Strategic partnerships can be game-changers for SaaS (Software as a Service) companies. Sales revenue is clearly of vital importance, but it takes more than just those numbers to make things happen on a larger scale. Relationships are the bedrock of business. If you are looking to drive growth, a strategic partnership can be a very powerful tool to help your company increase its audience, build upon the brand, and tap into new markets. All of this, in turn, can prop up your sales team and boost your overall growth.READ MORE >>
PitchBook has released their 2020 Annual Global League Tables, and Benchmark International is ranked the #1 Sell-Side M&A Advisors in the world. PitchBook is a leading financial data provider covering M&A, private equity, and venture capital deal activity.
“We are delighted to be recognized by PitchBook as one of the most active firms in the world,” said Greg Jackson, CEO of Benchmark International. “We remain grateful to our clients for their continued confidence in us and proud of our team’s unwavering dedication and success.”
Executive Chairman, Steven Keane added “This important news solidifies Benchmark International’s standing in the world as a true market leader in the mergers and acquisitions community. It is also a “benchmark” for our company, which was founded in 2008 and remains in private ownership, knowing that our talented team can only continue to make strides from here and carry out our mission to accomplish great things for our clients. We add this recognition to our long and growing list of accomplishments.”
PitchBook’s Global League Tables are a comprehensive report on private equity and venture capital activity worldwide for the year. They are compiled using the count of completed deals for the specified deal type, region, and other criteria. The listing only includes publicly disclosed transactions and/or those confirmed by PitchBook’s primary research team.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of GreenTex Landscaping Inc. by Zodega Landscape Services, LLC.
GreenTex Landscaping Inc. performs landscaping, groundskeeping, edging, trimming, mulch, aeration, and other lawn care services across the North Dallas area, servicing residential and commercial customers. GreenTex has been successfully operating for more than 13 years and has received the Angie’s List Super Service Award for outstanding customer service for six years in a row.
Zodega offers high-quality lawn care and landscaping services to high-end residential and commercial properties across the Houston metropolitan area. In addition to standard landscaping and lawn maintenance, Zodega provides tailored pressure washing and pest control to suit customer needs.
Bill Biancaniello, President of G-Tex, Corp. and former owner of GreenTex Landscaping, commented, “The Benchmark team did a fantastic job of keeping the transaction on track. They were available to provide support throughout the entire transaction process and were particularly supportive in giving the final push which got the transaction over the finish line.”
Regarding the deal completion, Anthony Hernandez, Benchmark International Transaction Director, shared, “the Benchmark team is delighted to announce the successful sale of GreenTex Landscaping to Zodega Landscaping. The team is excited to see Zodega’s successful expansion with the strategic acquisition of GreenTex. It was a particular pleasure for Benchmark International to work with G-Tex and the team wishes each of the parties every success in their future endeavors.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Yellow Jersey Logistics (PTY) Ltd and LCS Evolution (Pty) Ltd.
Yellow Jersey Logistics (Pty) Ltd offers niche transport solutions to the clearing and forwarding industry. The company has become entrenched in the industry, forming an integral part of their clients’ service offerings through reliability, speed, and the ability to tailor bespoke solutions. The company’s client base comprises leading freight forwarders and clearing agents, dealing with the import and export of a variety of goods. The company has maintained these relationships through excellent customer service.
The LCS Group (Pty) Ltd is a diversified logistics and end-to-end supply chain solutions business, operating primarily within the bulk mining and materials industry. The Group is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire for innovation and comprises several companies, including LCS Logistics, LCS Transport Solutions, Bay Shipping, LCS Fuels, LCS Prime Agri, LCS Fleet Support, and LCS Financial Services.
The LCS Group’s Head Office is situated in Heidelberg, Gauteng, with satellite offices/depots in Newcastle, Richards Bay, Durban, Kuruman, Brits, Delmas, Cape Town, Hoopstad & Camperdown.
Reon Britz, the CEO of LCS Group, said: “Yellow Jersey represents a key pillar within LCS’s logistics and supply chain portfolio and will enable the Group to further diversify its offering within the industry as well as positions it strongly for future growth. We would like to thank the Benchmark Intl team and in particular, Johann Haasbroek, for all the assistance in getting this important transaction across the line. We really appreciate all the efforts.”
Commenting on the transaction, Transaction Director Johann Haasbroek with Benchmark International added, “Transactions of this nature are particularly enjoyable when the synergies are self-evident, and the benefit to both entities easily apparent. I am confident that with LCS’s resources brought to bear, an already very successful company will go on to flourish still further in such a group environment.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International successfully facilitated the transaction between River City Medical Associates (RCMA), a Florida network of medical clinics, and Skylight Health Group, Inc. of Ontario, Canada.
The seller, RCMA, is a multi-location, multi-specialty medical group offering various services, including primary care, urgent care, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, pain management, neurology, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and podiatry. The buyer, Skylight Health, is a healthcare and technology company operating in the U.S. market with more than 30 medical clinics across 14 states.
The acquisition of a U.S. healthcare provider by a Canadian healthcare company introduced unique vectors for a successful deal. Regulatory hurdles existed on both sides, adding depth to the deal dynamics.
Skylight Health Co-Founder and CEO Prad Sekar noted of the process, “Benchmark International was able to facilitate a smooth and quick transaction that helped both parties achieve their goals. We highly recommend them to anyone looking to purchase a company.”
Regarding the deal completion, Transaction Director William Sullivan and Benchmark International commented, “Because this process involved the purchase of a private US healthcare provider by a publicly-traded Canadian acquirer, there were a number of regulatory and other issues to navigate. Ultimately, however, we found the right buyer for our fantastic client and were thrilled to manage the complexity necessary to get a great outcome for both parties.”READ MORE >>
In December 2020, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told CNBC's Hadley Gamble that American shale producers should be concerned about their industry's future. Secretary Brouillette stated: “…there are some in Congress who are going to drive a climate policy that's going to be very aggressive. So there may be a concern on the part of those folks, I know the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) movement is very strong.” Secretary Brouillette also added that, “The investment money may become a bit more difficult to get,” and, “Those are all policies where we’ll have to wait and see what happens with this new Congress.”
While it may be politically convenient for those in a Republican administration to criticize their incoming Democratic successors, oil and gas investors should be hesitant to trust outgoing bureaucrats' economic analyses. Reasons for investor optimism can be found in past administration precedents' realities, current stakeholder adaptions, and the future uphill battle facing any reforms backed by President Joe Biden and his cabinet.
Obama-Biden Administration Precedents
For more than a decade, President Barack Obama’s Democratic party was conveniently used as the boogeyman for Republican politicians’ intent on gaining the favor of oil and gas companies and investors. However, in retrospect, the Obama administration—which included then-Vice President Biden—was a far greater friend to the industry than most pundits speculated. That administration’s treatment of the industry can be a useful precedent for setting appropriate expectations for the Biden administration’s treatment of the industry.
Obama’s tendency to favor working with the energy industry rather than to impede it led to drastic and unexpected results. By the end of his two terms in office, natural gas had realized a massive uptick in both production (a 35% increase) and consumption (a 19% increase). In December 2015, Obama threatened to veto the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, which would have repealed 40-year-old oil export bans. This would ultimately prove to be posturing for political negotiations, as Obama would go on to approve the export of U.S. crude by signing the 2016 omnibus budget just weeks later. The Obama-Biden administration also loosened restrictions on LNG exports. Under their administration, the U.S. Department of Energy approved 24 LNG export licenses and denied none.
This unexpectedly moderate approach by Obama can be accredited to two primary domestic policy issues: national security and climate change. Commentators frequently constrain their negative analyses of oil and gas's future with a reminder that domestic energy independence remains an important consideration in national security. While debate exists on whether American “energy independence” could indeed ever exist given the reality of American import trends, regulations on the industry will continue to be tied to deliberations on the country's reliance on foreign producers.
