Warehouse Crane

Skarnes’ two owners had different post-close involvement objectives. CLA helped them get what they wanted from the sale and navigate a successful transition.

Preparing for transition

CLA Wealth Advisors Represents Skarnes Incorporated in Sale to RMH Systems

  • Ben Axelrod
  • 7/20/2017

In the recent sale of Skarnes Incorporated to RMH Systems, Inc., CLA Wealth Advisors acted as the exclusive investment banking advisor to Skarnes’ owners, guiding them through the transition and helping them achieve their key post-close involvement objectives.

Skarnes Incorporated is a leading supplier and integrator of custom-designed material handling solutions. The company has operated in the greater Minneapolis metropolitan area since 1923. In the acquisition of Skarnes, RMH Systems accomplished its critical strategic needs and expanded its offerings and geographic presence in the upper-Midwest. RMH Systems is a family-owned, material handling equipment distributor in Waukee, Iowa.

Brothers Paul and Dave Wanous, Skarnes’ third-generation owners, had different post-close involvement objectives. Paul sought to remain active in the management of the company, whereas Dave wished to step away from operations sooner. CLA helped Paul and Dave achieve their goals by identifying a partner whose growth needs were aligned with this arrangement. RMH Systems has welcomed Paul as its sales manager, while Dave was able to exit day-to-day operations after a brief consulting period.

Ben Axelrod, who leads CLA’s investment banking services, noted that in a successful transaction the sale price is important, but it’s usually not the only consideration. “With family-run businesses, matters like legacy, community reputation, and post-sale involvement can be very important factors in the decision-making process when offers are on the table,” he said.

“The transaction was far more than just a financial event for me,” said Paul Wanous. “I wanted to make sure that the business would continue to grow and prosper, and I wanted to be a part of that, even if Dave and I were no longer the main owners. I’m glad we could achieve that result.”

CLA principal Bryon Reinhart has worked with Paul and Dave for more than 20 years and was instrumental in helping them think through their goals and objectives. “It’s always great to see CLA deliver on the promise of bringing seamlessly integrated services to a client,” said Bryon. “It is especially rewarding to see it happen with clients who have also become personal friends, as is the case with Paul and Dave.”

Merger and acquisition, wealth management, and investment planning services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC.


About CLA

CLA exists to create opportunities for our clients, our people, and our communities through industry-focused wealth advisory, outsourcing, audit, tax, and consulting services. With more than 6,100 people, 120 U.S. locations and a global affiliation, we promise to know you and help you. Investment advisory services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor.