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Top Ten Places to Retire

Retirement is a time of life where all the work people have completed comes to fruition. Most people live on pension plans that require careful attention to detail and proper budgeting to ensure they last throughout retirement. However, a small number of retirees have the means to retire and live in luxury. For these people, the world is their oyster, and they can go wherever their hearts desire. Here is a breakdown of ten of the world’s most lavish retirement destinations.

1) MONACO – France borders the Principality of Monaco on three sides, and the Mediterranean borders the small country on one side. The Principality of Monaco has an area of approximately 2.02km (0.78 mi) and more than 19,000 inhabitants per square kilometer, which makes it the second-smallest independent, and most densely populated, sovereign state.

Getting around Monaco is easy as there is plenty of public transportation and the country is small on foot as well. Monaco offers world-class entertainment with the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Monaco Yacht Show, and the Casino de Monte Cristo. Real estate in this small locale is coveted by many because of its proximity and easy access to the rest of Europe.

Moreover, Monaco is known for its relaxed tax laws and its secure banks. Folks looking to retire here are sure to enjoy the finer things life has to offer.

2) DUBAI – Dubbed as one of the world’s cleanest cities, Dubai is a hot destination for travelers from all corners of the globe. In 2016, Dubai was the fourth most visited city in the world. The skyline boasts impressive buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest manmade structure in the world. Additionally, the city offers more than 70 shopping centers, several water parks, camel rides, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set to music, and other tourist attractions for visitors.

Dubai does not offer permanent residency, citizenship, or retirement visas to non-native persons. However, this doesn’t mean one cannot retire there as long as permits are consistently renewed every 2-3 years. There are two types of investment visas that retirees can obtain if they wish to stay in Dubai: the business investment visa and the real estate investment visa. Additionally, if a retired adult has a child working in the UAE with a Labor Card and valid residency permit, then he or she can qualify for the dependency visa and move to Dubai with that visa. For the dependency visa, sponsors (adult children) typically need to make at least $65,000 USD per year.

3) SINGAPORE – Like Dubai, retiring in Singapore requires a residency visa through an investment, in most cases. A permanent residency visa can be obtained through a work permit after a year of working and living in Singapore and must be renewed every five years.

However, this country is valued for its rich climate, first- world amenities, favorable exchange rate, and the fact that English is an official language of the nation. Retiring in Singapore will require a higher cost of living and given that it’s one of the world’s largest financial and cultural centers; this is no surprise. However, living here is about enjoying the cosmopolitan lifestyle rather than trying to make savings stretch.

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Benchmark International facilitates the merger of the off-site marketing division of Corporate Security (Cor-Secure (Pty) Ltd) and Off-site Monitoring (Pty) Ltd (OSM)

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the successful merger between the off-site monitoring division of Corporate Security (Cor-Secure (Pty) Ltd) and Off-site Monitoring (Pty) Ltd (OSM)

Established in 1984, Corporate Security has extensive technical knowledge and experience within the South African security industry. The company offers a range of security services, focusing on the design and installation of off-site monitoring (OSM) and other technically orientated security products.

Utilising select imported and local security products; Corporate Security offers a substantially more cost-effective security monitoring option boasting proven efficacy. The company’s 14-year investment in the Control Room has culminated in a state-of-the-art off-site OSM CCTV control station as well as an analytics system.

Off-Site Monitoring (Pty) Ltd offers its customers a premium 24-hour surveillance service for essential day-to-day systems and security.

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Giving in Order to Receive

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review made a perhaps surprising conjecture: that as far as mergers and acquisitions are concerned, those companies that focus on what they’re going to get from an acquisition are less likely to succeed, in terms of the deal outcomes, than those companies that focus on what they can give to the process.

Acquiring companies being in ‘take’ mode was a dangerous place to be, it claimed. Indeed, corporate giants are not immune from this conundrum either, if we think about, for example, Microsoft and Google wanting to get into smartphone hardware in ‘taking’ from Nokia and Motorola respectively.

