May 19, 2020

Sycamore Partners secures $1.2bn for Essendant acquisition

Staples
Sycamore Partners
Sandy Douglas
Wells Fargo
hotmaillogin
2 min
Sycamore Partners secures $1.2bn for Essendant acquisition

Wells Fargo Capital Finance announced this week that it has acted as the administrative agent, lead arranger, and book runner for a US$1.2bn asset-based credit facility and a $125mn term loan facility for Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm based in New York. Sycamore partners has used the facility to acquire leading national distributor of workplace items, Essendant.

“For us to be able to complete such important financing for Sycamore Partners and help the firm continue to grow its portfolio of companies is rewarding,” said Lynn Whitmore, managing director of the Retail Finance division at Wells Fargo Capital Finance. “We are pleased to enhance the abilities of Essendant to deliver services to their independent reseller customers nationwide.”

Sycamore Partners pecializes in  consumer, distribution and retail-related investments and partners with management teams to improve the operating profitability and strategic value of their business. The company currently has approximately $10bn in assets under management, including Hot Topic, Coldwater Creek, CommerceHub and Staples.

Following the acquisition, Essendant will work in conjunction with Staples in order to give reseller customers access to an expanded product assortment, innovative technology and world-class supply chain capabilities and support. Essendant and Staples’ sales teams will continue to operate separately.

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“Staples views the reseller community as partners in serving customers that will allow us all to be successful,” said Sandy Douglas, Chief Executive Officer, Staples, Inc. “We value the relationships the resellers have built with Essendant and look forward to helping them build on their already impressive success. We’ve created a strong, externally monitored firewall, to protect resellers’ confidential information, as required by the FTC, and also as a sign of trust, because we know it’s the best thing for the Essendant business, and the resellers.”

“Essendant has been a key partner to the reseller community for almost a century, and we see that relationship only strengthening by working with Staples,” said Harry Dochelli, who will move into the role of Essendant CEO as part of the transition. “Essendant brings a unique value proposition to its reseller partners, and with Staples, will now have enhanced capabilities to provide to our customers, enabling them to win in the marketplace.”

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Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Tax
Compliance
financeleaders
Deloitte
Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

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