RIDGELAND — Pending court approval, Hap Hederman will take back full control of Hederman Brothers from Master Graphics by the end of the year.
“I’ve worked out a definitive agreement with the corporate structure, the investment bankers, most of their sets of lawyers and our lawyers,” said Hap Hederman, CEO
of Hederman Brothers. “Even though we’ve agreed to agree on everything, and have no reason to believe the courts won’t approve it, we’ll have to wait for the final
word from the bankruptcy judge in Wilmington, Del., and that won’t be until the middle to latter part of December. It’s not a done deal until the judge blesses it and signs
off on it.”
Master Graphic’s woes became evident early this year. On Jan. 21, the Memphis-based printing giant (Nasdaq: MAGR), parent company of Ridgeland-based Hederman
Brothers, was delisted from the stock market because of its inability to satisfy the maintenance standards for the continued listing.
On July 7, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware to restructure its $205 million in debt.
“I’ve not been comfortable with the situation that we’ve found ourselves in since it became evident that we — the company — were going to have to file for
reorganization,” said Hederman. “I was on the board at that time and made a conscious decision not to serve another term. I removed myself from that situation to focus
on what we needed to do here. I was aware of everything that took place within the corporate structure and the direction in which it was headed.
“Unfortunately, our founder borrowed way too much money at a high cost and spent it all in a quick manner when he bought companies subsequent to the purchase of the
core group, which was the original nine or 10 companies, and that put us behind the eight ball. Since that time, I’ve been monitoring it, and it’s been in the back of my mind,
but I waited until early October to consummate discussions.”
On Nov. 2, when Master Graphics revealed its plans for restructuring its business operations and emerge from Chapter 11, Hederman Brothers was not included, and only
11 facilities were listed as core divisions — down from the 23 facilities listed in July. The same day, Master Graphics filed a motion seeking a 45-day extension of the
exclusive period in which a debtor can file a reorganization plan.
Hederman said he hopes to close the deal by the end of the year.
“But this is not a Hap Hederman deal,” he said. “This was the right decision for our company, employees, customers, vendors, suppliers and friends.
One-hundred-and-two years of reputation, credibility and service in this business, this community, and this state, was significant enough that I didn’t want to see it
tarnished any more than it had been.”
Hederman, who sold the company to Master Graphics in 1998, said he had been frustrated on occasion because of corporate restrictions.
During the reorganization, no employees were terminated. Currently, 90 people work at the Ridgeland plant, Hederman said.
Hederman, who will continue in his role as CEO, said he has fully recovered from open-heart surgery last year.
“Actually, I feel better than I did before,” said Hederman, who will turn 55 on Dec. 28, a birthday he shares with his son, Doug Hederman, who will turn 30.
Hederman, said he doesn’t expect much to change — except keeping pace with technological advances.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at email@example.com or (601) 853-3967.