A buyer in ‘take’ mode means that the fortunate seller can increase price, especially if there is more than one potential buyer in the picture, and effectively remove the future value of the transaction. Buyers on the take, really knowing what they want, are also more prepared to pay top dollar – which, in and of itself, poses a problem in eventually getting a good return. But companies with a ‘getting’ focus also tend to lack adequate understanding of their new markets, making failure even more likely.

Having something to give to the deal, however, really benefits outcomes. This could mean anything that makes the acquired company more competitive in its market, and especially if the buyer is the only partner who can offer this new competitive edge.

The much-talked-about Harvard Business Review article listed four main ways that the ‘giving mode’ buyer can increase the competitiveness of the bought company and ultimately secure better outcomes on the deal:

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Upcoming Webinar: What to Expect When Selling Your Business

June 26th @ 11:00am EST
Register Now > http://bit.ly/2xZBVU8
 
Selling a business is perhaps the most complex exercise a business owner can undertake in their lifetime. Too often, attorneys, buyers, and others take for granted that the seller has an understanding of the steps, the risks, the timing, and the other aspects of the process. In this webinar we will lay out the key aspects of the sale process from start to finish in a format tailor-made for the uninitiated owner. This will be an entry level discussion requiring no prior deal experience, no legal background, and no knowledge of accounting.  Specifically: 
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Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated the Sale of ECA Services Ltd to E&M Computing Ltd

Posted on June 8, 2018 By in UK Deals + UK M&A

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of system integrator ECA to Israeli based IT infrastructure specialist, E&M Computing, trading as EMET.

Based in Reading, ECA has a presence throughout the UK and Ireland as an IoT and embedded industrial computer systems integrator providing core technology from world leading IT manufacturers, Advantech and DellEMC. Technology is utilised to create solutions for ticketing systems on buses and railways which has included work on the London Underground payment system, NHS Trust critical care patient record systems and BT's billing system.

Founded in 1984, EMET specialises in data centre, cloud, and information technology. The company has offices in Ramat-Gan, Rosh Ha'ayin, Petach-Tikva, Haifa and Ashdod with worldwide distribution hubs and a workforce of 850.

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Tags: UK Deals, UK M&A

Something's Brewing in M&A: Craft Beer Gives New Perspective to the Industry

Who doesn’t love microbrews? The explosion of the craft-beer revolution has spread across the country.

Western cities, such as Portland, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, and Los Angeles are seeing a large increase in new jobs and establishments in small-scale breweries. This trend is spreading nationwide, and how do we explain this craft-beer boom? It’s relatively simple, the American breweries lack of distinct, indigenous brewing traditions in the past has been conducive to the rise of craft brewing. The small, independent, and traditional brewery adds to the eclectic style and diversity consumers are demanding. The niche styles of beer, particularly hoppy IPA’s, pale ales, infused blends, and specialty brews are leading the way. This changing landscape has created multiple opportunities for the M&A industry.

So, what does this craft beer boom mean to Benchmark International and the M&A industry? The sustained success of craft beer and the changing demographics of brewery ownership has led to more mergers and acquisitions and transactions than ever before. Since 2014, there has been more than one transaction per month. Global players, such as SAMMiller and InBev, are leading the way in the direct M/As of craft beers. What is more interesting in this recent trend of mergers, is the allowance of once previous competitors to combine styles and taste with new hosts to release new and creative craft beers. The rising popularity of craft beers has fueled industry growth and increased valuation multiples towards all-time highs over the last few years.

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Benchmark International has Closed Eight Transactions in Just Eight Days

Posted on June 4, 2018 By in UK Deal Making + Success + UK M&A

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the closing of eight deals in just eight days – a record amount closed for the company in such a short space of time.

