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Benchmark International Completes the Sale of John Dwyer Bakery Limited to Bridgwater Bros. Holdings Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of a Rugby-based family bakery firm to Bridgwater Bros.

Founded in 1986 by John and Jacqueline Dwyer, John Dwyer Bakery produces, supplies and delivers one-off and batch baked goods to supermarkets, schools, universities and catering companies.

The acquisition increases Bridgwater Bros’ portfolio of companies to twelve and enables the buyer to focus on expanding on its existing food company, The UK Foodhall, a producer of quality British frozen food. In Bridgwater Bros and The UK Foodhall, Benchmark International sourced an acquirer that adhered to the same values and traditions that have made John Dwyer Bakery a success and all parties involved are looking forward to the future under new ownership.

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Benchmark International’s Nick Hulme Named as One of the UK’s Most Active Financial Advisers

The latest league table for H1 2018 by Mergermarket, part of Acuris, has named Benchmark International’s Nick Hulme as one of the top financial advisers in the UK, placing joint third and advising on six deals.

The review looked at the most prolific advisers in the UK by the number of deals conducted over USD 5m, with Benchmark International placing above firms such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

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Benchmark International Advises on the Sale of VCUK Services Ltd & VCUK Ltd to Communicate Better Limited

Posted on July 27, 2018 By in UK M&A + UK Deals

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of South Wales based VCUK Services and VCUK (trading as Vision Communications) to technology provider, Communicate Better.

The acquisition of telecommunications company, Vision Communications, will enhance its product portfolio of telephony, IT, and vehicle telematics, whilst it retains its brand, management and staff.

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Tags: UK M&A, UK Deals

US Hive of Deal Activity from Increasing Outbound Investment

Statistics for H2 2018 have shown that the US is a hotspot for deal activity as it has been the recipient of increasing outbound investment, particularly within North West England as, according to Deloitte, nearly 40 per cent of the North West’s transactions involved a US company.

The US’ position as an attractive prospect for investment was highlighted by the A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index’s 2018 report, as it topped the table for FDI for the sixth consecutive year, as well as secured a higher score than the previous year.

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4 Things I Can Do to Replace Myself in my Business

As a business owner, you sacrifice a great deal of time and hard work to bring your business to success. As the business grows, your workload does too. You start in the front driving innovation and sales, then you end up in the shadows working on daily operational tasks, often obligatory, just to keep things afloat. You know you’re needed to keep the business running, but you want to make sure it continues to operate efficiently if you aren’t around.

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Benchmark International Advises on The Sale of American Precision Fabricators to Apline 4 Technologies, LTD.

The acquisition of American Precision Fabricators Inc. to Apline 4 Technologies, Ltd. is complete. 

American Precision Fabricators Inc. is located out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and it is a steel-sheet manufacturing business. It provides assemblies and sub-assmeblies to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The company supplies several industries with fabricated parts that it creates in-house. It offers several production capabilities with its state-of-the-art machinery. For over two decades, the company has been an industry leader for customers in the OEM markets.

Apline 4 Technologies, Ltd. (ALPP) is a publicly traded enterprise with business-related endeavors in software, automotive technologies, electronics manufacturing, energy services and fabrication technologies, and industries that support those market segments. This acquisition was important for Apline 4 Technologies to complete its industry platform strategy.

President of American Precision Fabricators, Andy Galbach, said “Pulling Alpine and APF together would not have happened without Benchmark International’s reach and knowledge of the market. As a first time seller, the team at Benchmark International guided me all the way, from preparing to go to market to the actual closing table. The team was always responsive and always willing to help when needed. I would recommend any seller to engage Benchmark International for the sale of their business.”

Benchmark International Senior Associate, Luis Vinals, shared his thoughts on this transaction: "The Austin, Texas team truly enjoyed working with Andy in preparing the business to market and managing buyer relationships," he said. " We were always conscious that time was of the essence in this deal, and we focused our efforts in finding the right buyer within our client’s time expectations.”