The second factor in the Obama-Biden administration's relatively moderate industry regulation was, surprisingly, climate change concerns. In particular, Obama's unexpected friendship towards natural gas has been credited to his administration’s belief that natural gas could assist in mitigating climate change. Forbes wrote in 2019 that President Obama, “supported natural gas as an essential strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by displacing coal and also backing up intermittent wind and solar power.” His treatment of LNG exports ultimately proved consistent with President Donald Trump's treatment of the natural gas industry. At a press conference in early 2019, Dr. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, stated that over the past decade, “the emissions reduction in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy.” Standing by his side at this press conference—which essentially credited the energy policy continuity of Obama/Trump with this success—was Trump’s own Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry.
Stakeholder Adaptions in the Face of Progressive Policy Initiatives
Secretary Perry’s comments in that same press conference are indicative of what the private sector has worked to accomplish while operating under burgeoning public pressure to address climate change concerns. He stated that, “without carbon capture, any planned climate target is impossible to meet.” Carbon capture, commonly referred to as carbon capture and storage (CCS), uses technology to capture the release of carbon dioxide during fossil fuel usage. After capturing the gas, operators transport it to an underground storage facility. The method has become an increasingly popular solution amongst producers to manage emissions and mitigate environmental damage.
While elected officials continue to negotiate and posture on broad regulatory changes like the Green New Deal, private sector stakeholders are already acting to appease investors and the general public. While some in the industry may complain of the costs associated with mitigating environmental damage, industry leaders are exploring and embracing new climate-friendly technologies as a necessary pivot to maintain vitality. Dr. Vijay Swarup, Vice President for Research and Development at ExxonMobil, stated, “breakthroughs like the deployment of carbonate fuel cells at power plants are essential for reducing emissions, while at the same time increasing power generation and limiting costs to consumers.” ExxonMobil developed those carbonate fuel cells in partnership with FuelCell Energy, Inc. as a tool for capturing CO2 during the CCS process.
Integrating alternative energy into existing operations has also proved to be a successful survival strategy for oil producers. Chevron announced in July 2020 that it would make a major investment in renewable energy plants to power its oil production facilities in the Permian Basin and abroad. This was by no means the first investment by a major player to test such a production structure. ExxonMobil made a similar investment in 2018, purchasing 500 megawatts of wind and solar power in Texas. And Chevron had already run a pilot program by purchasing a smaller amount of West Texas wind energy to power some of its operations, as well.
At the time of their 2020 purchase, Chevron spokesperson Veronica Flores-Paniagua wrote: "What has changed is the cost of wind and solar power, which is becoming more competitive, and the technology, which has also progressed substantially. This makes opportunities to increase renewable power in support of our operations a feasible option for reliability, scale, and cost-effectiveness."
Ultimately, each producers’ bottom line will determine whether such ventures into renewables are sustainable. But while producers find creative ways to appease shareholders and adapt, any future inhibiting regulatory actions still face significant challenges to be enacted.
Political & Legal Hurdles for Biden Energy Regulations
On January 20, 2021, former Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Some experts predict his administration will bring major regulatory changes for the oil and gas industry to appease his own Democratic party's growing progressive subsection. Others are more hesitant, noting the relatively moderate nature of his cabinet selections and campaign pledges to refrain from banning fracking.
Most onlookers, experts or not, expect some energy-related regulatory changes. Among the most common expected policy shifts is a ban on new fracking on federal lands. This led to a mass fire sale by former President Trump’s Bureau of Land Management, auctioning off parcels of land in various parts of the United States to accelerate drilling before the change in administrations. Producers are gearing up for a fight, both in the courtroom and in the eyes of the public. Mike Sommers, Chief Executive of the American Petroleum Institute (API), told Reuters in November 2020 that API would “use ‘every tool at its disposal’ including legal action” to prevent restrictions by the Biden administration.
Potential regulations and green initiatives could go either way in reaching Biden's desk for a signature. Republicans, who are historically more friendly to the oil and gas industry, hold 50 Senate seats, but with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, they are formally the minority party. President Biden has already signed an executive order revoking the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, a move which many experts in the U.S.’ Permian Basin are optimistic about for those in West Texas as it reduces direct competition to those producers.
While fears on the future of oil and gas have merit and can be validated by recent trends, production will not cease for the foreseeable future. If Biden's administration reflects the values of the Obama administration, things may not be as negative as has been suggested. Within the oil and gas industry, private stakeholders have already spent the better part of a decade learning to adapt and continue production through carbon capture and storage methods. And any future regulations will face difficulties every step of the way, with major players vowing to fight tooth and nail to defend the industry. Investors should proceed with caution, but there is still room for optimism and opportunities for growth and success into the near future.
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Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Gateshead-based Theme Bins to private investor, Patrick Connolly.
Established in 1991, Theme Bins designs, manufactures and supplies benches, litter and recycling bins, storage lockers, and other indoor and outdoor furniture. The company operates from a bespoke manufacturing facility, acting as a supplier and moulding subcontractor, catering to a range of customers across sectors including the commercial, leisure and educational markets.
Patrick Connolly is a private investor engaged in plastics and, along with the acquisition of Theme Bins, recently invested in two other businesses that specialise in different processes within the plastics industry.
Commenting on the acquisitions, Patrick said: “I want people to phone us if they want things made in plastic because, between the three firms, I’m sure we’ll find a way.
“For example, parts for Theme Bins we can make at our other sites. That helps open up our development opportunities and the speed with which we can respond.”
Following the acquisition, Theme Bins has been renamed Plastic Furniture Co to reflect its vastly expanded product range after diversifying into street and education furniture, including seats, lockers, and bins for PPE equipment. It will also be launching a new website and increasing its focus on ecommerce.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Cheshire-based Survey Systems to Suffolk-based Survey Solutions.
Survey Systems was formed in 1983 and is a geomatic surveying firm producing accurate 2D and 3D digital plans and models for both public and private clients operating in the construction and engineering sectors. Along with sister company Locate Surveys, the company has grown to become one of the largest independent surveying companies in the north west, employing approximately 40 people.
Established for over 20 years, Survey Solutions is the UK’s largest engineering surveyor with a wide geographical reach and a comprehensive range of surveying services. The company provides to sectors ranging from residential new build to retail, energy to education and transport to healthcare.
As a result of the acquisition, Survey Solutions has broadened its geographical presence, giving the company an unrivalled presence throughout the UK and enabling local teams to respond quickly to project enquiries. Along with acquisition of Kempston Surveys, Survey Solutions’ national reach has now grown to nine offices and the team has grown to around 160 employees.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International facilitated the transaction between Delta Outsource Group, Inc and Australian-based InDebted enabling their access into the American market.
The seller, Delta Outsource Group, Inc, has been providing professional and compliant receivables solutions in the U.S. since 2009. The owners of Delta set out to create a collections agency where performance, respect, and communication would put them ahead of the industry’s curve. After accomplishing this, Delta became a viable target.
“While the process was longer than we thought, Benchmark did a good job of advising us of our options and guiding us through the sale process,” said Michael Lages, President & CFO.
The buyer, InDebted, is an Australian-based digital, data-driven collection agency. They have built a collections platform that seeks to empower the financial fitness of their customers.
John Watson, incoming CEO of Delta commented regarding the deal, “After facilitating the introduction of Delta and InDebted and outlining the desired transaction structure, Benchmark did a good job of allowing the principles to work directly with each other to maximize the efficiency of the process.”