The clients were from a diverse range of sectors, including those in building and construction, document management, manufacturing, ambulance services, IT, and the distribution of medical products. Benchmark International has capitalised on confidence returning to the market by executing this number of deals in as many days, conducting transactions with private investors, private equity firms and trade buyers, both domestically and internationally, with locations spanning Dublin, Israel and the USA.

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What to do With Your Business to Make it More Appealing in Light of the Baby Boomers' Crisis

What options are there for you when looking to retire? The three main ones are to sell, pass the company down to family or to shut it down completely.

The latter may seem dramatic and not sound so appealing, especially after years of establishing a business and investing copious amounts of time and money into the venture. Unfortunately, for the baby boomer generation, it is increasingly likely that this could happen if a well thought-out succession plan is not implemented.

There is much speculation as to why there is a succession crisis – here are a few possible scenarios as to why this has happened:

THERE IS NO ONE IN PLACE TO TAKE OVER THE BUSINESS

The generation after baby boomers, Gen X (typically those born between the early 1960s and early 1980s) are not as numerous as their predecessors. The generation after, millennials (typically born between the early 1980s and the millennium) are generally not yet of an age to take over a business.

RAPID CHANGES IN AUTOMATION & TECHNOLOGY

Those Gen Xers and millennials who do want to start a business will not want to take over one they feel is antiquated. A lot of businesses now have an online offering, or machines to automate the process, and this is changing how business is done. As such, the younger generations may not want to go into a business in an industry that will not be around for
much longer.

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Corporate LiveWire Names Benchmark International the 2018 M&A Mid-Market Firm of the Year

Benchmark International has been awarded the M&A Mid-Market Firm of the Year award for 2018 from Corporate LiveWire. Corporate LiveWire is a corporate news source that provides news from all corners of the globe to business professionals in the corporate sector.

Specifically, Corporate LiveWire focuses on companies involved in mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, MBOSs, and raising finance. They take a close look at the types of transactions completed in all shapes and sizes and analyze the current market. The Corporate LiveWire M&A Awards recognize and celebrate industry experts and dealmakers from across the world.

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Buyside Perspective

As stated on Benchmark International’s website, our perspective makes us different. We strive to help clients reach their maximum value for the sale of their business. To accomplish that goal, it’s important to also have good buyside perspective.

Buyers look at companies differently than sellers and some advisors. Certainly, a company’s financials are a common barometer for both sides to gage a company’s performance and success. And cultural fit is a must. Beyond those metrics; however, buyers prioritize characteristics to mitigate investment risk. These characteristics include, scalability, stability, resiliency, and the ability to grow.

Scalability is about a company’s ability to accommodate growth – to behave as a larger entity. Some acquisitions result in smaller companies becoming part of much larger organizations. The new structure sometimes brings new processes, systems, and reporting requirements. These changes in scale can introduce risk if personnel lack the bandwidth, appetite, skills, or resources to ramp up. Buyers seek assurance that the team is adaptable and capable of scaling.

Many investors also seek stability. The project-based business with wild swings in revenues or heavy seasonality, for example, presents significant challenges in performance, planning, and execution. For most investors, consistency is vital and this is often tied to a company’s revenue model. This is a key reason why buyers prefer recurring revenue models. For industrial services businesses, long-term or preventive maintenance contracts provide recurring revenue. Many equipment manufacturers have transitioned to providing a service rather than hardware. For example, some compressor manufacturers retain the physical asset and provide an “air as a service” guarantee for a monthly fee. And software companies achieve this by transitioning to a subscription, or software as a service (SaaS) model. Together with a “sticky” customer base – high switching costs or risk – these all provide a level of revenue stability that might otherwise be absent.

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BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL FACILITATES THE ACQUISITION OF UBEO TO SENTINEL CAPITAL PARTNERS

Benchmark International is pleased to announce it has successfully facilitated the sale of UBEO Business Services to Sentinel Capital Partners. Retained as sell side advisors, Benchmark International tasked its US Major Transactions Team with professionals based both in Austin, Texas and Tampa, Florida to spearhead this deal. Benchmark International’s Major Transactions Team handles company sales with enterprise values in excess of $100 million.

