July 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm #2178wfield90Member
Fact – Fred sent the following email to Viking distributors Friday: "The rumors that LG is acquiring Viking are completely untrue. Viking is not for sale and never has been. These ridiculous rumors should be totally ignored."
Fact – Neither Stephens Inc. nor Stephens Group own Viking and Viking is not owned by an investment group. Viking is owned by Fred Carl and individual members of the Stephens family of Little Rock.
Fact – Fred owns substantially more than 15% of Viking.July 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm #2179This is good news. It really does not matter how much stock he owns, that is his business.However, I think that they will rebound better than the likes of a Dacor or even Wolf.These rumors though have some credibility at some point. Where there is smoke there is fire.There were rumors some years ago about SZ wanting to buy a California company in the cooking industry. Turns out they did, just not the one everyone expected.Rumors are rumors until the ink is dry.July 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm #2180The AdvisorKeymaster
The Stephens Group seems to believe that it owns a chunk of Viking.
http://www.stephensgroup.com/aboutus/news-20070419.htmlJuly 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm #2181I don’t believe the content of the e-mail you said Karl has sent.Any investment group owns a substantial portion of any investment they have. He owns less than 15 % , bank on it.July 15, 2009 at 12:34 am #2183konaMember
Hard to imagine that any serious investment/shareholder group wouldn’t have a return on investment "sale trigger number" somewhere in their strategic plans. Isn’t everything available if the price is right, and/or the offer is so outrageous it can’t be refused. Doubt that’s going on here, but it would be unwise to assume it could never ever happen.July 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm #2184A private equity firm for the most part looks to turn their investments over in 4-5 years making use of the money in more lucrative investments. Manufacturing is not all that lucrative of an investment at this point. The people who own Viking do not fit that mode of operation based on the long term relationship they have in the business. One thing any of us could always count on would be the flapping of the gums to start a rumor in our industry. As I step back and look at this I do not see a viable opportunity to sell at this time regardless of the magpie rumor mill.I do see an effort to improve the financials,shore up the weaknesses while building a solid multi year performance and then maybe offer the unit for sale. They have too long of a time in the investment and a solid commitment for success. They do not seem like the type for a fire sale. The times when the likes of Maytag and others overpaid for a manufacturing company are over.My prediction is no sale is imminent.July 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm #2188old iron manParticipant
Employed by Viking for 5 years. Mr. Carl consistent in his saying the Stephens Group is majority owner of Viking.July 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm #2189appliancegirl271Member
You are correct, I work for a Viking distributor and saw this email from Fred Carl to the distributors. No Deal.July 17, 2009 at 9:11 pm #2190gaetti96Member
I’d like to see a copy of that e-mail Fred Carl sent to distributors…
The rumors must have been stronger than normal for it to merit a response like that.July 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm #2191There are so many rumors by so many and in this age of business contraction people think the sky is falling. Thus all the businesses are for sale. That has some nonsense built into it. I am sure he got somewhat frustrated with all the yaking going on.When people are successful they sometimes become targets because these days success is something that puts a target on good people’s backs.Sad state of our philosophy these days.September 17, 2009 at 12:48 am #2446
There are those of us who can remember the time when Viking was the standard by which every other Pro-Style manufacturer compared itself … those days are long gone, and the reason is simply stated on their web site, and I coyly quote it here:
Viking considers itself not only a major appliance manufacturer, but a culinary company involved in all aspects of the kitchen and the world of food and wine – The Viking Life.
There was their mistake … no one does EVERYTHING well, and some of the foibles of Viking’s dalliance into parallel product lines is proof positive of this contention …
There is one interesting fact which is often overlooked … the fact that Viking is domiciled in Mississippi, a "Right-to-Work" state … This makes labour unions a moot point and removes their almost certain stranglehold on labour costs and their cause-and-affect relationship toward price/cost stabilization – a major factor in making their line attractive and competitive when the bottom line in assessed …
An acquisition of Viking by LG would be a brilliant as the Asian & European automobile companies settling in the other southern "Right-to-Work" states, thereby reducing the allure of cheap labour in China …
If it were to occur and things become less tenable on the Korean peninsula, the south might rise again to bring manufacturing – AKA Jobs – back to the good ole’ USA !!!September 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm #2452I can tell you with absolute certainty that the world class organization I was with during all of the 1990’s never once did we compare anything Viking did to what we were doing. Both organizations flourished but it would be a mistake to say Viking set a standard. I thought that a competitor , Thermador made products that worked much better than the Viking products. The proof was in the testing and performance. V had the look some people liked ,not the substance. Most people I know who purchased a Viking had it for show and bought something else to cook in. Sorry Bob to disagree with you.Those that know and test the various product lines will certainly attest to the performance issues that don’t compare to other high end brands.September 18, 2009 at 12:41 am #2456
Stallion, with all due respect, I did not mean that Viking was superior to anything, just that many compared other Pro-Style products to Viking as they were the best known !!! Sorry if my commentary gave the wrong impression …
For the record, I flatly refuse to supply Viking unless my client sends me something saying they made the decision despite and after I presented other product lines … I absolutely do not want them coming back to me when, down the road, the Viking product they asked for breaks down …
Hope this clears up any misunderstanding …September 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm #2462I took no offense to your comment but as those experienced know , the proof is in the pudding with their products. I respect you and your opinions and did not mean to cause any alarms for you. Back in 1992 ,they probably were the best known although in California I think the Thermador brand was better known because of the products being built right here.I hope your recovery is going well.Their odd color presentations at shows certainly caused some heightened interest in people attending their booth.Be well.September 20, 2009 at 1:46 am #2474
Thanks for the sentiments, Stallion !!!
FYI: I owned a Thermador Gas-on-Glass Cooktop w/ the Integral DownDraft and loved it before I "broke" it … replaced it what I believe was the best gas cooktop on the market … the CT-365 … I wanted more than Thermador’s two (2) XLO burners …
My money has always been where my mouth is …
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