Dr. Kinnarney Leverages Ackerman Group to Find His Most Compatible Buyer
About Dr. Joseph Kinnarney and His Veterinary Practices
Outside of practice ownership, Dr. Kinnarney remains well-known in the veterinary industry for his many accolades from the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association and for his involvement in the American Veterinary Medical Association. He served on the House of Delegates, Board of Directors, and multiple leadership positions at AVMA, most notably holding the position of President for the national organization from 2015 to 2016. In 2019, Dr. Kinnarney received the AVMA President’s Award for his positive impact on the profession. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of AVMA Trust, AVMA Life Trust, and AVMA PLIT Trust as well.
After owning Reidsville Veterinary Hospital for 40 years, and Mebane and Bel-Aire for 20 and 30 years respectively, Dr. Kinnarney found himself extremely busy and wanted more time to dedicate to AVMA and other personal pursuits. Together with his partners, they decided to sell their animal hospitals.
Dr. Kinnarney was referred to Ackerman Group by a fellow veterinarian and practice transitions consultant – he began his engagement with us in August of 2021.
Dr. Joseph Kinnarney, DVM
Veterinary Practice Sale Goals
“I’ve been in the banking world for almost 30 years, so I was familiar with the processes [of selling] and was fearful of what I was getting myself into. Ackerman Group made it more seamless than I anticipated.”
Dr. Joseph Kinnarney, DVM
Veterinary Practice Sale Process
As a first step, Ackerman Group gathered data on all of Dr. Kinnarney’s hospitals and tried to bring clarity to his financial picture. His financials were complex with other business interests – a private breeding business, equine activities, among others – intermingled with the Reidsville practice financials. Our team spent a significant amount of time sorting out the financial details with him. Given Dr. Kinnarney’s competing interests for time, our team traveled onsite to his practices to collect information and review finances. After extricating hundreds of items from his finances and ensuring correct categorizations of expenses, we could accurately analyze his data and ready his practices for the market.
Initially, we proposed selling Dr. Kinnarney’s three hospitals as part of a group sale. In a group sale, a “bundle” of unaffiliated practices sells together to obtain a higher price and better terms. Ackerman Group secured a buyer for the group, but changes with the consolidator led them to forego the purchase and move in a different direction.
As a result, our team pivoted strategies. Instead, we aimed to sell Dr. Kinnarney’s hospitals sans group sale but all three to the same buyer. He and his practices were in demand: after taking the practices to market again, we solicited five varied offers on all three of the practices.
Many other companies also proposed offers to purchase Reidsville and Reidsville only. If Reidsville Veterinary Hospital sold by itself, it would have attracted even more interest since many buyers put a premium on large hospitals. Regardless, we offered all three hospitals to be sold together (but each with their own valuation). With this “package deal”, we were able to achieve strong valuations for the two smaller clinics that otherwise would not have sold at those prices if purchased individually. We accomplished this without negatively impacting the value of Reidsville.
Additionally, there were certain inherent conflicts between the three unique practices and their different valuations. Our team assisted Dr. Kinnarney and his partners throughout the sale process and LOI negotiations to ensure fairness to all parties.
After careful evaluation and deliberation, Dr. Kinnarney signed his Letter of Intent with Western Veterinary Partners (WVP) to acquire all three of his clinics.
“I chose Western for less money actually. They just philosophically had a component that was compatible to me. You hear stories of other practices [under new ownership] with staff leaving and unhappy teams and drops in performance. I knew that I wanted to enjoy the last three years of my career with a group that would make the practices better.”
Outcomes and Results with Ackerman Group
When all was said and done, Dr. Kinnarney sold Reidsville, Bel-Aire, and Mebane to Western Veterinary Partners in deals that featured a mix of TopCo equity, contingent notes, staff incentives, real estate terms, and more. WVP also viewed Dr. Kinnarney himself as an invaluable asset; he could positively impact their organization by serving as a strong reference for future practice acquisitions.
Here are some of the significant features of Dr. Kinnarney’s practice sale:
- TopCo Equity: WVP paid anywhere from 12 percent to 16 percent of the purchase price in TopCo equity across each of the three hospitals. Dr. Kinnarney and his fellow partners received shares of WVP and thus were more incentivized to increase their practice’s performance to grow their ownership stake’s value in the parent company. Ackerman Group helped the sellers evaluate the TopCo equity from WVP and other suitors to assess the probable upside in each buyer.
- Contingent Notes: WVP paid a portion of the purchase price through contingent notes, which created financial incentives for the sellers and staff based on future performance. Ackerman Group helped negotiate the terms of these notes to ensure the targets were reasonable and realistically achievable.
- Recruiting and Retention: Western Veterinary Partners agreed to allocate hiring resources to all hospitals to help them maintain and grow their business capacity.
- Employment Agreement: All the owners were willing and wanted to continue working for at least a three-year term to ensure continuity at the hospitals and to support WVP’s recruiting of additional DVMs.
- Real Estate: WVP entered into a Triple Net Lease for all three hospitals. For Reidsville, their lease term was 15 years, and for Bel-Aire and Mebane 10 years. All leases had two, five-year renewal options.
Overall, Dr. Kinnarney’s sale, from engagement to closing, lasted approximately 11 months. This period included the time dedicated to pursuing the group sale strategy before pivoting to an individual sale.
“I’ve been with my attorneys, who are a decently sized firm, for 42 years. They said that, of all the deals they put together, they thought Ackerman Group was really a step above and made the process flow easily for them. For them to come out and make that comment is such a compliment to Ackerman Group and its team.”
Today, Dr. Kinnarney still works at Reidsville Veterinary Hospital, but has more flexibility and time for his interests inside and outside of the veterinary profession. He’s a wine connoisseur, world traveler, and an expert breeder in champion-level miniature schnauzers, Scottish terriers, and Arabian horses.