Regarding the deal completion, Transaction Director Matthew Kekelis at Benchmark International commented, “The Delta team stuck through a multiple offer situation with many ups and downs along the way. Ultimately, it was a terrific result with both buyer and seller very pleased with the outcome.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International successfully facilitated the transaction between Solution Matrix, Inc. of Rocky Mount, VA and EXI Investment Partners, Broadview Group Holdings, LLC, management and other co-investors. The seller, Solution Matrix, Inc., is an orthopedic manufacturing business that provides high-quality cold-therapy gel packs and compression bandage wraps to over 340 hospitals nationwide. The company manufactures all its products in-house.
Keith Marshall, co-owner of Solution Matrix with his wife, Linda, mentioned regarding the transaction, “We are so excited to entrust the future of Solution Matrix to its next partner. With their leadership, there is no upward limit to where they can take the business. The spirit of partnership abounded during the transaction process and they will be an ideal caretaker of the Solution Matrix brand and legacy.”
Marshall went on to say, “I’d like to thank Benchmark International for their absolute professionalism throughout the entire process. I thought it would be challenging to sell a business with a special designation like mine, a veteran-owned business. I had the impression the pool of available and interested buyers would be small but Benchmark’s resources proved me wrong in that regard. I could not recommend their services more.”
Regarding the deal completion, Managing Partner Dara Shareef at Benchmark International commented, “Having the opportunity to work with a veteran-owned business is always particularly meaningful. Keith and Linda have built Solution Matrix around a mission to provide truly unique products that address critical healthcare needs. Their sense of service to team, partners, and customers comes naturally from a background of service to country and has been a difference-maker in building a great company and an unequalled suite of medical devices. Benchmark International is proud to be a key part of finding Solution Matrix a great partner for their next phase of growth.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of specialist scaffolding contractors, SGS, to Wescott Industrial Services.
Established in 1994, SGS is a main supplier of scaffold access and support systems for the large industrial, petrochemical, waste to energy, pharmaceutical and food industries, as well as providing services to domestic and commercial projects.
The company has a workforce of around 70 directly employed personnel and operates nationwide for clients such as Engie, BAM Construction, Amco Griffen and Gassco Gas Terminal.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Carolina Marine Structures, Inc. (“CMS”) and United Infrastructure Holdings, Inc. (UIH).
CMS is a leading provider of commercial waterfront construction services. The company specializes in construction related to boat ramps, bridges, dredging, shoreline restoration, and wetland creation. CMS resides in Powells Point, North Carolina and is centrally located for its preferred service areas of coastal North Carolina and Virginia.
UIH focuses on providing a wide array of infrastructure services across the United States, from marine construction to engineering services. With this transaction, they are positioned for continued expansion nationwide.
Senior Deal Associate Nick Woodyard at Benchmark International commented, “The entire team here is glad to have facilitated the successful transaction between Carolina Marine Structures and United Infrastructure Holdings. It was great getting to a conclusion where both parties were excited to begin the next phase of their new adventure. This deal represents a platform opportunity for UIH to build an enterprise of future growth in the industry. We wish the teams continued success.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Limerick-based Don O’Malley & Partners to The Randridge Group.
Don O'Malley & Partners was established in 1967 and is a leading registered consulting engineering practice specialising in mechanical and electrical building services. The company is based in Limerick city and has gained a reputation for high quality design and service in the construction industry. The company’s project portfolio includes work on commercial, industrial, office, residential, education, healthcare, retail, public buildings, culture & heritage buildings, hospitality, and sports & leisure projects.
Liam Kavanagh of Don O’Malley commented: “Don O’Malley & Partners Ltd engaged the services of Benchmark International to test the market for potential buyers for the company. From the outset of our dealings with Benchmark, we found them to be highly professional, extremely knowledgeable and always acted in our best interests. We felt particularly comforted in using their service because of the high level of interest and support from senior management within their organisation. It was not long before Benchmark began presenting potential buyers to us for consideration eventually resulting in the acquisition by our business by Randridge International.”
Randridge is the leading-edge supplier of electrical, instrumentation and automation services to the energy, petrochemical and heavy industries across Europe, Africa and the Caspian regions. Renowned for delivering excellent quality construction, the company now has an opportunity to expand its service offering to include quality engineering services.
This acquisition enhances further the proposition that Randridge can make to prospective clients and brings the company one step closer to achieving its main objective of providing a complete turnkey solution.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between Solar Graphics and Think Signs.
Solar Graphics is an established provider of a comprehensive range of signage and wayfinding solutions. Esteemed for delivering a one-stop service, the company offers the design, manufacture, and installation of products, in addition to an assortment of road marking services. Operating across the South East of England, the company serves a diverse client base and caters to a variety of requirements, including signage for workplace and commercial properties, as well as health and safety signs.
Think Signs has been specialising in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke signage across Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth for over 20 years, offering a broad range of print solutions and services using the latest technologies and state of the art UV flatbed printers and cutting machines.READ MORE >>
While many founders tend to be their own CEOs, sometimes you do need a little help. If you hire too soon, you waste valuable resources, but if you hire too late, you could be missing vital opportunities to grow. Choosing when to hire a CEO is a tough decision, so if you notice any of the following signs, now may be the right time to hire a small business CEO.
1. Need for More Expertise: As a business owner or founder, you started the business and transitioned it from the planning stage to successful operations. Completing this feat does not always mean that you have strong business expertise. Many times, it means that you have strong experience exclusively in your particular offering. Hiring a CEO with business experience can help your company develop new ideas, execute decisions, and formulate new strategies that will work to drive your bottom line. In some instances, people outside the company will view your business more professionally when a CEO with a background in the industry takes the reigns.
2. Not Your Passion: Even if you possess the ability to run your company, that may not be where your passions lie. If you want to focus on areas of the company, such as client relationships or product development, it may be time for you to hire a CEO. They can handle the business aspects such as operations, marketing, or production, and you can keep your focus on the interests that you enjoy and where you benefit the most for your business.
3. Clarity of Vision: If you observe that your employees seem unclear about the company's operations and goals, it is possible that they would benefit significantly from fresh leadership. A new CEO will serve as the leader for your company, make known company-wide goals, and implement your visions as the owner. This will give your company a united voice through a seasoned executive who has the experience to retain and attract a management team that will contribute to your path of long-term success. Also, a founders’ loyalty to original employees can limit potential. A CEO will evaluate performance and make tough personnel decisions for you that will drive growth.
4. Stagnation: Say you want to expand your business but find that you have to focus too heavily on keeping the company up and running. When there isn't enough time for innovation, this can lead to inactivity and cause your company to stagnate, creating severe problems down the road. A small business CEO allows you to count on them to map out growth strategies and coordinate the vital action needed to help your business scale.
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Once you have decided that you are ready to find a CEO, many organizations specialize in locating and screening the perfect candidate for you. For help in your recruitment process, consider hiring an executive search firm, networking with your professional connections, creating a CEO search committee, and making sure to plan ahead. Applicant Tracking Systems such as Greenhouse, JazzHR, Breezy HR, or Google Hire can help your recruitment process. Finally, be sure to have all of the essential materials on hand to onboard your CEO candidate. Think about including your story, your primary values, and your mission to ensure vision alignment.
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between Moorland Fuels Limited (“Moorland Fuels”) and Craggs Energy Group Limited (“Craggs Energy”).
Devon-based Moorland Fuels is a distributor of fuels including kerosene and diesel. The company serves domestic, commercial, and agricultural customers within a 30-mile radius of its strategically located rural depot.
Craggs Energy supplies kerosene, gas oil, DERV and a wide range of industrial fuels and lubricants to homes, farms, businesses, and public sector customers throughout the UK via its delivery depots spread across the North West and Yorkshire, as well as its national partner network.
