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Getting Down To Brass Tax

You’ve probably noticed by now that Benchmark International is growing. Geographic expansion is the most obvious outward sign of our growth. We didn’t reinvent the wheel of corporate strategy. Given the current economic climate, many other organizations are expanding geographically as well. They’re looking to capture a greater share of their existing markets, penetrate new markets, and attract new talent amongst many other things. These decisions, in terms of geographic expansion, are usually more calculated than many of us would or will ever realize.

While organizations are expanding geographically, many of these organizations are relocating their headquarters altogether. There are a few easily discernible and comprehensible considerations for expansion/relocation with many of them relating to taxation. We’ve witnessed the exodus from the Northeast to the South, really since the commercialization of air conditioning, but now we are seeing movement from all directions into the South. Quite frankly, the tax landscape is much friendlier in the South.

The multi-billion dollar leasing giant Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) announced in 2013 that they were relocating from Park Ridge, NJ to Estero, FL. They distinctly noted that the cost of doing business in New Jersey had become too much in comparison to other states such as Florida. In fact, the state of Florida and Lee County offered Hertz $84mm in tax credits. Florida’s corporate tax rate is noticeably more appealing at 5.5% compared to New Jersey’s 9%. Another selling point was Florida’s income tax rate of 0% in comparison to New Jersey’s bracketed income tax up to 8.97%. You might ask, why would income tax rates factor into Hertz or any company’s decision to expand or relocate? Well, Florida’s 0% income tax has been a noticeable driver behind its population growth. Consequently, the talent pool is expanding rapidly and the talent pool is undoubtedly a draw for a multi-billion dollar organization like Hertz. Between the glaring differences in tax rates, the county and state tax credits offered, and many other tax factors not discussed here (property tax for instance), it was an easy decision for Hertz to relocate.

Another case of corporate relocation to the South is that of CKE Restaurants. You’re probably familiar with their Frisco Thickburger making fast-food restaurants: Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. They announced in 2016 that they were consolidating their St. Louis, MO and Carpinteria, CA corporate offices and moving them to Franklin, TN. Much like Hertz’s case, the tax implications were too great to ignore. California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84% in comparison to 6.5% for Tennessee. Tennessee’s income tax rate is 0% (with the exception of dividends) in comparison to California’s bracketed income tax up to a staggering 12.3%.

We could discuss at length several other advantages, especially relating to taxation, of expanding or relocating to the South, but these are just some of the most transparent ones. Barring a dramatic philosophical shift in tax philosophy in the South, it seems that we’ll continue to witness substantial business growth for big and small businesses alike.

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of Residential Air Conditioning Services LLC to Coastland Enterprises LLC DBA Temperature Pro

Benchmark International has successfully represented Residential Air Conditioning Services LLC in their sale to Coastland Enterprises LLC DBA Temperature Pro. Residential Air Conditioning Services, LLC provides AC service, repair, and AC installation, as well as heating repair in Houston, Texas. The company services and installs all brands of HVAC-R equipment for commercial and residential customers as well as for new construction.

The Benchmark International team worked hard to find a buyer that would be a good fit for Residential Air Conditioning Services, LLC. Ultimately, the team found a buyer that was looking to expand its market share in the Houston area, and they got the client the best value for his business. The acquirer, TemperaturePro®, is a growing professional air conditioning and heating service with many locations throughout the United States.

Lance Abney, owner of Residential Air Conditioning Services, LLC stated “Working with Benchmark International allowed me to achieve my exit goals within an appropriate timeline. The team at Benchmark International’s Austin office was able to reach out to a multitude of buyers to find a deal that fit my needs. I would recommend using Benchmark International to anyone looking to sell their business.”

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Gregory Jackson Named CEO of the Year by Corporate Insider

Benchmark International’s Global CEO, Gregory Jackson, has been named the CEO of the Year by Corporate Insider for their 2018 M&A Awards. This marks the seventh award for Benchmark International this year and a second individual award for Mr. Jackson.

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Photos from the M&A Advisor Awards 2018

The M&A Advisor has named Benchmark International the winner of the North American Deal of the Year and the Financials Deal of the Year for their 10th Annual International M&A Awards. Here are some photos from the event:

FINANCIALS DEAL OF THE YEAR
Acquisition of Silexx Financial Systems by Chicago Board Options Exchange

The acquisition of Silexx Financial Systems by Chicago Board Options Exchange was chosen as the Financials Deal of the Year. Managing Director, Dara Shareef, steered this deal through to the end. He said what made this deal unique was the client’s acknowledgment that to get the best deal he possibly could, he knew he needed to use a mergers and acquisitions firm.

