Joe is starting to get comfortable in his new timeline. Comfortable isn’t good in a story of this type. This week’s installment sets him up for a couple of shakeups. It does, however, get into the nuts and bolts of his company’s upcoming merger. Look for this to be an important plot point. I also use one of my favorite devices at the end of the chapter.
Please enjoy Extra Innings – Part 14
If you want to catch up on the previous installments of this serial, you can click on these links:
Joe leaned back in the leather executive chair and took a long sip of coffee. He had done the accounting for several mergers and acquisitions in his past timeline as an underling in the Provenza firm. He knew how they worked. The first thing he wanted to find out was the terms of this particular venture. He knew what his firm was worth, about $500 million in annual revenues. That was very respectable for a regional accounting firm, but paled in comparison to the “Big Four” firms that had revenues from $10 to $15 billion. Filbright, O’Hara and McInerny was worth just over $1 billion, twice the size of McLean and Associates. Calling this a merger was a bit subjective in most cases since F,O and M was a slightly larger fish in a much larger ocean, New York City.
Joe searched his computer and found the early discovery documents. As usually happened in these mergers, the companies shared their financial statements, client lists and bios for the principals within each organization. Joe was a bit amazed as he read his own bio. Apparently, he had gone on and earned a Master’s Degree at the Wharton School of Business as had his brother, Mike. As he thought about it, even though he couldn’t recall anything about attending Wharton because he, in fact, had not in his original timeline, he did find himself tapping knowledge that he didn’t realize he had as he looked through the documents. Had he retained knowledge acquired in this timeline? He certainly had kept the physical improvements that he had gained through his healthier lifestyle. He filed those thoughts away for later.
McClean and associates had an impressive roster of clients. Not only did they represent major businesses in Langerton and as far east as Buffalo, they also represented several Pittsburgh firms including, amazingly enough, Allied Jewelers of America. He actually had some credibility for his visit to Beth and he cursed himself for not finding this out prior to the drive to Pittsburgh.
It took a few hours for Joe to fully study his own company’s history and discovery documents. He felt a rumbling in his stomach and went down to get something to eat. His kitchen was full of healthy options. He decided on some soup and a tuna sandwich. He had some great regional craft beer in his refrigerator and felt quite satisfied after having lunch and a cherry wheat beer.
After lunch, he started in on looking at F.O. and M’s history and discovery documents. It was a firm that earned most of its revenue with some impressive traditional businesses and national accounts. There was, however, a sports division of the firm that helped manage the money of athletes from the New York’s NFL and MLB teams as well as the NBA Knicks and Nets and even some of the New York Rangers and Islanders. Joe marveled at the list of current and former players that were clients. It was like a mini hall of fame.
Now he could understand why F.O. and M was an attractive merger partner. Besides being a solid firm, they represented icons from his favorite sports teams. Just the chance for him and his brother to rub elbows with some of these sports celebrities was an exciting prospect. He saw no chinks in the armor of this merger partner.
Next, he started wading through the legal documents. The terms of the merger were complicated. He was pleased to see that McClean and associates would remain in Langerton for at least ten years and that his team would not be tampered with in any way. He would still run operations and his officers and staff would still be retained and any additions or dismissals of personnel would be subject to him and his executive team.
There was standard language about the future strategic direction of McClean and Associates. It was stated that, due to the substantial goodwill acquired by the company in the region, no major changes would be made to the branding and methods and practices. There would, however, be a managing partner assigned from F.O. and M. This would be someone from the executive staff that would simply ensure that any major strategic decisions reached conformed to the standards and practices of F.O. and M. The term ‘managing partner’ popped up in Joe’s mind as a potential flag, but he also knew that this was common practice. F.O. and M. didn’t want any firm they merged with to diverge from their standards and practices. After Joe reviewed them, he didn’t find any language that would cause difficulty for his firm to comply.