The acquisition allows Moorland Fuels to benefit from a shared vision, growth and further investment, whilst enabling Craggs Energy to grow in the South West.
Abby Turner, sales and marketing manager at Moorland Fuels, commented: “Being part of the Craggs Energy Group enables Moorland Fuels to expand our operations. We are already benefiting from significant investment from the Craggs team and are looking forward to the new opportunities ahead while continuing to provide the excellent service that Moorland Fuels is known for.”READ MORE >>
When a company is sold, it can have major effects on employees, customers, clients, and suppliers. Uncertainty stokes fear in most people, as they wonder about their security and their futures. Even top management can feel as though they failed at their jobs when the company is being bought out. For these reasons, it is important that the messaging and transition planning is handled very carefully and thoughtfully leading up to an acquisition—especially considering that the majority of acquisitions fall through. Announcing the news too early can cause widespread unrest over a deal that never happens
Communication is everything in this situation, but it needs to be planned. Before announcing a single word about the sale of the company, you should have a solid plan in place. A consistent message is critical and the distribution of the information should be carefully coordinated both internally and externally to avoid misinformation and confusion. Your plan should clearly outline intentions, steps, timelines and how the process will affect all parties. Predetermine what will be conveyed by whom and when. Figure out how to address questions that you are unable to answer and consider all potential scenarios for all parties involved. And always remember how critical confidentiality is during this time. You do not want details leaking to the press before you are ready to go public.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Knutsford-based financial planning firm, Watterson Financial Planning, by Focus Financial Planning (Focus) subsidiary, Connectus Wealth Advisers (Connectus).READ MORE >>
Many business owners know that employees are a company’s greatest asset. Yet, they are also a potential liability. According to CNBC, more than 3.5 million Americans quit their jobs every month. The current unemployment rate sits at 6.7%. It rose to 14.8% in April, but prior to the pandemic, it was 3.5%, which was a strong job market. So, if employees are so critical to a company’s operations, how can organizations mitigate the risk of them leaving, especially immediately before or after an M&A transaction? During such a transaction, a business may find itself at a disadvantage when trying to keep valuable workers in a strong job market and during the uneasiness of a transaction. Workers may feel under appreciated, underpaid, or that they lack opportunities for advancement during this period. Looking from the outside in, a culture like this can cripple the attraction of buyers or a successful integration.
In most cases, this can be averted. But how? Paying employees more? Giving out monthly awards or irrelevant promotions? In short, giving employees true meaning day-in and day-out can be a complex task but it’s a key differentiator in a company being a place where employees want to grow their careers, versus being a resume builder. Having a personal sense of who your employees are and what motivates them can often mean more to them than any compensation, and set the company up for a successful integration. The tricky part is identifying those things in which your employees find happiness, purpose and true meaning. Tackling the following key questions will improve your M&A transaction experience, increase employee retention, and help employees find greater happiness within the workplace.
What are your employees good at completing?
Performance reviews were implemented back in the 1800s and haven’t changed much since. Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Employers have been evaluating workers on a yearly basis and adjusting the company’s workforce according to their findings for many years. When evaluating employees, it’s important to include a detailed skills assessment. Investing the time to understand each employee’s specific skills and value to the organization gives the company an advantage for future success by optimizing its workforce. In terms of M&A preparation, skills gaps can be proactively addressed so buyers don’t perceive risk and discount their offers; and, unique skill differentiators can be leveraged to improve competitive position and business valuations.
In addition to finding an employee’s niche set of skills, it’s imperative to also challenge employees on an array of different topics. Challenging employees helps to develop their skillset further, leverage their untapped potential, and optimize their performance. Small adjustments like these can help a company not only retain valuable workers for years to come, but also convey the impression of a strong group of employees for prospective buyers within an M&A transaction.
When do your employees feel most accomplished?
A sense of accomplishment is a cornerstone of any successful job. As a manager or business owner, it’s critical to recognize the drivers of employees’ satisfaction in their jobs, or “delighters,” and promote them. Is it when they’ve closed a new deal, completed service for a difficult client, or finished a task that they’ve been working on for weeks? Understanding the accomplishments that truly make employees happy isn’t that hard. Promoting and acknowledging these things makes employees feel that their work is valued.
One way to identify these “delighters” is for managers to adjust their interactions with employees. For example, having purposeful daily conversations, building relationships, and showing genuine interest in each employee’s current projects. This can also help the workforce better understand their role in the organization’s operations and success.
A Harvard Grant Study found that happiness and even financial success are tied to the warmth of one’s relationships, especially in the workplace. The study’s chief architect famously concluded, “Happiness is love. Full stop.” Working on partnerships with employees can improve purpose within their careers and the organization. Enhancing relationships with employees can help the organization get through tough times and cruise through outstanding times. In addition, having a great working relationship with employees can help ward off negative energy during the demanding process of an M&A transaction. It is important to make time for employees, engage with them, listen to them, and build relationships needed to enhance workplace happiness, improve employee longevity, and sail through the grind of an M&A transaction.
What have your employees learned lately?
Intellectual curiosity is something we all have within ourselves that can help an employee excel in any job. Being able to ask questions, learn from others, and make tasks more efficient can help employees find constant meaning at work. As a business owner, one of the challenges is getting the right curiosity out of employees. Implementing “end of the week discussions” as a group is one way to tap into intellectual curiosity. In addition, putting in place nontraditional learning environments can give employees the opportunity to learn hands-on versus behind a desk. Experiences like these can help improve the longevity of an employee’s career, along with advancing their understanding and ability to retain information. Having a workforce that is intellectually curious can be a considerable selling point during a transaction that buyers are delighted to buy into.
To summarize, multi-billion-dollar corporations and smaller boutique firms alike must mitigate the risk of losing valuable workers. Figuring out ways to make employees excited when they walk through the company’s doors is key to an organization’s success. Implementing small changes as described here can help an organization retain its top tier talent and ensure a smooth transaction. Modest adjustments such as regularly interacting with employees, investing time to understand each employee’s individual skillset, and creating an open environment that engages curiosity, will help make them happier, optimize performance, and ensure that they will continue to support the success of the organization. Acquirers treasure the ability of having a stable team on board during a transition and, as a seller, this can make all the difference in having a successful sale.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Norwich-based Facit Testing (Facit) to Nottingham-based Phenna Group (Phenna).
Facit was established in 1979 and has over recent years built a reputation as one of the most trusted specialist electrical services companies in East Anglia. Today, the business offers an extensive range of electrical testing solutions to clients across the domestic, commercial, industrial and public sectors.
Established in 2018, Phenna provides investment and strategic leadership to companies in the testing, inspection, certification, and compliance (TICC) sector. Its aim is to build a global portfolio of independent TICC businesses.
Brian Impleton, Managing Director of Facit, commented: "I am hugely excited to be joining the Phenna Group and look forward to working with Paul and his team to drive the future growth of the company. Since deciding to seek a partner, it was obvious from the first meeting with Phenna Group that they shared our vision for the business. They have remained professional and easy to deal with throughout the process and I look forward to developing our relationship and expanding the business over the next few years.”
Paul Barry, Group CEO of Phenna Group, said: "I am delighted that Brian and his team will be joining Phenna Group. From the very first time I met Brian, I was positively impressed by his energy, drive and passion for the business, which resonated well with the culture and values of Phenna Group. Facit Testing fits closely with our strategy of creating a differentiated group of niche TICC businesses and I'm looking forward to working with Brian to help deliver their very ambitious growth plans.”
This acquisition is Phenna’s second in the electrical testing and inspection sector. The first was the acquisition of GMES, an acquisition also conducted via Benchmark International.READ MORE >>
How Private Equity Works
Private equity firms raise financing from institutions and individuals and then invest those funds into the buying and selling of businesses. Once a pre-specified amount is raised, the fund closes to new investors and is liquidated. All of the fund’s businesses are sold within a set timeframe that is typically less than ten years. The more successfully a PE firm’s funds perform, the better its ability to raise money in the future.