UBEO, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a provider of best-in-class document management equipment and related services. UBEO facilitates business technology integration by offering the newest, best, and most innovative ideas in hardware and software solutions to its customer base of approximately 6,000 mid-sized businesses, schools, and municipalities. With a team of more than 225 salespeople, technicians, and support staff, UBEO sells and services globally-recognized copier and printer equipment in major Texas metropolitan markets and operates seven sales sites serving the San Antonio, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston metropolitan areas.

Jim Sheffield, President and CEO of UBEO, said "We are very proud of the reputation we have built. UBEO outperforms its competition in the service categories that our customers value most – technical capability, service quality, and on-time delivery. Partnering with Sentinel well positions us for our next phase of profitable growth."

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Austin, Texas Proves to be an Engineering Hotspot

We’ve all heard it, the best measurement of a city’s growth is the number of cranes and projects going up. We’ve all heard buzzwords about Austin, TX being an “IT” city, but it’s not just Austin that is sprawling with new developments and high-rises. Stop and think about this type of buzzing activity throughout a 70 mile stretch from San Antonio, the home of the Alamo, to Austin-Roundrock. This, my friends, is the I-35 corridor, a stretch of interstate highway that connects San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin and Dallas. Almost everyone has benefited one way or another from the massive growth happening in the region. Better jobs, more activities for the young professionals, and an overall increased quality of life. The growth in the region has, of course, brought upon Central Texas its unique set of challenges that one does not think of
right away.

No, it is not practically unaffordable real estate and rent. The biggest challenge lies in making these interconnected cities feel like home 24/7. Going home sure in the knowledge that the roads will be safe, our lights will turn on, and that water will flow when we take a shower after a long jog in Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake for you non-Austinites).


With the increased growth in population over last decade, the Central Texas region, that is known as the i-35 Corridor, has experienced its unique set of challenges. While home builders and apartment complexes make fortunes from overpriced property values, there is an unsung hero behind the scenes: the engineers who make all this growth possible. As mentioned previously, everyone expects their roads to be safe, their lights to turn on, and their water to run. In Texas, these are all major engineering feats. No, we’re not just flatland sitting on enormous oil and gas reserves. Central Texas is home to the Hill Country, one of nature’s gifts to the world; and as its name implies, it has plenty of hills.

So, how does one exactly get water to flow up the hill? Well, we didn’t know the answer either, and quite frankly, we still don’t, but some of the Benchmark International teammates live on top of hills. So, not having water up there would be a problem. Engineering firms in Texas have long solved problems before the growth spurt in Central Texas. The Colorado River dam for example, or the Houston Port.

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Benchmark International is Showered in Recognition

2018 has proven to be a year of great activity for Benchmark International. Benchmark International won awards from Corporate LiveWire, ACQ5, and International Advisory Experts. These awards are proof of the commitment Benchmark International places on setting the standard for quality performance and client satisfaction.

2018 MID-MARKET M&A FIRM OF THE YEAR

Corporate LiveWire awarded Benchmark International with the 2018 Mid-Market M&A Firm of the Year. As stated on their website “Corporate LiveWire provides business professionals and individuals in the corporate finance sector with information on the latest news and developments from around the globe. The resource offers regular up to date information on an array of subject areas such as corporate transactions, international markets, business strategy and changes in legislation.”

The Global Winner’s publication, by Corporate LiveWire, will be distributed to more than 90,000 businesses and professionals. Benchmark International will be a featured listing in this publication. The organization accepts nominations from its readers and analyzes industry best practices and track records for success when considering candidates for awards. Moreover, a third-party panel of judges is used to determine the final winners for the various award categories. The Corporate LiveWire Awards identifies the successes of businesses, finance firms and individuals who have led the way in every sector across the corporate finance world. Corporate LiveWire readers nominated Benchmark International, and after a review by the judging panel and the number of nominations considered, Benchmark International was chosen as the winner of this prestigious recognition.

