Fun question. The honest answer is that “Sierra was a public company. As CEO of a public company, my responsibility was to the shareholders, and I had to do what I felt was in the best interests of the shareholders.” We received an offer to acquire the company that represented a premium to the price we were trading at of approximately 50%. Also importantly, Walter Forbes, the CEO of the company who acquired us, had a vision to acquire several of Sierra’s competitors and create a “mega-company” which would move Sierra into another plateau, and give it much greater distribution around the world. This meant higher revenues for all of our products, and bigger budgets for our products.
Initially I refused the acquisition offer, believing that Sierra would lose its creative ability to build product if rolled into a conglomerate. To counter my objection, the acquiring company put in place a structure which guaranteed Sierra its independence. There was an agreement that only “non-creative” pieces, such as manufacturing and sales offices would be consolidated, and that I would continue to run all the groups that built product. With the belief that Sierra would “remain Sierra” I agreed to the merger.
What none of us knew at the time was the the company who acquired us did not have pure motives. None of the promises made were kept, and ultimately criminal charges were filed against the company who acquired us. There is still criminal litigation in progress against Walter Forbes. Some members of the management team of the company that acquired have already been convicted.
So .. to answer the question .. It wasn’t the sale that hurt Sierra. What killed Sierra was that it was acquired by criminals. I still believe that based on the information I had at the time, the decision I made was in Sierra’s best interests. Unfortunately, I got scammed.