PE firms do accept some limitations on their use of investments under fund management contracts, such as the size of any single business investment. Once the money has been committed, investors have nearly zero control over its management, unlike a public company’s board of directors.
The leaders of the companies within a private equity portfolio are not members of the PE firm’s management. Private equity firms control its portfolio companies through representation on the boards of those companies. It is common for a PE firm to ask the CEO and other business leaders in their portfolios to invest personally. This offers a way to ensure their level of commitment and motivation. In return, the operating managers can get significant rewards that are linked to profits when the company is sold.
With large buyouts, PE funds usually charge investors a fee of around 1.5 to 2 percent of assets under management, plus 20 percent of all profits (subject to achieving a minimum rate of return). Fund mostly profit through capital gains on the sale of portfolio companies.
How Private Equity Improves ValueREAD MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce that Derbyshire-based Woodall Group has secured a £4.25m investment from BGF.
Woodall Group, the owner of Woodall Homes, is an independent housebuilder, specialising in mid-market homes and providing a turnkey service from identifying brownfield sites, securing purchase options, and applying for planning permission, through to construction and fit-out.
BGF is the most active growth investor in the world, providing growth capital for small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom and Ireland, making initial investments between £1m and £15m. It has 16 offices across the UK and Ireland including London, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Dublin.
Known for its strong emphasis on premium finishes, build quality and a housing design that complements local surroundings, with sustainability embedded in the construction process, the funding will support Woodall Group deliver more high-quality properties and create further job opportunities.READ MORE >>
The free online trading app known as Robinhood has proclaimed to be “on a mission to democratize finance for all.” It was intended to open up the Wall Street stock market to the average American for investment “on their own terms,” with more easily digestible financial information readily available to novice investors. The app was designed to “let the people trade” and make the financial system more accessible for everyone, until things took quite a turn, all due to a fledgling brick and mortar video game retailer known as GameStop.
The amateur traders using Robinhood became pitted against the hedge fund honchos when they started buying up options and shares of GameStop (GME), enlarging those bets and also making large trades of other stocks, such as AMC Entertainment, Tootsie Roll, and BlackBerry.
How It All Happened
Professional hedge fund investors had been short selling shares of GameStop, essentially borrowing shares of stock to sell, and then buying them back later so they can return them. This lets them profit if the stock price drops (betting that the company will fail). If the stock does not continue to fall, investors are forced to cover their position or buy more stock to minimize their losses.READ MORE >>
IntraCoastal Environmental (ICE) is a leading provider of environmental, industrial, and emergency response services in the Southeastern United States. ICE has two offices in Jacksonville, FL, and Savanah, GA. The principals of ICE attribute their success to a solid framework of proven policies developed over the years and exceptional customer service. “The industry is wrought with operators that will drop everything they are doing on one job for higher margins on another. ICE is safe, provides quality workmanship, and is, most importantly, dependable. When we start a job, we will finish it, and that’s what keeps our customers coming back.”
The Ambipar Group is a publicly-traded multinational entity based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, formed by two companies: Environment and Response. With focus and agility, these two segments offer a vertically integrated structure that provides a wide range of services to fifteen different countries across six continents. Lead by Pulsar, a Brazilian Investment Bank, Ambipar executed its first transaction in the USA in 2019. ICE served as the first of many bolt-on acquisitions in an aggressive strategy to consolidate the market recreate their superior business model in the United States.
US travel bans due to COVID-19 caused both sides of the transaction to build trust in innovative ways to keep the momentum going. The alignment between the acquisition and growth strategy of Ambipar and ICE’s operations is what motivated both buyer and seller to push through the difficulties in today’s
Regarding the deal completion, Senior Associate Sean Fechtmann at Benchmark International commented, “IntraCoastal was by far one of the most exceptional clients we have had the pleasure of representing. From day one, it was clear the management team and financial systems would make this process successful. The principals of ICE were diligent in our shared efforts to pursue a sale while simultaneously driving meaningful growth in their company along the way.”
READ MORE >>
Hearing the phrase "the new normal" has become our new normal. During COVID, we have all had to adjust to new situations. We are not standing in big crowds watching a parade go by in our community, and we are not crammed together in a convention center listening to a recap of the past quarter’s economic trends. In some places, we cannot sit too close to one another at a local restaurant and watch our favorite sports teams. Even with all these changes, there is one thing that will rebound: face to face meetings.
When I was cutting my teeth in life insurance years ago, we were trained on the importance of non-verbal forms of communication. Before 2020, we've had many forms of digital communication. Now it seems like we have endless options, but a short well-planned meeting can save an incredible amount of time. Fancy tech isn't the end-all-be-all. Just because somebody is using the latest tech, it doesn’t mean it’s better tech.
Here are 12 reasons why I believe face to face meetings are still essential:
- I can’t read non-verbal communications through my email and video calls I only see part of the picture. Non-verbal communication is endlessly more important than the words that are spoken. 7% of a conversation is actual words. 38% is inflection. 55% are facial expressions. These cannot be replicated remotely. This cannot be emphasized enough, so it is my number one entry on this list.
- Face to face meetings leave a lot more room for improvisation. Conversations tend to flow more naturally, lead in many directions, and lead to new opportunities.
- Engaging with people is just easier. We have time before and after for chit chat. While this might not seem important, how it relates to building human capital should be recognized. We never know what small items can lead to a spark igniting an excellent working relationship. It can be something as simple as taking a wrong turn, then one of the attendees tells you that they did the same thing their first time in the office. The two of you shake hands, introduce yourselves, and now you've started building a connection that can lead to opportunities in the future.
- “Sorry everyone. Larry can’t make the meeting today. His internet is down. Can we reschedule for later today or sometime next week?”. Now, here is a historical proverb to bring interest to this article:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost
For want of a shoe the horse was lost
For want of a horse the rider was lost
For want of a message the battle was lost
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Will that meeting get rescheduled? Will somebody else have to back out next time? By not having the meeting at the original time, we have opened the door for more potential problems to arise. All we have is now. We can't predict the future, and having to reschedule meetings at the last moment can lead to frustration and ultimately tank a deal.
- Maybe this one is just me, but I often feel that video calls can feel a bit foggy. Face to face meetings are crystal clear. Key points are clear and more easily understood.
- Meeting in person allows someone to go further than just a meeting. After a video conference, what happens? You turn off your computer, and everyone goes back to whatever it is they were doing. If you are the person traveling somewhere, what is likely to happen? Assuming that you are staying the night, more likely than not, someone you were meeting with will take you out and show you around town. Building human capital is what makes an organization's culture. Without these interactions, you have people in various offices doing their own things. When they can meet, interact, and get to know each other, things work out better.
- In my experience, agreeing on an offer is much easier if the buyer and seller meet in person. If the two parties have never met, people tend to get more animated in their responses if things don't go the way they'd like. But when the two groups have met, I see a much different reaction. Parties are less likely to get upset and more likely to listen to each other. Instead of blowing up and walking away from a deal, they take the time to remain calm and discuss items in a more relaxed manner. They've started building a bond. They aren't just trying to get better terms from Really Big Company Inc.; they're speaking with Larry. "Larry is someone that I went to dinner with, and everyone joined from the office and had a great time. I'm going to get on the phone with Larry and see if we can hash this out and find a middle ground." From a broker's perspective, it’s a night and day difference seeing groups that have met in person vs. those that have not.
- A bunch of people in a room and a clean whiteboard can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs and ideas. Ask Mark Zuckerberg.
