By Ilya Strebulaev, Hornblower Jocelyn
2012 | Case No. E449
This case tells the story of OPENLANE and CEO Peter Kelly’s history with the company, from its founding in 1999 to its potential sale in 2011. The case describes the early stages of the company, the impacts of various economic downturns on the business, and the process which Kelly and the Board of Directors went through as they explored potential exit opportunities. The role of investment bankers is included as well as determining an appropriate valuation of the company, considering both financial and non-financial issues. The perspective of the venture capital investors is included, as are the differing views of the board members.

Learning Objective

The primary teaching goal of this case is for students to understand the decision making process around a potential company sale and the various exercises and determinants that must be considered, including the perspective of the investors, the management, the board of directors, and the company’s employees. Students must perform a financial exercise to calculate the company’s valuation, and ultimately put themselves in the CEO’s shoes to decide whether or not to accept the acquisition offer.
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