – COO with 25 years’ experience (CPA/MS/realtor).
      • Gary Pretzer – Director of Mergers and Acquisitions with 52 years as a vending/OCS owner and broker.
      • Orrin Huebner – Director of Consulting with 48 years in OCS, 39 years as an independent and nine years with Canteen.

      New approach

      “We have changed our approach to M&A moving forward,” said Pretzer. “We have done an excellent job as a convenience services intermediary in the past, helping to facilitate deals that worked out well for both the buyer and the seller. As a result, we have built a stellar reputation and operators are now asking us to be more active as an M&A broker. Additionally, we have added Orrin Huebner to the team, a business development specialist and industry veteran. He is here to help grow the M&A and consulting side of CSG and we are very excited to have him on board.”

      Like Salterio and Pretzer, Huebner has an impressive pedigree as an operator and has been on both sides of the M&A table – as a buyer and a seller. “To round it all out, I ran and built the Canteen operation in Chicago for the past nine years, which provided me with a valuable perspective as an operator,” Huebner noted.

      A consultive approach to M&A

      Huebner said that the team’s approach is highly consultive, often starting well before an operator decides that it is time to explore an exit strategy. “We are filling a void that exists right now in the convenience services industry, going well beyond the role of a business broker. We are taking a long-term approach, a patient approach, that starts with helping an operator strengthen their business.”

      Considering the impact of the sale

      “The second stage is to work with the operator to honestly consider how the sale of their business will impact their life. What are their objectives for the sale? Is it realistic? Will the operator be able to retire? Do they want to retire? What do they need from a financial standpoint to move on to their next chapter? Do they need to work for the buyer? Is there any real estate involved in the deal? These are the questions that need to be answered,” Huebner said.

      In addition to considering the “after sale” life of the operator, the team wants to know how the operator feels about how a buyer might change the corporate culture at a company. “We want to know if there are certain employees that need an employment guarantee,” added Pretzer. “Also - will the seller be upset if their brand is eliminated?”

      Valuation process, deep dive

      “Once we understand the operator’s mindset, we do a valuation of the company, which involves numerous factors,” noted Huebner, whose team takes a hands-on approach to evaluate a company, including “how profitable they are, what their product mix is and of course, we need to look at EBITDA,” he said.

      “Of course, determining the value of a company goes beyond financials,” said Pretzer. “We take a deep dive below the surface of a company to see how well the operation is being run. That is important, because a well-run operation is more valuable for one simple reason – it will incorporate more easily into the buyer’s operation.”

      Marketing the company, quietly

      Following the valuation, CSG/TTS moves into the marketing process. Pretzer feels that CSG/TTS has a competitive advantage. “Being a product broker, we have contact with so many operators nationwide. We also have the country covered geographically with me on the west coast, Orrin in the Midwest and John on the east coast. We know who the buyers are and how to reach them.”

      Pretzer said that CSG/TTS takes great pride in their careful process of marketing a company for sale. “We do it very quietly, and we use nondisclosure agreements. We only approach potential buyers who we know will be a good fit. We give them a general idea of the size of the seller’s company. If they show interest and we continue to move forward, they must sign a NDA at which time the potential seller will be disclosed. Up to that time, generally speaking, the buyer is not specifically aware of who the seller is,” he said.

      Representing buyers and sellers

      CSG/TTS represents both buyers and sellers, often assisting both parties during negotiations. “This only works if the broker has an excellent reputation for fairness,” he said. “To get a deal done, a lot of times you have to work on both sides of the table a little bit.”

      Huebner points to his own experience with CSG/TTS, working with Salterio and Pretzer, in the process of selling a Chicago based company, Embassy Coffee, to Canteen. “It was a year-and-a-half of conversation before we finalized the deal. John and Gary were instrumental. If I had a problem, or we had a question, Gary would immediately address the issue,” he said.

      Seeking a perfect fit for buyers

      Huebner wants the industry to know that CSG/TTS is investing significant resources to become a trusted business intermediary for buyers and sellers in the convenience services space. “If you are a buyer – we know who the sellers are and we have the knowledge to help you acquire companies that are a perfect fit.”

      Making sellers happy – after the sale

      “If you are a seller – we can help you build your business, identify your objectives, safely market your company and make sure that you sell your company for the highest possible price,” said Huebner. “Of course, it's more than just getting the most we can for the seller, in our opinion. It's also, what does the transition look like and how happy are you afterwards?”

      To learn more about the consulting and  business brokerage services offered by CSG/TTS, contact Orrin Huebner at orrin@csgnam.com or (847) 748-4770.

      About the Author

      Industry consultant and VendingMarketWatch.com contributor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.” Tullio is currently developing an online course, Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business. Visit tullioB2B.com to learn more about VMW's contributing editor and his b2b services.


      OCS and vending industry pros, from left, are John Salterio, Orrin Huebner and Gary Pretzer.

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