- In-person meetings show mutual acknowledgment, respect, and action. 93% of people found negotiating with people of different languages and cultures easier. 82% believe negotiating important contracts in person is easier. Overall, 95% of people still say face to face meetings are essential. Also, this one shockingly doesn't have a generation gap.
- Millennials prefer face to face meetings in higher percentages than Gen X.
- Eventbrite ran a study and found that millennials are fueling the experience economy. This means instead of having materialistic items, people age 18-34 (who make up the largest percentage of the US population and the workforce) prefer going to things. Whether that's a vacation, concert, sporting event, younger people like doing things in person instead of remotely. Now, how does that transfer into the workplace? 80% of millennials prefer face to face communication with colleagues instead of 78% of Gen Xers. With this backlog of people choosing to be in person, the future looks bright for sitting across the table and speaking with folks.
- “Now, what about cost? I’m saving a fortune by not paying for my people to travel. Even if my people prefer in-person, the dollars don’t justify their preference.” To quote ESPN's Lee Corso: "Not so fast." Regarding ROI:
- Companies gain $12.50 for every US dollar spent on business travel
- 40% of prospects converted to new customers through face to face meeting
- 28% of current business that would be lost without face to face meetings
- 17% profit an average company would lose if it eliminated all business travel
After reading this, think back to some of your interactions. Could they be better suited for in-person? Gut feeling aside, the data backs the decision to continue face to face meetings. Both for sales, prospecting, company culture, and maintaining client relationships all seem to justify this idea, and this is something that we don't feel will go away in the future despite the tumultuous year we've just experienced.
Sources:READ MORE >>
As a business owner considering the sale of your company, you may be asking yourself, “When is the right time to sell?” The answer is simple. The time is now.
The global recovery is underway, and 2021 has given us several reasons to be highly optimistic, and these reasons are why you should take action.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company and Park Associates, PLLC.
Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC is a public accounting firm that provides audit, review, taxation, and compilation services. It serves a variety of clients, including businesses and individuals but specializes in providing auditing services for nonprofit and governmental entities. Whether a company needs tax preparation help or regular accounting services, their team can tame clients’ unwieldy finances.
Company owner, Tommy Nelson of Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC commented regarding the transaction, “My experience with Benchmark International was excellent. They did a wonderful job in preparing the marketing material. Many prospects commented on the professional presentation of the information. The marketing team provided us with several prospects, which culminated in a successful transaction. I would highly recommend the use of Benchmark’s services.”
Park & Associates, PLLC is a full-service Tax, Accounting, and Business Management firm based in Houston, Los Angeles, and Richmond. Established in 2000, their seasoned professionals have provided quality, personalized financial guidance to individuals and businesses. Some of their services include, financial and retirement planning, audit services, business setup and restructuring, and estate and trust planning.
Regarding the deal, Transaction Director Peter Kim at Benchmark International commented, “Our engagement with Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC was about building a confident future for our client, Tommy Nelson. Our talented deal team sought out a buyer motivated by the client’s footprint in the DFW metro area, reputation in the profession and quality of accounts. We serviced the entire deal from beginning to end with the ideas of max value as well as the client’s motivation of family in mind. Our achievement in both objectives are the culmination of tireless teamwork and relentless pursuit of preeminence in the marketplace.READ MORE >>
The first thing that can help a buyer purchase a business is putting their best foot forward in their first conversations with a seller. Buyers are often unsure what exactly a seller is looking to hear or how to impress a seller in the initial discussion. Below are a few of the things Benchmark International tells our clients to look for in a buyer when selling their company.
- How are they funding the acquisition? It may be cash, a loan, a personal lender, or ownership in a new entity, but sellers will need to know a potential buyer’s source of funding. It’s a straightforward question, but many people will not have considered it by the time they are conducting management meetings. Having a knowledgeable and honest answer for a seller will go a long way in cementing a relationship of trust.
- How well will the buyer culturally fit with the company? Were the first questions about the owners, employees, and business operations, or were they about the bottom line? Were they more interested in meeting with the owners and seeing the business they intend to purchase, or rushing into signing into exclusivity and then learning about the business at an unspecified eventual time? A buyer with no interest in the company beyond the free cash flow rarely develops deep relationships with management, employees, and the seller with whom they may partner in the future.
- What is the reason behind the buyer’s interest? Direct competitors, strategic buyers, financial buyers, and individual investors all have different goals in buying a business, and they all fit different sellers' strategies. Being forthcoming in the reasons for your interest in acquiring the business will help conversations run more smoothly down the line, and different buyers can bring a lot to the table in terms of enhancing the seller’s business and offering their employees the security and longevity our clients are often trying to attract.
- What does the buyer plan to have our client do after the sale? Is the buyer likely to stay on for several years, or will they be in a consulting position as the buyer takes over immediately? This can affect whether a seller retains equity, offers a seller note, or works for an investor long term. Each deal looks different for the seller after a sale and having a solid plan for our clients after the transaction can help make long-term decisions for their employees and families.
- How knowledgeable is the buyer in acquisitions? Will they understand the tax implications, assignment of liabilities and assets, and other nuances behind acquiring a business, or will they need assistance from a third party? Regardless of the buyer’s expertise, a little honesty on both sides goes a long way in explaining both parties' thought process and explain that some actions that can appear aggressive or malicious are often just not well understood by one or both parties. Knowing who will work with both parties to figure out the details of the transaction can save weeks or even months of headaches later down the road.
Addressing these questions can provide a lot of comfort and understanding that can create the foundation for a sale, and in many cases, a partnership. The seller wants to know a buyer's business just as much as the buyer wants to learn about the seller's company.
We are pleased to announce that Benchmark International has been named ‘Best Practice Operator of the Year (Corporate Finance)’ for both International Markets and the USA at the ACQ Global Awards of 2020.
215,000 ACQ5 subscribers were asked to nominate/vote for those they felt were the leading players within their jurisdiction. The total number of nominations received stood at an impressive 107,211 nominations.
Guided by the poll’s results, those organizations and individuals that have had the most significant impact on the industry during the past decade are duly honored. In judging these awards, ACQ5 Country Awards Program studied the nominations made by voters and recognize that all of those nominated are leaders in their fields, but the exceptional performances of some deserve recognition.
The ACQ5 Country Awards Program provides topical analysis of key trends, opportunities, and challenges, and risks representing significant regional interest or concern across a range of industries and work areas. The guide presents accessible insight into those issues transcending geographical borders and impacting strategic decision making at an International level.
Benchmark International is delighted and humbled to have received this prestigious award.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Essex-based Ace Security & Electrical to Churches Fire & Security.
Established in 1981 and specialising in all aspects of fire and security, Ace Security & Electrical designs, installs, and maintains a vast range of security and fire safety systems, specialising in technologically complex and intricate solutions. It supplies to commercial and domestic clients such as educational establishments and local authorities, as well as several well-known celebrities.
Churches Fire & Security has provided fire safety and security services to over 40,000 sites in the UK for over 20 years, offering fully integrated services including sprinklers, fire alarms, fire door inspections, emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, dry risers, suppression systems, intruder alarms, CCTV systems and access control.
The acquisition of Ace Security & Electrical allows Churches Fire & Security to enhance its South East offering, supporting the business strategy of becoming the most comprehensive fire safety and security provider in the UK.
Jim Lander & Neil Armstong, Directors at Ace Security & Electrical, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce the sale of Ace Security & Electrical to Churches Fire & Security. We are convinced that Churches will honour the almost 30 years of hard work that has gone into making Ace one of the UK’s leading supplier and service organisations in the fire and security sector. Looking after our staff and customers was the number one priority throughout this process, and we are confident that Churches shares this outlook.”READ MORE >>
Small business grants can provide the cash that you need without you paying it back as they do not require repayment of any kind. There are several government agencies, nonprofits, and private businesses or corporations that provide essentially free money in the form of grants to small business owners. The key is to find grants that you qualify for as there are grants available for all varieties of small and online business owners: veterans, disabled Americans, minorities, women, and other under-represented groups. Here’s a list of grants for business owners interested in small business grant opportunities.
The StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award: The StreetShares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that exists to inspire, educate, and support the military entrepreneurial community. This award is designed to boost small business owners who innovate and create a social impact in the changing marketplace. The applicant must be a veteran, reserve, or transitioning active duty member of any of the United States Armed Forces, a spouse of a military member, or the child or immediate family member of a Military Member who died on active duty. The first-place award is $15,000, the second-place award is $6,000, and the third-place award is $4,000. Visit www.streetsharesfoundation.org to learn more.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is a grant program by FedEx to award U.S. based small businesses with grants to help them grow and scale their business. The contest entry period typically takes place early in the year. The competition awards $250,000 to 12 small businesses, including a $50,000 grant and $7,500 in FedEx print and business services to its grand prize winner. Visit www.fedex.com to learn more.
The Girlboss Foundation Grant: Since 2014, the Girlboss Foundation has given away over $130,000 worth of grants to women entrepreneurs making innovative moves in the industries of fashion, design, music, and the arts. Each grant winner receives $15,000 in project funding, plus features on Girlboss.com, their newsletter, and social media platforms. Applicants are judged on innovation and creativity, business planning and acumen, along with a demonstration of financial need. Visit www.girlboss.com to learn more.
National Association for the Self-Employed: One of the ways that the NASE gives back to the community is through NASE Growth Grants. Since 2006, the NASE has awarded nearly $1,000,000 to members just like you. A new winner is chosen each month to be awarded up to a $4,000 grant to support the growth of their business. The grant can be used for a variety of business needs, including marketing, advertising, and hiring employees. Visit www.nase.org to learn more.
Grants.gov: Managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Grants.gov is an E-Government initiative operating under the governance of the Office of Management and Budget. The Grants.gov system houses information on over $1,000 grant programs and vets grant applications for federal grant-making agencies. To apply, you must obtain a DUNS number for your business (a unique nine-digit identification number), create an account at Grants.gov, and register to do business with the U.S. government through its System Award Management website. Visit Grants.gov to learn more.
Save Small Business: The Save Small Business Fund is a way for larger businesses and philanthropies to help the small business community suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, the Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as they can. Eligible businesses must employ between three and twenty people, be located in an economically vulnerable community, and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit www.savesmallbusiness.com to learn more.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program: Facebook is offering $100Million in cash grants and ad credits. To be eligible to apply, your business must have between two and fifty employees, have been in business for over a year, have experienced challenges from COVID-19, and be in or near a location where Facebook operates. Visit www.facebook.com to learn more.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Business Consortium Fund: The NMSDC provides a grant program known as the Business Consortium Fund, which is intended to support certified minority-owned businesses. Minority business owners must own and control 51% of the business. Minority business owners include entrepreneurs who are African-American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian-Pacific American, or Asian-Indian American. Visit www.nmsdc.org to learn more.
There are countless grants available, and this list only represents a few. The challenge is finding the right one for you. Once you have identified a grant that you are eligible for, the next step is to accurately complete the application process according to the guidelines given. If you qualify, you could gain access to funding without the obligation of repayment and potentially grow your business without the burden of debt.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International facilitated the transaction between StatKing Consulting, Inc and Genesis Biotechnology Group.
The seller, StatKing Consulting, has been providing data related clinical services to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries for over 30 years. StatKing has evolved to become an industry-respected, full-service Contract Research Organization led by two distinguished individuals, Dennis King and Rod Lashley. Both Dennis and Rod have assembled a world-class team of experts to navigate regulatory approval studies.
“Finding the right buyer for the business we had built over the last 30+ years was very important to us. Besides having the expertise to guide us through the steps in selling our business, Benchmark had the resources to connect us with several companies that fit our requirements. Benchmark also provided invaluable guidance as we successfully negotiated a particularly difficult situation enabling us to complete our sale.” – Rod Lashley, EVP StatKing Consulting, Inc.
The buyer, Genesis Biotechnology Group, is a New Jersey based healthcare company providing clinical diagnostics, drug discovery solutions, and manufacturing/distribution of essential laboratory products.
"The way pharma companies work with CROs is changing. CROs are taking more of a strategic planning role and execution in the drug discovery and development process. This engagement model results in sponsors and CROs becoming end-to-end partners, and M&A is helping CRO's extend their service portfolio to partner with their customers in providing greater efficiency in service and delivery across the R&D continuum. The acquisition of STATKING would bring GD3 one more step closer to becoming a full-service CRO," said Ben Bandaru, Ph.D., Director of Corporate Development for GBG.
Regarding the deal completion, Transaction Director Matthew Kekelis at Benchmark International commented, “Benchmark was thrilled to bring StatKing on board as a client. We enjoy working in all industries, but it’s always special working with healthcare companies given our office location in the heart of Nashville’s healthcare hub. Dennis and Rod have built a great company, and I know Genesis will carry on their legacy.”READ MORE >>
CCAC is a Texas-based full-service heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) company. They focus on servicing and installing residential and light commercial markets: the company services Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas.
Founded in 1994, Southern Air Heating & Cooling is a BBB Accredited and NATE Certified HVAC and plumbing services business serving residents across Louisiana and Mississippi. It proudly employs technicians who have met the highest standards of training in the industry and backs its work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
President David Mathews of CCAC, Inc commented regarding the deal, “I have enjoyed working with Benchmark for the sale of our business. They were professional and brought us several potential buyers to choose from. We had several offers and chose the buyers that we thought would be the best to take care of our employees and the business going forward. Thank you.”
Benchmark International proved value in finding a buyer with experience in the industry through its proprietary multi-medium marketing strategies. Also, Benchmark International incorporated several campaigns with local, regional, and national associations. As a result, Benchmark International presented the client with multiple buyers and offers for the client to have the most vital options and make the best decision for themselves, their business, and their employees.
Deal Associate Amy Alonso commented, “We are excited to see that our client’s legacy will remain and prosper through this transaction. We understood that our client was seeking a company that would provide a succession plan for the future of the company while also providing a great work environment for their employees. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success in the future.”
READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Arcus Consultancy Services (“Arcus Consultancy”) to ERM-Europe (“ERM”).
Arcus Consultancy is an award-winning, multidisciplinary environmental, planning and engineering consultancy, specialising in the renewable energy sector. Clients include five of the ‘big six’ UK energy suppliers and projects include some of the most significant renewable energy schemes in Europe and Africa. 70 staff work from the company’s offices in Glasgow, York, Durham, Maidstone, and Cape Town, providing a range of connected services.
ERM is a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, social consulting, and sustainability related services. The company works with the world’s leading organisations, helping them to understand their sustainability challenges. ERM employs more than 5,500 people who work in more than over 160 offices in over 40 countries and territories.
This acquisition will enable the continued growth journey of Arcus Consultancy, while providing an exciting opportunity for ERM to acquire Arcus Consultancy's specialism in renewable energy consulting.
Greg Shillabeer, Founder and CEO of Arcus Consultancy commented: “We have created a fantastic business in Arcus over the past 14 years and are keen to further develop and diversify geographically, in different market sectors and with new clients. By joining a market leader like ERM, with such a strong global platform and market presence, these aspirations will be immediately possible, whilst ensuring our clients continue to have access to the very best technical expertise. We also aspire to help organisations who are yet to fully realise the potential renewables can bring to their businesses and have ambitious plans to achieve this through our union with ERM, ultimately contributing toward the global transition to a lower carbon economy."READ MORE >>
Though every business will go through changes as it evolves, being acquired by a business is perhaps the one that can be the most stressful for its employees. There can be much uncertainty for a company that is acquired. If not handled properly, the buyer can lose some of their people (along with their customer relationships, institutional knowledge, etc.) that made the company successful. Managing the change positively during this tumultuous time can reduce a mass exodus after a sale is completed.
