Mascon Cable

Effectively negotiating the sale of a successful regional cable company to one of the country’s premier telcos Founder Darren Muloin spent 35 years building Mascon Cable, the Salmon Arm-based TV and internet provider, and five years planning to sell it. It was sold to Telus in 2017 after a year of negotiation with Stage Left Partners facilitating the transaction.

A Time to Sell

Mascon Cable was a TV and internet provider servicing several regional B.C. communities, including Tofino, Shuswap, Chase, White Lake and Sicamous. After 35 years of building a successful business, there were a few cues that signalled to Darren Muloin that it could be time to sell his company.

Some older shareholders, plus a trend of consolidation in the industry, told him that the time was ripe to get the best price for the company he’d built. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision; he’d been planning for five years and working to set the company up for sale and, in 2015, he reached out to Stage Left’s Darren Dumba, whom he knew from previous work together in the communications industry.

“I like working with people I know and who I trust,” Muloin says, and knowing Dumba for 15 years had proven that he’d be a capable and fierce ally in the sale of the business he’d built from the ground up.

“If you’re looking for an honest, straightforward person to deal with, Darren’s your guy”.

The sale of a smaller entity to a giant like Telus can feel like a daunting and lopsided effort. It can feel like a David and Goliath situation, as the smaller company contends with all the intricacies and challenges that such a transaction presents.

“When you’re running a business and selling a business, it can almost be like a second job,” says Muloin. “Which is why Darren and his team’s level of engagement was so crucial.”

“He was on it from day one all of the way through. There was a ton of work we had to do running around for Telus, and Darren was integral in getting all of that organized.”

Staying on Track

With so many people on the purchaser’s team, there were constant, multiple demands coming from various people who had their own roles in the deal. Dumba absorbed those demands and made sure they got everything done as efficiently as possible, while also saving Muloin some of the emotional demands of selling his business.

“He kept us on track, is what he did.” One of Muloin’s main concerns was for his 30 long-term, full-time employees, many of whom had been with him since day one. He feared that once the deal was finalized, they would be laid off and replaced by outsourced Telus employees.

Dumba and his team made sure that the staff, who were based in Salmon Arm and Tofino, were taken care of, and most of them are still employees of Telus now, almost three years later. In fact, Muloin himself worked for Telus for two years before he decided to retire.

“There were a lot of pressure situations. Darren remained very calm, very cool, very collected. And he maintained a good leadership role in pushing the agenda. He stayed on it and he was engaged the whole way through.”

From Transaction to Final Signature

When he was first considering the sale of Mascon, Muloin debated whether he needed to use an M&A firm to represent him – he had sold businesses in the past with no help. But in this case, with so many moving parts and people involved, the higher stakes made him feel that calling in the professionals was necessary.

“Without Darren, it would have been tough,” he says. “There was no way that we could have pulled it off without his involvement. It was simply too overwhelming.”

After the deal was done there were integration issues that had to be addressed and additional work was required to release the holdback. “Darren was in it all the way,” says Muloin.

“He was completely transparent all the way through. I never had a concern about honesty with Darren.”

Reflecting on the process, he believes that the transaction with Telus was an advantageous one. A profitable deal was agreed upon, and the main priority for Muloin—job security for his employees—was achieved.

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