November 23, 2009
Merwin: The Woes of the Boat-Manufacturing World
By John Merwin
In what is at least partly a sign of the times, it’s apparently easier to pay the lawyers than it is to pay your bills.
Irwin Jacobs was until a few days ago the CEO of Genmar, a boat-manufacturing conglomerate whose major brands include Ranger, Wellcraft, and Four Winns. That holding company has been in bankruptcy proceedings since last June.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Jacobs has resigned his position so he can bid on Genmar as a private individual at a forthcoming bankruptcy auction.
This is the same Jacobs who started to build his empire years ago by buying up companies in bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar in a series of complex moves that lead Forbes magazine to call him “Irv the Operator.”
So let me get this straight. Instead of shepherding your company out of trouble, it’s better to resign and just buy some or all assets cheaply while various debts are washed away? I very much doubt there’s anything illegal here. Jacobs is a very bright man, and I’m sure he has a good team of lawyers. But it still seems like there’s something wrong with the whole picture....