Minnesota related acquisition disasters

Minnesota related acquisition disasters (that we know of):


General Mills

Sell your acquisition (Leeann Chin restaurants) back to the founder after you lost a fortune because you did not know how to run it.  General Mills bought the restaurant business Leeann Chinn in 1985 and sold it back to her for a fraction of what they had paid a few years earlier.


(Privately held)

Treat the acquired company's employees so badly that they destroy 25 million dollars in inventory (the only real asset within the company) so that when it arrives in MN the only worth is in its scrap value.  No lawsuit could fix this disaster.  No names, protecting the guilty.

(Privately held)

Ignore your key man, the fellow who let you run your company profitably as an absentee owner for many years until you find a buyer at a high price and don't say anything about it to him.  Upon his accidental discovery of your pending sale, he accepts an offer from a competitor (that he has most likely ignored for many years out of loyalty to you).  This abrupt change in your knowledge based company (and he was the one with the knowledge) spooks your buyer and you never do sell your company.  It eventually closes its doors.  No names, protecting the guilty.


(Public company)

Buy a company so poorly suited to your operation that ten years later your shareholders are still feeling the pain so badly that the board refuses to consider acquisitions as a means to growth (even though your closest competitor has grown by one acquisition per year for ten years and are now ten times your size).


(Privately held)

Food manufacturing company acquires east coast food distribution company proving that their eyes were bigger than their stomach (felt compelled to use a food pun). Family loses control of the company.



And, while the following is a California-related acquisition disaster and not Minnesota, I had to include it because it is so spectacularly disastery (I may have just invented the word 'disastery')



Caterpillar wrote down 75% of transaction value after only 11 months ($580M). Almost 100% of the acquired company's receivables were overdue at the time of the Caterpillar offer & the backlog of inventory & materials had grown dramatically prior to closing. The entire debacle cost them almost $1B (that's billion with a B)


We know there are more examples and we'd love to hear the stories you know. Contact Mike Tikkanen at 952.542.9318 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and spin us a fine tale.