481: Achieving a Milestone Transaction | Mike Myshrall, CFO, Cyren

Listen to the Episode Below (00:37:48)

Of all the finance milestones that CFO Mike Myshrall uses to illustrate Cyren’s appetite for success, perhaps few are more enlightening than the one involving private equity titan Warburg Pincus. Two years ago, Warburg Pincus offered to buy out Cyren shareholders at a 35 percent premium over the current price of their shares. However, unwilling to have the firm forfeit its publicly owned shares entirely, Cyren management structured the deal so that Warburg would be eligible to acquire only up to 75 percent of Cyren’s outstanding shares.

Surprisingly, Warburg found itself battling to capture half of the available shares despite the hefty premium. In the end, the PE firm ended up with only 52 percent of outstanding shares.

“Many shareholders chose to stay in the company and ride it with Warburg so that they could potentially get an even bigger return down the road if the company were to go fully private or if we were to sell to a larger company through an acquisition,” explains Myshrall, who describes the transaction’s structure as being “quite elegant.”

For his part, Myshrall advanced down the business development path before jumping into the ranks of finance leaders. However, before there was a leap upward in finance there was a sojourn inside the electrical engineering realm and an MBA from Harvard Business School—both of which Myshrall today credits with having helped point the way down the  finance leadership path.

Subscribe to CFO Thought Leader

Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart | Android App

Guest: Mike Myshrall, CFO

Company: Cyren

Headquarters:  McLean, Virginia

Connect: www.cyren.com

CFOTL:  Tell us about your arrival in the CFO office and how you like to organize things …

Myshrall: I think that there were two key changes that we made. I think the previous CFO had the intent of centralizing all of the finance operations into one central headquarters here in the US, even though we had operations in Israel, Germany, and Iceland. In an ideal world, he wanted to be able to have everybody locally here in one office and remotely manage the finance operations in each of those countries. What we quickly learned is 

Read Full Transcript

that when you have 50 to 100 employees in each of these countries, there are local requirements in terms of dealing with payroll, dealing with suppliers, dealing with banks in each of those locations. It wasn’t really realistic to centralize all the finance functions under one location. I ended up keeping the key finance staff in Israel and Germany and in Iceland.

What we did do is centralize all of the corporate finance roles and the corporate consolidation functions here in the US. Basically, on a quarterly basis, when we roll up the numbers, we do that from the US but we rely on our local finance staff there.

The other key thing that I saw the need for was that, because I did not have a CPA background or an accounting background, I did need to bring in an expert to help me out in dealing with our auditors and dealing with the accounting standards. I was very fortunate to hire a corporate controller who then became our VP of finance here.

He came directly from our auditors; he was a former EY auditor on our account in Israel. He knew the company already coming into the company, and obviously knew the accounting standards and requirements for US GAAP and SEC filing requirements and so on. By making a key hire like I did, I was able to rely on him and we were able to take the finance organization to the next level.