UPDATE: Scott Hix is out at Planar, after reporting a second-quarter loss that the company attributes to its acquisition of Runco.
Planar has no regrets about last year's acquisition of Runco International for $37 million, says Scott Hix, VP and GM of the company's home theater business unit.
“It's been the right thing to do,” he explains. “Our strategy three years ago was to acquire a company like Runco, as opposed to growing it organically. It's been almost a perfect fit in terms of an acquisition.”
Hix says the most challenging aspect of the transition has been “trying to transform Runco by leveraging our back office, manufacturing, global support and service.”
“It's like changing a tire on a moving car,” Hix says. “That's our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity to deliver of the promise of the acquisition to Runco customers.”
Same Company, More Muscle
Hix says Runco will stay in tact as the company moves forward with its long-term plans, which include improving the brand's heritage with the additional resources from Planar.
“I'm not worried about our ability to keep the attributes that made Runco loved by the industry,” Hix emphasizes. “Sam [Runco] is still here, the people I bought in all have a history in this eco system, but now we have more capabilities than we did before.”
Hix says that industry members don't want Planar to change the way they “feel” about Runco. “We aren't that much bigger [than Runco]; we are just adding the muscle,” he says.
Throughout the transition, Planar will make installers aware of future initiatives the company may employ, Hix says: “Our No. 1 priority from the time we finished the acquisition was to over-communicate. First, we let them know what we were doing and how we were going to do it. Then, why it would benefit their business.
“We've worked hard at communicating with our dealers so there wouldn't be any shock or paranoia. I've been pleased that we've been close with our dealers and rep firms to know that we are communicating with our dealers.”
Hix says the performance of Runco and Planar dealers will determine whether or not the acquisition is a success. “Pretty much everything starts and stops with them, and we are not going to do anything without asking them first,” he explains. “We're not going to do anything that's not in their best interest.”