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of HiWAAY Information Services to 1stPoint Communications

Information Services. Since 1995 HiWAAY has provided hosting and email services, data center colocation, internet access and private network services to subscribers from its facilities in Alabama.

"The acquisition of HiWAAY’s assets builds on the success we have had with the acquisition of WebSite Source,” said Erik Levitt, 1stPoint’s CEO. “Access to retail subscribers is a very important part of our business plan. The HiWAAY name is well known in the local market and will provide us the building blocks that we need to service the marketplace in the southeastern United States, which we see as strategically important.”

1stPoint will continue to operate the HiWAAY facility in Homewood and will add the facility to its MPLS network, adding a number of private networking resources to HiWAAY’s existing products. The new services offered to HiWAAY clients will include 1stPoint’s line of collaboration tools, business texting, and more advanced hosting offerings including its virtual desktop environment. HiWAAY services, including email spam protection, will be added to other 1stPoint product offerings.

“This is a great outcome for the customers, employees, and the owners of HiWAAY,” said Jason Mohprasit, one of HiWAAY’s two owners. Mr. Mohprasit and Mr. Chris Campbell grew HiWAAY from 2010 to 2018, migrating the business from a dial-up and DSL provider into an advanced hosting provider. “We are very excited to see 1stPoint’s team take the business to the next level,” added Mr. Campbell.

Benchmark International represented HiWAAY in the transaction and was responsible for the introduction to 1stPoint.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this transaction” said Robert West, Senior Associate at Benchmark. “The transaction went smoothly and we hope that we can work with Benchmark on future projects,” added Levitt. Benchmark provides growth and exit strategies to businesses interested in creating transformative events.

“We welcome the HiWAAY team and look forward to working with the clients and expanding our relationship with them,” added Kristen Vasicek, the Director of Marketing for 1stPoint, who was involved in the acquisition. “HiWAAY’s reputation as being an outstanding service provider with a nationwide capability but a local touch will help us continue to establish our New Way to Work strategy.”

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Benchmark international Facilitates the Acquisition of Urban Design Group PC to Dunaway Associates LP

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Urban Design Group PC to Dunaway Associates LP. Benchmark International worked hard to find a buyer that was a good cultural fit for the business and would allow each of the three principals achieve their personal goals.

Urban Design Group PC is a Texas-based professional firm that provides a full range of civil engineering, urban design, and surveying services to a diverse group of clientele in the Austin market. UDG has been "shaping the urban environment" since 1981. UDG brings 37 years of engineering experience to the Austin, Texas area, and this experience will be beneficial in the years to come through their new partnership.

A professional services company with over 60 years of delivering results and an expansive footprint in the state of Texas, Dunaway was an obvious choice for a buyer. Dunaway provides services including civil engineering, structural engineering, planning and landscape architecture, environmental and surveying. The acquisition of UDG will provide Dunaway with surveying and planning operations , two services the firm offered in its other offices but were missing in Austin.

Laura Toups of Urban Design Group stated “The Benchmark International Austin team brought invaluable results to this transaction for us. They put our personal and professional objectives at the front of their objectives in driving this deal through to the end. They presented us with a variety of potential buyers to fit our needs. In the end, they were able to provide a buyer that would culturally align with our vision. We would highly recommend the Benchmark International team of experts to anyone planning to successfully exit their business.”

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Mergers and Acquisitions in the Architecture and Engineering Industry

Over the last few years the architecture and engineering industry has seen a marked increase in mergers and acquisitions activity. Since reemerging from the depths of the recession, the industry has been ripe with activity; with everything from the expansion of the ever growing reach of firms like DLR, Perkins & Will, and HOK, to the merging of small businesses to facilitate the retirement goals of local industry experts. Considering there is typically a few year lag between economic fluctuations and corresponding changes in M&A activity, as the bull market run is approaching nine years, this type of inorganic growth activity shows no signs of slowing down.