Joe then looked at how the merger would affect him and his team. They all had the option to stay with the firm for ten years and that was renewable. Joe was in his early forties. His bank account was healthy. If he stayed for ten years, he and his executive team would be allowed to split up to 50 percent of the firm’s average revenue over that ten years and walk away. If they decided to continue, they would have the option to walk away with a commensurate percentage at any time during the next ten years. It was very generous and could make them all very rich.
Everything appeared to be in order. He closed the files and leaned back in his chair. He realized that he had spent over five hours reviewing the files. He was mentally exhausted. This new timeline, though vastly different, somehow made sense from the actions he had taken. He had started his own firm and had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. He was in good physical shape. His brother was thriving in an executive position and his parents were still alive. His parents. He was due to have dinner with them tomorrow. That would be an interesting experience.
Joe was thinking about what to do next when his phone rang. It was Mike.
“Hey, Mike. What’s going on?”
“I was just calling to see if you thought about coming over to watch the fight?”
“Fight. Which fight?”
There was a pause on the other end of the phone.
“The big heavyweight fight. The pay per view that we’ve been talking about for a month. I’ve got some great wings and cold beer. Why don’t you come over?”
Joe thought about it for a minute.
“Sure, Mike. I’ve been reviewing the merger documents one more time, but I’m tired of looking at them. What time do you want me over?”
“The undercards start in about an hour. The main event’s at 11. C’mon over now and we can have some food and get a good buzz before the good fights start. It will do you some good.”
“Okay. I’ll be over in a bit. Thanks.”
“No problem, little brother.”
For a minute, Mike sounded like he did in the original timeline. He was looking out for Joe. Joe apparently had some workaholic tendencies in this timeline as well and his brother realized it. He hung up the phone and decided to take another shower just to wake up a bit. While he was in the shower, a thought occurred to him. He didn’t know where Joe lived. He imagined that he probably didn’t live in the 1950s era raised ranch that he owned when his career had taken him the blue collar route. He would have to look it up before he left.
Joe enjoyed the hot water and stepped out of the shower and looked at himself in the mirror. He still couldn’t believe the shape he was in but realized he was going to have to figure out how he was going to maintain this shape. Maybe he had a personal trainer or some kind of club membership. More things to look up. He realized, as these thoughts occurred to him that, despite the lost time on this alternate life path, he was beginning to get comfortable and resign himself to the fact that he might remain on this path. He saw no reason to tamper with it…other than Beth, and it appeared that ship had sailed.
Joe pulled on some jeans a long-sleeved polo pullover and some comfortable loafers and picked up his cell phone. He pulled up Mike’s contact information and luckily, his address was there. It was an impressive address in a suburb on the other side of downtown Langerton. It was about 20 minutes away and, if he left now, Joe would get there in time for the start of the fight broadcast.
Joe grabbed a fleece jacket, as it was getting a bit chilly. He decided to try driving the Tesla. He uncovered it and, as he entered the cockpit, found that it operated like any other car. The only difference was, there was no engine sound. The car was essentially quiet. He plugged Mike’s address into the GPS and nosed his way out of the garage. He found the accelerator to be much more responsive than the BMW or any gas-powered automobile he had ever driven. He turned onto the street and followed the directions on the screen to his brother’s house.
As he was leaving, he missed an incoming phone call in his house. Joe still maintained a land line because of his alarm system and because he wanted a reliable backup to his cell phone and Internet service. He had not used it in quite a while, but it still had an answering machine connected to it.
As his outgoing message finished and the beep sounded, a message was left on the machine.
“Mr. McClean, this is Beth Burton from Allied Jewelers of America. I received a message that you were here to talk about an upcoming audit. I didn’t know one had been scheduled, but I would be glad to talk to you about it. I’m going to be in Langerton next week visiting some of our stores. Why don’t we get together for lunch or dinner and talk about it? Sorry I missed you in the home office. Talk to you soon.”
Beth left a number and hung up.