Taylor Communications

I work for a new company.  This past week my employer changed its name from Standard Register Incorporated to Taylor Communications.  This is the third company I have worked for in the past six months – all without leaving my seat. The last time I went through this many employers was in 1986 when I worked for Dart & Kraft, Whirlpool and Emerson all in one day.

In March of 2015, The Standard Register Company declared bankruptcy. On August 1st, the company name was changed to Standard Register Incorporated (a Taylor Corporation company).  People bemoaning the name change and the loss of a Dayton-based institution ignore the first transition.

I am excited by the name change and the opportunity it represents.  The Standard Register Company has had cycles of success and failure over the past fifteen years – but serving a contracting market ultimately resulted in more failures than success. The leadership team in that period worked hard to ‘rewire the plane in flight’ and transition the company to a different marketplace. This name change signals Taylor’s ambition – which I welcome.

The loss of the company name does sadden me.  It is hard to work for a company as long as I have and not have a sense of loss.  Part of my identity has been attached to the company name.  I understand the business imperative behind the name change and accept it – but I will take some time for me to transition to the new world.

Standard Register’s Decline to Bankruptcy

SR Stock Price Decline

SR stock price free fall since May of 2014

Foreshadowed since their December 8K Filing, Standard Register has announced they are filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.  The Dayton Daily News has the most comprehensive coverage starting with the news in January, through the de-listing from the NYSE and the transition of the company’s CFO and the placement of an external Restructuring Officer until finally the news this past week that the company had finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  As the week closed, the company had successfully presented motions to the bankruptcy court.
In August of 2013, Standard Register acquired another local company – Workflow One which had gone through a bankruptcy filing of their own.  The purchase was facilitated and in part funded by Silverpoint Holdings – a large Hedge Fund specializing in distressed companies.  That acquisition carried covenants associated with the funding which were triggered in December when Standard Register was unable to make the necessary loan payments.

The opportunity that exists through this Chapter 11 restructuring process is that we can focus on our balance sheet and improve the indebtedness of our business to put us in a position to take advantage [of] the transformative things that have happened with our portfolio over the last number of years. – Joe Morgan

The underlying challenge is the pension fund funding requirements held by many U.S. Corporations (PDF).  The historically low interest rates and the growing funding obligations associated with the increasing life expectancy of the pension holders has essentially flipped the company’s priorities away from market.

While informal information appears to be shared, it’s hard to assume any of the comments represent reality.  Until now, the only information here is what has been shared publicly.