As an industry agnostic mergers and acquisition leader, Benchmark International is in touch with leaders from a variety of industries on a daily basis. We’ve seen significant movement from corporate development teams in a number of industries which are beginning to expand their services to grow not only their customer base, but also to gain additional wallet share of their existing clients. This type of cross pollination has occurred in interior design, surveying, construction, architecture, engineering, and technology. We currently are in the midst of closing a transaction which would allow a specialized electrical engineer which focuses on the commercial and healthcare markets to broaden their end market to include the hospitality sector, and their service offerings to include the upstream design, planning, and engineering components of a building’s IT infrastructure needs.

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11 Reasons to Have the Exit Conversation

When the mention of selling your business comes up, you might feel a little uneasy about starting the discussion. Your business is your baby, and the thought of letting go can be overwhelming. The truth is; however, failing to plan is a plan to fail when it comes to your business exit strategy. You need to have an exit strategy in place for your business. Everyone thinks of their future, but they don’t always take active steps in the present to prepare for what they want tomorrow. There are many reasons why you should discuss when and how to exit your business. Here are eleven reasons to have the exit conversation now:

1) Anything can happen at any time – This is so true. We cannot anticipate what will happen unexpectedly. For this reason, you need to have an emergency exit plan in place. What will you do if you have something happen that requires you to step down from your business quickly?

2) Family obligations are taking more time from the business – Business owners run businesses and have families all the time, but depending on the size of your business and the size of your family, you may need to spend more time away from the business. If you don’t have a team in place that can run the business without you for a few days, exiting might be your best bet.

If obligations, such as an ill family member, or a lot of educational or extracurricular commitments for your children are taking from your time, you could experience a negative shift in the dynamic of your business. A strategic partner can help you free up some time for your family while still allowing you to take an active part in your business’s growth. This type of partnership doesn’t require an immediate exit from your business and allows you to discuss an end-goal for this exit strategy with the partner you join.

3) Personal health issues are pulling you away from the business – When your personal health is in decline, it can be difficult to continue running the business. A business owner doesn’t need the undue stress caused by juggling an illness and the company.

Furthermore, if you find your health declining, or the health of a close loved-one, your priorities might change. Your view on where your time needs to be spent might be more focused on your personal relationships versus constantly working on growing your business.

Again, spending your time away from the business will have a direct negative effect on your revenue and daily operations. This makes the goal of achieving maximum value more challenging. Therefore, having an exit plan is essential.

4) You don’t have anyone in place to take over the business – You’re a great leader, and you run your business like a well-oiled machine. However, what happens when you’re gone? You need to have a plan in place. If you find your children aren’t interested in taking over, or if you don’t have any children, or if you don’t have a manager in place to take over, you need to know what you will do when it’s time to leave your business behind.

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Why Now is the Time to Sell to Private Equity as a Small Enterprise

Recent data from the Centre of Management Buy-Out (CMBOR) at Imperial College Business School, in association with Investec and Equistone Partners Europe, has shown that the number of small buy-out (sub-€10m enterprise value) private equity backed transactions have nearly doubled in the UK from H2 2017 to H1 2018, rising from 24 to 48 deals. Statistics also show that there has been strong growth in Europe, increasing by 26 per cent to 168 deals.

The north of England has also shown promising statistics in terms of deal value, increasing from £25m in H1 2017 to £28m in H1 2018.

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of Technical Resource Group to White Wolf Capital, LLC.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the sale of Technical Resource Group to White Wolf Capital, LLC. Technical Resource Group is a Texas-based IT Staffing firm that provides contract, contract-to-hire, and direct hire placement services to technical professionals in a number of industries, including transportation, IT, food, financial, healthcare, and government.

White Wolf Capital, LLC is a private equity firm that began operations in late 2011 and is focused on making control-investments in leading middle market companies. It practices a solutions-oriented and flexible investment approach with experience in leverage buyouts, management buyouts and recapitalizations.

In reference to the transaction, Scott Clary, owner of Technical Resource Group, explained his experience with Benchmark International. “I never thought there would be such an aggressive market for my company. The Benchmark International team was very professional and knowledgeable throughout the entire process. Having an experienced M&A advisor, like Benchmark International, allowed us to solely focus on top-quality buyers in the market for our company” he said. “In addition, the Benchmark International team also ensured that any buyers they presented culturally aligned with the values my company stands by.”

