Former Runco President—and current Planar Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for the Runco and Vidikron brands—Bob Hana took a few moments from adjusting to his new role to discuss Planar’s acquisition of Runco International with CR Editor-in-Chief Joe Paone.
CR: How did this acquisition come about, and why did it come about?
Hana: For years, we’ve been looking at ways in which we can make the Runco International company stronger. About four years ago, [Runco Founder] Sam [Runco] and I had a discussion about my coming on board to help move into that proverbial “next level,” to strengthen the infrastructure, to try to get our arms around the small business action that was going on. So I did that and, to the best of our ability, we did that and we grew the business.
But it gets to a point where there’s another level that you just have to figure out it’s time to [reach], and that comes when you need some serious resources… [when] “big company” infrastructures, big systems would really help—the resources that we, as a mid-size company, couldn’t invest in. Things like international distribution, logistics and things like that.
The other side of it is that, at some point, it’s time for Sam. I mean, he’s been doing it all his life—and he can probably speak to it a little clearer—but, at some point, you say, “Hey, I got this thing to a certain point.” I think from a personal side he wanted that but, on the other side, he also wanted to make sure that he ensured the legacy of the company, and make sure that it had the kind of financial resources and things to be able to move forward for, maybe, generations.
So that, in part, was what drove it on our end, and then when we started to have conversations—it was then, “Who?” We had conversations with lots of folks, but the “who” when it boiled down to it was Planar Systems, because they understood our business, they wanted to be in this niche display business, [and] they had other businesses that were already there. It forwarded their own mission, and they had the resources, quite frankly, that it complemented [us]. We had the channel and the brand equity and the relationships, and they had all the QC [quality control] and the international logistics and infrastructures. So it just seemed to be a perfect thing, and as we started to talk together, it was like, “it just gets better and better and better,” and the real nice thing was that culturally, we’re all the same kind of people, and so that perpetuated the decision to keep moving forward. And, long story short, it all happened a couple weeks ago. Seems like six years ago already!