March 2017
A Message from Ted Gavin
Coming back from an enjoyable few days in Palm Beach, Florida where we attended The M&A Advisor 2017 Distressed Investing Summit for the first time, I am reminded how valuable it is to be connected to others in our professional community. 

This month's articles explore issues of interconnection - both online and globally. Like all things, these diverse experiences carry risks, but the rewards - for ourselves and our clients - can be tremendous.  I'm sure when we started to put these topics together, it never occurred to think of global valuation the same way as you think of how to cultivate and curate your internet presence - yet there are a lot of similarities! 

Venturing out beyond our borders - geographic, physical, or data-defined - can be new and complex. It can also give you the experience of a lifetime. Get out there.

Court customs and attitudes in the U.S. and abroad
by Pamela O'Neill, Managing Director, Valuation & Litigation Consulting
I've conducted upwards of a thousand valuation assignments during more than twenty-five years in my career, so you'd think I'd have seen it all. But every once in a while something surprises me. Every case is unique, of course, which is what makes things interesting.

For example, I've observed distinct cultural differences based on where a case is being heard: subtle differences between California and New York, say, or more pronounced differences between the U.S. and New Zealand or the U.K.. Starker still are the differences I've seen as an expert in Asia and South America.
  • In New Zealand, I was hired to determine the fair value of a credit card processing system so that an additional bank could buy in. What a pleasant surprise it was to see these bankers explicitly put "the common good" ahead of their own profits while seeking a workable outcome for the larger group of competing banks.
  • It's no surprise that courts in the British Virgin Islands follow British judicial traditions (calling the judge "my lord" and bowing to "God Save the Queen"), but I was impressed by how genuinely respectful everyone was to each other. What a contrast to a New York City arbitration hearing: every ruling was going in our favor, which was great; but opposing council was so miffed, he filed a subpoena accusing me of having an improper relationship with the arbitrator! It was outrageous, but you get used to sharp elbows in New York.
  • Cultural differences took center stage when I presented to a Board of Directors in Brazil. It was the eve of an election, and I was hired to determine the fair value of a bank that was jointly owned by a Brazilian investment group and a French money center. Projecting inflation and handicapping an election are big challenges in themselves; throw in joint owners with diametrically opposed interests and you've got some serious complications. Coming to agreement required creative thinking.
I so appreciate being able to work internationally - it's one of the greatest perks of my job. I find the insight I gain benefits every client, no matter where a case is being heard.

Pam O'Neill leads the Valuation & Litigation Consulting practice at Gavin/Solmonese. She has been retained in cases involving valuation, damages, lost profits, disgorgement of profits, and other economic calculations. Pam has worked in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Keeping control on the internet - can it be done?
by Joe Solmonese
Most of us have become accustomed to living our lives online. Whether tweeting about a great meal or posting photos of cute puppies on Facebook, we put it all out there for the world to see. We don't expect our mundane thoughts and life events to draw a lot of attention.

Yet, every day, somebody shares a piece of seemingly innocent information that gets taken wildly out of context. Given the speed with which news travels over the internet, thousands of people could be judging you within minutes. It doesn't take much kindling to ignite a firestorm of outrage these days.

The more we share online, even within a small circle, the more scrutiny we invite into our lives. If you own a business, this can have a serious impact. The smaller your business, the more vulnerable you are. You would be wise to consider what you put online very carefully. If you have even the slightest concern, it is better not to say anything at all.

Unfortunately, you can still become a target even if you don't post your every move. Look what happened to Casey Patten, who owns Taylor Gourmet, a popular lunch chain in Washington, DC. Invited to the White House to talk about small business concerns, Patten saw an opportunity to speak to President Trump directly on behalf of his more than 300 employees whose lives could be impacted by Trump's immigration policies. 

Unfortunately for Patten, a  photo of him with Trump was posted online, where people were free to supply their own context. Many believed Patten was making common cause with an extremely divisive figure, and he was targeted with fury in tweets and comments. Though some observers gave Patten the benefit of the doubt, his good intentions were mostly lost in the torrent of negativity.

How can you protect yourself? Cultivate awareness about how your words and actions could potentially impact your business. Could they be construed unfavorably if they were made public? Try to break out of your bubble when you think about this. If you own a business or have any kind of constituency, consider the ways in which your partners, employees, clients and/or customers could be affected by their association with you.

Bottom line? Forewarned is forearmed. We cannot control the way others react, but we can prepare for the worst and err on the side of caution.

Joe Solmonese leads the Gavin/Solmonese Corporate Engagement practice, helping organizations break down problems and find actionable solutions. Prior to forming Gavin/Solmonese, he was president of the Human Rights Campaign and CEO of EMILY's List.

G/S team wins two M&A Advisor 11th Annual Turnaround Awards

Restructuring 2017 Deal of the Year and Energy Deal of the Year (over $500MM to $1B) went to Chapter 11 Restructuring of O.W. Bunker Debtors case team, including Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP, Allen & Overy LLPAlvarez & MarsalHalloran & Sage LLPHunton & WilliamsNorton Rose Fulbright US LLPRobinson & Cole LLP, and Gavin/Solmonese LLC, who served as Financial Advisor to the Creditors' Committee. 
Our Gallery
VALCON 2017, Las Vegas, NV 
Dig & Destroy event sponsored by JND Corporate Restructuring. 
Hard working restructuring professionals playing in the giant "Las Vegas sandbox".

February Wine & Dessert Reception at our Wilmington, DE office
David Benick, Anne Eberhardt, and Pam O'Neill

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