Benchmark International Director, Luis Vinals, added “Having a client like Scott, a man who loves his business, is always a joy. Throughout the entire process, he was communicative and collaborative. With the Benchmark Team at his side, Scott was able to procure the deal he desired. Open communication allowed us to have strategic conversations that ultimately lead to a great deal for our client.”

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Life After Sale

There are a myriad of reasons why you might look to sell your company: retirement, further resources are required to grow, or it is an opportunistic time. Whatever the reason, this is likely to be the pinnacle of your career as the amount of time and money invested into your business will come to fruition when it sells, securing the future for you and your family.

But what happens after a sale? The business which you have invested years into, and the place where you spent the majority of your time, has passed on to somebody else. You may have made a tidy sum of money from the sale, which many people would be satisfied with as they may never have to work again and be able to live in the lap of luxury, but once the holiday of a lifetime has been taken, what then?

And what about how the company will thrive going forward? This is maybe something that you have grown from the beginning, and you want to see its continued success, as well as ensure the future of your employees who have been loyal to you.

At Benchmark International, we understand that there is life after the sale of a business and so structure a shareholder’s exit to suit both them, and the welfare of the company going forward.

The following are companies which Benchmark International has sold and structured the deal to allow for a successful life after a sale for both the shareholder(s) and the business.
ROC NORTHWEST

ROC Northwest had been established for nine years before the shareholders, Hilary and Glyn Waterhouse, decided to sell. They had built up a company which provided education, residential, and domiciliary care services to young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, learning and physical disabilities, and those with challenging behaviour issues, from seven properties throughout the north west of the UK.

They had a vested interest in ensuring that the company was sold to the right acquirer, not just to ensure that the welfare of the young people in their care was maintained, but also to ensure that the staff that had been loyal to them remained in employment. As such, a large number of interested parties were presented to ROC Northwest and the shareholders were able to choose the acquirer which best fit their ideals. Commenting on the acquirer’s plans going forward, Glyn said:

“We actually sold the company to a firm called CareTech Holdings PLC. They wanted to keep our managers, they wanted to keep the staff, they wanted to keep the homes. In fact, they didn’t want to change anything about the business. It was very important because once you start a business from scratch, you want that business to succeed; you’ve got loyalty from your staff, and you want the staff to be in place and have their jobs, so it was very important that we found a buyer that followed that ethos and allowed us to continue the hard work that we were doing.”

The shareholders at ROC Northwest wished to sell the company as they were looking at other business opportunities and wanted to spend more time together as a family. As this was the case, Benchmark International negotiated a seven figure deal with the majority forming a cash payment on completion. Now, Hilary has been able to purchase an equine business and has a total of eleven horses, growing from two.

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Benchmark International Wins ‘Best for Acquisition, Growth & Exit Strategies 2018’ in the UK Enterprise Awards

Benchmark International is delighted to announce that it has been named by SME News as ‘Best for Acquisition, Growth & Exit Strategies 2018’ in its UK Enterprise Awards.

Part of AI Global Media, the international provider of corporate news and information, SME News produces quarterly publications with the latest news, features and deals across the UK SME landscape.

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When Do I Tell My Employees I'm Selling?

The thought of selling your business has been on your mind for quite some time, and now you have made the decision to sell. The business is ready to go and you have been working with your advisor to bring in a suitable buyer. The offer comes in and you have signed a letter of intent. The process is in motion, and this is what you have been waiting for, but what about your employees? Your exit plan has been on your mind, but your employees probably haven’t given much thought to what will happen if and when you exit the business. You have a couple options when it comes to sharing the news of your business sale to your employees.

Share Nothing:

Some business owners opt to not share the decision to sell with their employees at all. This option can be viewed as inconsiderate, but it does alleviate the risk of a mass exodus from the company. There are pros and cons to any decision, but not telling your employees right away and keeping information for yourself allows you to keep them from undue stress.

