Utah Companies Getting Big, Making Acquisitions

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Wasatch Digital IQ has a nice article about Utah’s deal flow in 2005. A great quote from Steve Grizelle about several Utah companies getting big and acquiring other companies.

I’m particularly impressed to learn that SkyWest is now the nation’s largest regional carrier with 2,400 daily flights and 14,000 employees. Here’s a very intesting fact: SkyWest has 380 aircraft compared to Southwest’s 441 aircraft. (Probably a major difference in the size of the aircraft, though, I’m guessing.)

Skywest’s market cap is now $1.6 billion compared to JetBlue’s $1.7 billion and Continental Airline’s $2.2 billion and Southwest’s $14 billion.

I’m also impressed with Headwaters, Inc. and Extra Space Storage, both of which have been growing through acquisitions.

Maybe Governor Huntsman is right. Utah is “the place” for economic growth in the next twenty years. We have the entrepreneurial zeal, the young, educated workforce, and maybe now we are growing enough large companies that we will have enough management talent (people who can manage billion dollar companies) to grow more of our companies into major players, rather than the traditional route of Utah companies being acquired by larger outside players. Maybe the tide is really turning.

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3 Responses

  1. This next year is going to be exciting, and it is only getting better from there. I think all of us suspect at least one major IPO this year if not two or three, and the other private deals we’ve started to see are awesome.

    Because of the kind of fund we are, almost every deal in Utah comes through UVF. People are doing some amazing, groundbreaking things and within 5 years, I believe the economic landscape of the state will have changed completely.

    Things like Wayne Brown, our fund, MWCN, the Miller center, Junto and Grow Utah’s E Station are training my generation to be amazing entrepreneurs.

    I spent some time at the Venture Capital in the Rockies conference in Colorado last month, and while typically only Colorado companies present, there were 4 Utah companies that had a great buzz about them.

    If I had the cash, my money would be in Utah.


  2. Paul, we are even feeling the enthusiasm down here in Kanab where Stampin’ Up is expanding its manufacturing facility. The key here in rural Utah will be our ability to grow workers who are not only willing and hard workers, as has been the case historically, but also have the skills to demand a higher wage and attract the kind of company seeking those skills. Even in the case of Stampin’ Up where the headquarters were moved from Kanab to Salt Lake City for management and marketing reasons, management is an issue that will challenge rural Utah for years to come. However, a healthy Wasatch Front leads to a healthy rural Utah where we can support what’s happening up there with a highly productive outsourcing alternative.

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