NORTH AMERICAN DEAL OF THE YEAR
Acquisition of Gasco Afilliates, LLC by Tech Air

The sale of Gasco Afilliates, LLC to Tech Air was chosen at the North American Deal of the Year. Managing Director, Tyrus O’Neill headed the team that closed this transaction. He said it took a lot of tenacity and determination to get the client the best possible value for the company. 

The Benchmark International Team at the M&A Advisor Awards 2018 in New York:

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Lightning Package Client Testimonial {video}

 

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of Lightning Package to Bunzl.
Watch the client testimonial video here: https://vimeo.com/277326226

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I Need Capital to Grow My Business, Where do I Start?

It takes capital to start a business and it takes capital to grow a business. However, when you have exhausted your personal reserves, what are your options? There are a handful of ways additional capital can be gained to continue the growth of your business. Simply put, there are four categories that most types of capital fall into when you’re looking to grow your business: your own revenue, debt, public equity, and private equity options.

Your Own Revenue

Most start-ups begin from your own pocket. This might be a good way to get the ball rolling, and you can hit up friends and family for additional funds along the way as well. As long as your business grows at a steady pace, this might even be a reasonable ongoing source of capital as it encourages organic growth. This capital pool allows you to stay in control and if the business changes, you can make adjustments accordingly.

Using your own revenue to grow the business allows you to remain in control, but it may take longer to reach your growth objectives. Opportunities could potentially be lost because there is not enough available capital to take on new projects. Additionally, if you spend all your time and money concentrating on growth, you may never get to see the full value of your work because all your profits are going back into the business.

Debt

All businesses have some sort of debt whether from a bank loan, credit card loan, or mortgage for a business property. You just need to decide how you plan to use debt to help your business grow. Using debt allows you to grow your business without giving away any of your ownership in the business. Taking on debt for new equipment, for example, will increase your company productivity and allow you to pay down the loan quicker.

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The Drained Business Owner: How to Gain Your Start-Up Passion Back

Running a business is a romantic fantasy built on expectations of immediate gratification. People who venture on their own to start a new business are excited by the prospect of creating their own schedules and doing what they love. The hard work necessary; however, to build a business up and keep it running are often underestimated. Many business owners reach a point of burnout and lose their original passion. This is something that is hard to envision from the start because of the initial excitement.

As a business grows, the responsibilities of the owner often shift from doing what he set out to do: his passion, to doing behind-the-office tasks such as HR tasks, managerial tasks, dealing with legal issues, operational issues, etc. The more the business grows, the more the owner gets enveloped in these tasks. It can be disheartening to get separated from one’s passions, but how can one be reunited with the tasks he knows and loves?

If you feel you aren’t as close to your passions as you were before, there are some strategies you can implement into your business and your life to help you regain control of those passions and utilize them again.

 Take Some Regular Time for You

It is important to stay connected with yourself to maintain balance and obtain satisfaction in what you do. So, make time to do things you enjoy. Start a new hobby; start exercising regularly; watch a new movie; read a book. You need time for you and you need time to unwind and relax, so you can start each day with a fresh outlook. We have all heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s true. If you are not giving time to yourself and being mindful of your individual needs, you won’t perform your best in your business. Relaxation breeds innovation. A maxed-out body and mind cannot perform well. You will get burned out and your passion will dwindle.

 Set Boundaries, and Stick to Them

Work is just that: work. So, set specific time frames for work. This is related to needing time for yourself, but this is also related to having a set routine. Work stress can spill over into your life at home if you don’t set boundaries. Things run smoother when you separate your work life and your personal life. Consider not taking any work-related phone calls after a specific time, and decide a maximum number of hours you will dedicate to the business each weekend.

Be diligent in doing this and make it a priority. Odds are you won’t be any more useful to the business by forcing yourself to stay late and go on little-to-no sleep day in and day out. That will make you burnout even faster.

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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 M&A + UK Deals

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 M&A, UK Deals

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 M&A + UK Deal Making + Success

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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