Former Ford CEO Jac Nasser has plenty to smile about after making a killing on a management buyout of Polaroid. Forbes magazine has the story here.

In January, two and a half years after buying it
in a bankruptcy auction, One Equity sold Polaroid for $US426 million to
Petters Group Worldwide, a privately held company in Minnetonka, Minn.
If the deal closes next month, One Equity will clear a $US230 million
gain. On top of Nasser’s cut of those profits he owns 3% of Polaroid
stock, purchased in 2003 for a “nominal” amount. Nasser will receive
$US12.8 million in cash for those shares.

One Equity acquired
Polaroid for $255 million, though it put up only $56 million cash,
financing some of the acquisition with loans to Polaroid and the $137
million balance with Polaroid’s own cash. (It kept a 65% stake and set
aside 35% of the equity for unsecured creditors.) Polaroid’s employees
and shareholders complained that the price was too low, but the
bankruptcy court approved the transaction.

Soon after, One
Equity hired Nasser and named him Polaroid’s chairman. He and his
partners went about whittling the company down by shuttering
unprofitable lines such as scanners and digital kiosks and cutting the
work force by some 20% to 2,850. The new management maintained spending
on the instant photo business, which was rapidly declining yet still
profitable. The company turned a profit of $54 million on $496 million
in revenue for the first nine months of 2004. In May 2004 shares again
traded publicly.

Jac has certainly picked himself up off the mat after getting fired in October 2001. This is how AM characterised his controversial departure when the payout was revealed in April 2002:

“Australian born Jac Nasser, who was dumped by Ford last October, is
leaving with a $34 million dollar golden handshake despite the fact
that he presided over a loss of well over $10 billion, a 30% drop in
Ford’s share price and a spate of manufacturing problems.”

CRIKEY: As BRW fines tunes the 2005 Rich List, serious consideration
should be given to including Jac as his net worth is now thought to be
more than $100 million. Other successful Australian management exports
such as Douglas Daft at Coca-Cola and Geoffrey Bible at Philip Morris
are certainly worth many tens of millions, although Jac’s Polaroid play
would probably now see him leading this particular league ladder.

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Peter Fray
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