It’s important to protect the integrity of the deal and the company. This means you need to keep details under wraps. If you spill the beans to your employees, there is no guarantee that the information will stay within your company, and it could be concerning for your client base if they catch a whiff of the pending sale.

This doesn’t mean you can’t put things in place to protect your employees through a transition, of course. You just need to pay attention to their needs and ask your advisor what your options are in a sale. If you choose this route, you need to be prepared to extinguish any rumors and answer employee questions the best you can if they notice any changes taking place.

Keep Them in the Loop:

Some owners think the best policy is to be transparent with employees from the outset. The decision to sell has been made, and you are exploring options. So, you want to inform your employees what’s going on. You can be up front with employees and let them know of your plans to sell and your desire to find the right buyer for the company who will instill the same values you hold as a business leader.

This will need to be handled delicately, so your employees will remain comfortable throughout the process. You will need to drive home the initiative that you are doing what is best for the company as a whole and selling the business doesn’t mean the end of the business but rather the growth of the business. It is important to keep the conversation positive, so your employees will get on board with your plans.

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Benchmark International's Luis Vinals Announced as Winner of the 9th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards

The M&A Advisor announced the winners of the Emerging Leaders Awards on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. The M&A Advisor, renowned globally for its recognition of leading M&A, financing and turnaround professionals, created this event to promote mentorship and professional development amongst the emerging business leaders. Luis Vinals was chosen from a pool of nominees by an independent judging panel of distinguished business leaders.

“The Annual M&A Advisor Emerging Leaders Awards was born as the 40 Under 40 Awards in the United States in 2010 to recognize and celebrate the achievements of young M&A, Financing and Turnaround professionals who had reached a significant level of success and made a notable contribution to their industry and community. With the expansion of the Emerging Leaders program to the United Kingdom, and Europe in 2016, the 2018 US award winners join a truly global network of outstanding young professionals,” said David Fergusson, President and Co-CEO of The M&A Advisor.

On Friday, September 14th, 2018 The M&A Advisor will host a black tie Awards Gala at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan to introduce the Emerging Leaders Award Winners to the business community and celebrate their achievements. The Awards Gala is a feature of the 2018 Emerging Leaders Summit – an exclusive event pairing current and past Emerging Leaders winners together with their peers and industry stalwarts.

Luis Vinals is a Transaction Director at Benchmark International. He leads a team of analysts to help achieve Benchmark International’s clients’ goals of growing or exiting their businesses. Luis has experience in many different industries including, importing/exporting, specialty manufacturing, business services, etc. Luis’s experience in international trade and banking provides a unique perspective to the various transactions that he leads.

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Dry Powder in Private Equity: A Struggle to Spend or a Welcome Resource?

Dry powder is currently a hot topic within the private equity industry because the levels of dry powder are at a record high since the financial crisis, with over $1T of committed capital available.

It is the term used for the amount of cash reserves or liquid assets used by an investor for investment purposes, but has not yet been deployed and there are a number of reasons why there is an excess. In part, there are surplus cash reserves as a result of the strength of fundraising – more cash risen, more cash reserves. However, this is a tale of two halves as private equity has not been spending as much in previous years – asset prices have been inflating and private equity firms are reluctant to pay a premium for these assets. In fact, there has been a year-on-year decrease in private equity funding from 2015 to 2017.

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Upcoming M&A Webinar: Now that the Valuation is Set, Here’s Where You will Win or Lose the Deal

July 26th @ 10am EST

Register Now >> http://bit.ly/2Nvampu 

Many sellers think they have reached the finish line once the buyer has been selected or perhaps when the letter of intent is executed. Even those who know they haven’t reached that line often believe all key elements of the transaction have been ironed out and all that remains is the “technical” part. To better understand many of the material issues that remain open after the letter of intent is executed, this webinar will walk participants through a wide array of those
open issues. 

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Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated the Sale of Taylor Partnership (Immigration) Limited to Newland Chase Limited

Posted on July 9, 2018 By in UK M&A + UK Deals

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Taylor Partnership to Newland Chase.