INTERNATIONAL MID-MARKET CORPORATE FINANCE ADVISORY OF THE YEAR 2018

ACQ5 is a leading corporate magazine and news site. It is a finance sector news source for CEOs and CFOs and other corporate finance and private equity executives from all corners of the globe. ACQ5 hosts a legitimately independent nomination process and all award winners are chosen by the industry itself. Benchmark International was chosen as the International Mid-Market Corporate Finance Advisory of
the year.

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The Rise of Digital Acquisitions

Acquiring digital companies has become increasingly commonplace, with 2018 being no exception. The year has already seen a number of digital companies acquired, and these were not necessarily by those who operate in the same sector. Traditional retailers, for example, have been acquisitive in this area, particularly as they wish to gain access to next generation technology, as well as new capabilities.

Examples include Nordstrom, which acquired two digital companies, BevyUp and MessageYes. BevyUp facilitates communication between sales associates and encourages shoppers to share information with each other. MessageYes sends personalised notifications to shoppers, allowing brands to text customers.

Another traditional retailer also pursuing digital companies is Target, which acquired Shipt and has assisted it with offering a same-day delivery service.

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Benchmark International's Major Transactions

Selling a business is a daunting venture for all business owners. It involves a lot of feelings and requires a lot of diligence and focus. Benchmark International are mid-market mergers and acquisitions specialists dedicated to sellers who are looking to exit their businesses. One team that is a part of the Benchmark International family is the Major Transactions team. The individuals who work in this area are skilled and prepared to work on acquisitions valued $100 million or more.

“With deals of this caliber, you always have to be prepared for speed-bumps. Forming a positive relationship with the seller early on is essential. They need to have confidence in your ability, and you need to reinforce that in all that you do,” stated Managing Director Kendall Stafford. Stafford plays a lead role in the Major Transactions team for Benchmark International. She explained the diversity of the team makes it strong. ‘When you have people with different strengths working together on the same deal, you cover all your bases. It really makes the transaction process run more efficiently.”

Staffordexplained the most rewarding part of being a leader on the Major Transactions team is knowing that she really gets to make an impact on the growth of individual businesses. “These businesses have the potential to grow into billion-dollar businesses, and we can say we were a part of that.”

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Benchmark's US Anniversaries

As Benchmark International ventures into another year of service in the US, some employees have been along for the ride. This year marks another milestone for the following individuals. As Benchmark International instills in its team and philosophy that they “leave no stone unturned,” these Benchmark International team members do exactly that. Benchmark International gave each employee a brief interview and found out how they have grown professionally and what they see in store in the coming years. This is what they had to say:

Senior Associate, Emily Cogley, stated “Six years at any firm is a true testament to the strength of the company and loyalty of the employee. I enjoy being a part of a hardworking firm that often handles one of the most important decisions for our sellers in their lifetime.” Ms. Cogley has been a part of Benchmark International in the US since its inception. As such, she has seen the growth of the company and has had the opportunity to grow alongside it. “We opened offices in Austin [Texas] and Nashville [Tennessee] in the last two years. I am looking forward to helping the Tampa-based headquarters grow or helping start another Benchmark office in a new city,” she said.

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What Are My Options If I Can No Longer Run My Business?

You’ve just walked your client outside and thanked them for stopping by, another successful day of work accomplished. You lock the front door of your establishment and your phone rings. It’s your wife. She’s calling to let you know the test results you had been anticipating from the doctor came in. The doctor regrets to inform the family that the results showed your wife does, in fact, have cancer. Your heart stops as her following words become a blur.

