Sunday, August 30, 2015

World Shaking Deal

There’s no question that the deal between Oldcastle Building Envelope and CR Laurence rocked the glass and glazing industry to the core.  In one form or fashion anyone who is involved or associated with the industry has dealt with one or both of the entities involved.   So a teaming up surely will grab people’s attention.  On the morning of the announcement, I spent a ton of time being in contact with many in the industry as we all tried to compute what happened.  First of all, no one saw this coming.  I can tell you, I hear some of the most outlandish, crazy rumors all the time.  If you can dream the “so and so is selling to so and so” rumor I have heard it… and yet never in any form did this one come up.  That’s how far out it seemed to be.  The next reaction and to me is the most important.  I have been adamant and public with my appreciation and respect for the way CR Laurence promotes and supports the industry at large.  They are tremendous in that aspect, and my initial fear was that would go away.  However I was relieved when I saw comments from CRL President Lloyd Talbert noting that the CRL approach to the industry will continue.  That is good news.  Obviously from a “deal” standpoint many are expecting major maneuvers and restructuring, but if anything like that is to happen I believe it’s a long way off.  This deal was too big and too valuable to try and do anything but let it run the way it has.  I may be wrong there but that’s the way I see it out of the gate.  In any case GlassBuild America now just got even more interesting…. as the CRL booth was ALWAYS packed, and now I expect it to be even more of an action center with people from all walks of life coming in to catch up, congratulate, and get a feel for the climate.  Congrats to Don Friese and his family, along with Lloyd and the rest of the CRL team on an incredible, historic run and mind-blowing deal.


Last week had some moments of volatility thanks to the markets and some folks were questioning the health of our economy going forward.  Once again I am not one of them and I offer a few pieces of evidence.  One is the above deal and comments made surrounding it.  One of the quotes I saw from Oldcastle BE’s parent was that they felt this was a solid deal because the US construction economy is at the start of a positive cycle.  Year 2 of a 10 year riser.  That’s something to respect when deals of this magnitude take place.  They probably get their confidence from headlines and data like “Housing Demand Expected to Surge over Next 10 Years” and “Construction Spending Rising at Fastest Rate since 2004-05.”  Add to it the run of construction starts- which is epic right now and those starts do not typically effect our industry on the non-residential side for 16-28 months, and you have again more positivity to hang your hat on.  Obviously things can change and change quickly, but the foundation is there and it is solid.

So going to something lighter… major pet peeve of mine and I wonder if I am alone… when I go to a website and immediately a pop ad attacks your screen. These are the 10-second ads, that come mid-screen and you are stuck with them.  No clicking off and no relief until the whole thing goes.   And it’s a growing trend in the online ad world.  I know I am old and crotchety at this point, but man I can’t stand those things. 

By the way a quick note on GlassBuild America.  I am hearing amazing things about the keynote breakfast by Cam Marston.  His talk on “Attracting and Retaining a New Generation of Employees” should be something every single business owner, big and small, should want to be at.  Plus I checked out some old speeches of his on YouTube and the guy is dynamic and interesting.  Excited to see him and so should all of you.

Last this week… College Football gets going big time Thursday and beyond.  Ever since Roger Goodell started to systematically ruin the NFL, I have become a bigger fan of the college game.  And I think my nephew Josh and his alma mater Ohio State is primed for a repeat run to the title.  My darkhorse to win it all?  Arizona State.   Apologies in advance to both fan bases for my jinx on them….


I am not a beer drinker but I do love Pop-Tarts… so maybe a Pop-Tart flavored beer will work for me?

I love comparison-shopping pieces like this- and I now need to look into this “Jet” to see if it’s a viable competitor to Amazon.

If we can convert all of what we waste into something good- the world would be a better place.  This article talks about reuse of wasted heat. 


GREAT middle school football play… QB looked like a classic Randall Cunningham from way back in the day.

1 comment:

Jeff Kirby said...

Max as always you bring to the forefront what most would rather discuss, contemplate, or complain about in private. I for one am more concerned than enthusiastic about this merger. Although, I agree that in the short term the industry as a whole will see it as anything more than business as usual, but in the long term I see it as a potential problem from the contract glazing standpoint.
It wasn't all that long ago that Sun Capital and Grey Mountain were competing for companies that were direct competitors and in the end Sun won out buying both Arch and Vitro America. When that happened we in a sense lost an aluminum supplier in our already small and close nit industry. I know there are those who will say when CRL bought Somaca and/or Blumcraft they were monopolizing the industry but I disagree for the simple fact most if not all of the other companies customer base were also already a customer of CRL. The same is not true for Oldcastle.
I have to wonder as a contract glazier if or when does US Aluminum get dissected and incorporated into the Vistawall line or just sold off completely and the same for the heavy entrances/handrails that CRL has mastered over the years. Will they become a part of the Oldcastle offering line and no longer available to those of us who have been loyal to CRL or even worse do the Oldcastle customers take priority thus extending lead times to the point that we can no longer compete for that reason alone.
Don't get me wrong I applaud both the Friese family and Oldcastle for this merger. From a business standpoint they have both benefited greatly from this and have now set themselves apart from the rest of the wholesale/manufacturing part or our industry. It is definitely one that will be discussed for along time to come. It will be the talk of Glassbuild for sure and I would truly love to attend if for no other reason to see how many are excited vs. sharing the same concerns as I do. Either way it will be a great time for those who attend.