Taylor Partnership is an immigration law firm specialising in a niche market, preparing and submitting visa applications for students worldwide and managing Tier 4 licences awarded by the Home Office for prestigious, independent boarding schools in the UK that need to maintain compliancy in order to retain the licence.

Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBT, is a global immigration company providing specialist immigration services worldwide. The group of companies provide best-in-class visa and work permit services for expats and businesses, from large multinational corporations to small and medium-sized companies and start-ups, in more than 180 countries around the world.

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Tags: UK M&A, UK Deals

The Benefits of Choice in Formal M&A Process: Partnership Essentials

After an M&A deal has been concluded, it is unusual for the seller to depart a business immediately. Whether it is a short-term work out or a longer-term growth plan, invariably there will be is a period in which the buyer and seller will operate in partnership.

In all partnerships, be they personal or professional, the ability to achieve the outcomes and aspirations sought relies to some degree upon the compatibility of the individuals. Almost all studies on the essential components and attributes of successful partnerships, unsurprisingly, conclude that the dynamics of a partnership are determined by the same criteria as any relationship, namely, the personalities involved.

The reason for failed M&A transactions has been studied extensively by academics and professionals alike, but these studies contain little to no data comparing the success and failure rates of transactions concluded with the aid of a formal competitive M&A process and those without. However, common to almost all studies of failed M&A transactions, and often deep into the reports, are cursory references to cultural integrations, yet these are rarely addressed or understood during negotiations.

To truly understand whether the fundamentals for an effective and successful partnership exist in a new relationship is not simple, but it is an exercise that can be explored in the context of a process that exposes the business owner—the seller—to choice. It is a common misconception that the M&A processes only generate choices through the creation of price competition.

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Inspiring the Millennial Generation

Benchmark International is a worldwide company, with offices in the UK, South Africa, Europe and the USA. A global company requires a large number of employees – a figure that is currently growing for Benchmark International.

Sourcing the right candidate for the role is probably one of the most difficult things to do, particularly now as a third of the global workforce are millennials – a generation that receives a lot of negative press and by all accounts is not a group of employees you would want in the workplace.

Words that are synonymous with the group are entitled, unfocused, narcissistic, lazy, selfish – among a whole host of other words with negative connotations.

But what has cultivated such an entitled (enter other negative words here) generation? Or what has caused such a backlash against them?

In a popular viral video, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek gives four reasons as to why this has happened and ties it in to why it is now causing problems in the workplace. He attributes it to PARENTING.

Sinek claims that millennials have been subject to failed parenting strategies, derived from being mollycoddled in such scenarios where children have received participation medals when they’ve placed last, or received top grades in school for work because of the persistence of a parent. This then causes a problem in the workplace as parents are not there to secure a promotion for their child.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Technology is a problem for millennials according to Sinek because of engagement in social media. He states that millennials are constantly engaged with social media because it is an addiction – when a person receives a ‘like’ for a status, picture etc., or receives a message, dopamine is released from the hypothalamus in the brain, the same chemical that is released when someone smokes, drinks, or gambles. Sinek says that technology is being used to deal with stress, much like an alcoholic would depend on alcohol, and has prevented millennials from developing meaningful relationships, as they will turn to technology as opposed to a friend.

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of Sonne Tribble, LLC

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the sale of Sonne Tribble. LLC dba Chris’s Custom Cabinets. Chris’s Custom Cabinets is a well-established manufacturer of high-end, custom cabinets for luxury home builders, remodelers, and individual homeowners.

The acquirer is a high net worth individual who was looking to acquire and run a single business in the Mid-South region. This individual’s experience in the construction industry and personal hobbies made this venture a good fit. The buyer plans to continue the legacy of Chris’s Custom Cabinets and make the business grow.

The Benchmark International team put in the man power to search various local markets to find the perfect buyer for this organization. In addition, the team worked alongside all involved parties to see the deal through to completion. Benchmark International brought its expertise to the table to bring the deal through to the closing. The deal was accomplished by utilizing the SBA program, which provided the prior owner a liquidity event and exit strategy.

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