Your immediate reaction is “I need to get home now.” You don’t know how to bring her comfort. You feel helpless; there isn’t a cure for cancer. There are treatments, but you don’t even know what her prognosis is yet. A flood of emotions fill you as all your responsibilities come to the surface of your mind. “My wife is sick, and she needs me. My business can’t run itself. My bills won’t pay themselves. The work won’t do itself. What am I going to do?”

We like to think scenarios like this will never befall us; unfortunately, they can, and they do. There are things that can come up in life at any time without warning, and we need to know our options. As a business owner, encountering a turn of life events such as this might give you a new perspective on what’s important to you. You might want to spend more time focusing on your family and less time on the business. You need to know that you have various options to achieve this goal, and each option has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some options if you want to take a step back from your business quickly:

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What are EBITDA Multiples?

Adjusted EBITDA is a term often used in mergers and acquisitions. EBITDA is defined as “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.” It is the net income of a business plus interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization added to it. Adjusted EBITDA “adds-back” expenses a current owner may run through a business that do not reflect the typical costs to support operations. Typical add-backs include expenses that: 1) may be unusual or linked to a certain event (like a bad debt write-off or expenses related to move the business); 2) are at the discretion of the current owner (for example, payments to a spouse or child that is not active in the business); or 3) compensation to an owner or family member that may be more than the cost to replace the duties performed by that person. Typically, historical figures for adjusted EBITDA are used as a proxy to reflect the income stream a business will generate in the future.

Why is adjusted EBITDA important? Because it is commonly used to calculate, or impute, the value that is being put on a business. Value is a product of multiplying adjusted EBITDA by an EBITDA multiple. Value = An Income Stream times a Multiple. Conversely, Value divided by an Income Stream (like EBITDA) = Multiple. This is the same concept as a price to earnings multiple in the stock market. However, in the world of mergers and acquisitions, adjusted EBITDA is the income stream commonly used to determine value.

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Benchmark International Has Successfully Facilitated the Sale of CSM Storage & Archives Limited to OASIS Group

Posted on May 23, 2018 By in UK Deals + UK M&A

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of CSM to OASIS.

CSM is a provider of storage for confidential archive material, confidential data and document destruction services. The company also provides services such as file and box retrieval, unit/furniture storage and an ISO accredited document scanning and digitalisation service. Operating around Central London from a freehold premises, the company is ideally placed to serve hospitals, legal firms and architects.

Operating in the records and information management (RIM) industry, OASIS stores information securely, controlling costs, staying ahead of regulatory requirements and creating value from clients' stored information. Services include records management and document storage, scanning and digital access solutions, data protection services and media vault, shredding and destruction, business continuity and GDPR solutions, and industry solutions. A company operating in Western Europe, OASIS has more than 30 locations across five countries: Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, and Belgium.

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Tags: UK Deals, UK M&A

South Africa Team Expands Operations into Johannesburg

The Benchmark South African Office has experienced extraordinary growth in the ten months following the company’s investment in Cape Town in response to demand to grow the African operations. The team is therefore proud to announce the opening of its Johannesburg office, the largest city in South Africa and one of the 50 largest urban areas globally.

Strategically, this expansion positions the company’s additional operations near the heart of the country’s wealthiest province, a full three months ahead of schedule. The early establishment of an office in this node was a decision necessitated by the level of activity Benchmark is engaged in with clients and buyers alike, and demonstrates the company’s continued
commitment and growing presence on the continent.

As a country, and in the context of Emerging Markets, South Africa has unparalleled potential as a destination for direct investment and features as one of the most dynamic and rewarding emerging market economies across the globe. As an M&A target region South Africa was recently ranked as the 28th most attractive destination for inbound M&A transactions globally. (According to Zephyr, a product of Bureau van Dijk).

Benchmark International’s Johannesburg office is headed up by Johann Haasbroek who, having worked with many of the current Benchmark team in the past, has extensive M&A, Corporate Finance and Banking experience.

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