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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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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 M&A + UK Deals

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 M&A, UK Deals

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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Keeping Up: Benchmark International Conferences

Staying on top of industry trends and gaining practical knowledge is a top priority for Benchmark International. As such, gaining more industry knowledge requires commitment to professional development and creating more connections with potential clients and buyers. Throughout the mergers and acquisitions industry, there is a myriad of events and conferences specific to this field that Benchmark International has the opportunity to attend.

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New GDP Regulations in Europe: What Does This Mean for M&A?

Posted on May 18, 2018 By in UK M&A + UK Government + Business Tips

On the 25th May 2018, a new data protection regulation (the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive with the aim of protecting the personal data and privacy of EU citizens. It must be adhered to by all companies conducting business in the EU, regardless of the location in which they operate.

So, in the context of M&A activity, how will this affect you? One of the changes places a heavier emphasis on the privacy of a company’s customers; therefore, companies will be scrutinised on how they collect, store, use and transfer personal data. The knock-on effect this then has is that during a transaction, an acquirer will carry out even more comprehensive checks on the target, examining internal data protection systems and processes and undertaking checks on contracts with suppliers and subcontractors, which must comply with the new regulation.

This is in an acquirer’s best interest, as they inherit any existing data protection liabilities from the seller post-sale and the penalties for a breach are steep, attracting a maximum fine of either €20m, or 4% of global turnover, depending on whichever figure is highest.

It also will have an effect on the communicating of personal data during the due diligence process between an acquirer and seller. Personal data can now only be disclosed if the acquirer can show a legitimate interest. While in the M&A process, an acquirer can prove that they do have a legitimate interest in the data this is unlikely to extend to every individual involved in the business, instead just encompassing members of the organisation such a managers. Care then has to still be taken to not personally identify any individual outside of this remit, so a seller must make sure they are cautious not to identify individual customers or employees and suitably anonymise this data.

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Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated the Sale of Day 2 Interiors Limited to Lynx Equity Limited

Posted on May 18, 2018 By in UK M&A + UK Deals

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the successful acquisition of Day 2 to Lynx.

Day 2 is an award-winning office furniture dealership and commercial furnishing scheme consultant acting as a subcontractor to architectural firms, as well as directly for private, public, and commercial clients. The company operates UK-wide although it has an international presence, conducting business in Europe and via a secondary premises in Qatar.

Lynx is a Canadian-based manager of private equity funds. The company seeks to invest in mid-market companies ($750k-$2.5M EBITDA) with the goal of building value through opportunistic acquisitions, strategic leadership and the timely use of financial expertise. Lynx finances its capital requirements through the issuance of high-yield debentures to qualified investors who enter into loan agreements with Lynx for periods of one to five years.

Commenting on the acquisition, Jim Meier, founder and Managing Director of Day 2 said: “I have been evaluating several options for the next chapter in the Day 2 story, and the Lynx team and company ethos have stood head and shoulders above the others.

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Tags: UK M&A, UK Deals
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