Key employees may be worried about whether their jobs will be intact after an acquisition. Perhaps they feel their role won't be needed, or the buyer will want to use their people to perform their functions. At the same time, the buyer may be worried that these key employees will leave. Leaders and other influencers within organizations set the tone for a company's culture, innovation, and strategic initiatives. Losing them reduces the value of the company they are acquiring.
One key to reducing uncertainty for the acquired company’s employees is first to create readiness for change. People will resist change unless they are ready for it. On the other hand, when they are open to change, employees are more likely to accept everything that comes with it. These employees will be an essential part of the transitional period after the acquisition. Getting their buy-in will pave the way for creating a stronger company in the future.
In their book Developing Management Skills, Whetten and Cameron suggest four ways to create readiness when leading positive change:
Benchmark best practice and compare current performance to the highest performance
Within the context of an acquisition, it's possible (likely even) that each of the involved organizations can perform certain functions better than the other. This may be one of the catalysts behind the acquisition. In that respect, synergies can be experienced when buyers and sellers learn each other’s best practices and implement improvements. Improvements can mean doing things better, faster and/or cheaper.
Institute symbolic events to signal the positive change
Symbolism can have a significant impact. The authors indicate that to be "successful in leading positive change, you must signal the end of the old way of doing things and the beginning of a new way of doing things." This can be accomplished in a variety of ways and can be elaborate or more reserved.
Create a new language that illustrates the positive change
Changing the way people talk about the change that is occurring is vital. If negativity abounds, positivity must replace that language. Taking the time to reframe things with a positive outlook can impact how employees view change.
People are typically against change because of the unknown. Finding common ground and having people participate in the change helps. Converting resistors is especially important because they have a way of influencing the rest of the team. Proactively identify the employees most likely to undermine the change and help them get on board first. They will, in turn, help persuade other employees.
Helping people understand the importance/urgency of the change that is happening through the acquisition will increase the likelihood they will stay and help ensure a smoother transition of ownership. The key is conveying that the company's employees are an essential part of the company's success going forward and preparing them for the change they will experience.
Benchmark International Buyer Profiles
Want to be the first to know when new opportunities come to market that fit your acquisition criteria? Create a buyer profile today. While you're there, be sure to check out all the resources we've created specifically for buyers, including opportunities, on-demand webinars, buyer events, and our latest edition of The Mark magazine.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition between Alliance Dx LLC and Tesis Laboratory, doing business as Claro labs.
Alliance Dx is a clinical pathology laboratory that provides diagnostic testing services for physician-referred patients in the healthcare sector. The company examines and analyzes DNA, body tissue, and other bodily samples for testing specific to cancer diagnostics. The company provides laboratory testing services for end-user patient clients who have been referred by physician clients in hematology and oncology for the Greater Houston, Texas area.
Claro Labs provides physicians, physician groups, and hospitals with full-service complex clinical diagnostic testing in an accurate and timely manner. Claro Labs prides itself on maintaining state-of-the-art technologies and equipment, meeting the highest industry standards.
Sam Ruta, former owner and CEO of Alliance Dx, commented, “The Benchmark Team did an excellent job of facilitating a transaction quickly and went above and beyond to keep all parties on track and on schedule until the very end.”
Anthony Hernandez, Benchmark International Transaction Director, shared, “the Benchmark Team is delighted to announce the successful sale of Alliance Dx to Tesis Laboratory, resulting in a swift exit for the seller despite the negative macroeconomic headwinds resulting from the current pandemic. The team at Benchmark International is excited about the future of Alliance Dx under the strategic ownership of the Tesis Laboratory group and wish each of the parties every success in their future endeavors.”READ MORE >>
The Beginning of the End
The turbulent year of 2020 is finally in our rearview mirror. While so many lives have been lost and everyday life is still far from normal, effective vaccines for COVID-19 are being distributed, offering hope for a near-term end to the disruption we’ve endured for the past year.
Markets have begun to respond with optimism for the highly anticipated return to normal, but we’re not at the finish line quite yet. Mass distribution of the vaccine will take time, and people and businesses are still suffering as the virus is spreading at record-high levels and restrictions are being reinforced. This means that, yes, our world remains suspended in a state of uncertainty, but we have good reason to believe that the global economy will continue to recover, and mergers and acquisitions will lead the recovery. Research indicates that 53 percent of US executives plan to increase M&A investment in 2021. Some sectors have fared rather well during the pandemic. But how well—and how quickly—the overall economy recovers will depend on factors such as virus containment, fiscal and monetary policy, and inflation.
Virus containment remains the main priority for economic recovery to succeed. However, there are other possible risks to market performance. A lack of adequate policy support could occur due to concerns about mounting government debt. The technology conflict between the US and China is likely to continue even under a more traditional Biden administration, and the impacts are expected to take years to manifest. The decisions made by the two countries will affect regional economies and the businesses that operate within them. Other geopolitical factors could also shift investor attention away from recovery, but they are considered rather unlikely at this time.READ MORE >>
Many business owners believe that enlisting an expert in their industry is the right way to go when selling their companies. But if you want to rake in the most value for your business, there’s a better way.
There is no question that mergers and acquisitions are complicated and subject to constantly changing market conditions and industry trends. An industry expert might know plenty about a particular industry, but they are not experts on selling and buying businesses. A mergers and acquisitions firm is.READ MORE >>
It is not uncommon for a company acquisition to be viewed as a simple transaction that means transferring the business from one owner to another. But rather than just allowing the business to simply carry on as is under new leadership, a merger or acquisition should be viewed as a solid strategy to boost the company’s overall health, productivity, and bottom line. While M&A transactions can serve as great solutions for exit strategies, they can be so much more than that. M&A should be regarded as a powerful tactical opportunity.
Often times, M&A deals are considered to be a way to get out and cash out with instant gratification. But what else might be possible when a deal is carefully crafted to deliver sustainable returns and support a powerful legacy for the business in the long-term? M&A done right can translate into great success for a company and, ultimately, its leadership.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Marley Drug, Inc. (“Marley Drug”) and Medicure Pharma Inc., the US subsidiary of Medicure Inc. (“Medicure”).
Marley Drug is a North Carolina corporation owned by Dr. David Marley and his wife, Elizabeth Marley. The company operates as a hybrid walk-in local pharmacy and a nationwide mail-order pharmacy focused on providing affordable prescription drugs. Established in 2002, the company is licensed throughout the United States, including Washington D.C., and in Puerto Rico.
Medicure is a pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of cardiovascular therapeutics for the U.S. market. Medicure Inc. is based in Winnipeg, Canada, and trades under the symbol MPH on the TSX Venture Exchange. Its subsidiaries include Medicure International, Inc. (Barbados), which owns the U.S. rights to AGGRASTAT and two U.S. corporations, Medicure USA, Inc. and Medicure Pharma, Inc., which distributes the company’s products in the United States.
Albert D. Friesen, PhD, CEO of Medicure Inc. commented regarding the deal, “The team at Benchmark International was very helpful in facilitating the Medicure Inc. acquisition of Marley Drug, Inc. Benchmark was well organized and kept the discussion and deal making on schedule for a timely closing to the original target date, for which I thank the entire Benchmark International team.”
The acquisition enables Medicure further to expand the distribution of its products within the United States. As a manufacturer, Medicure intends to provide branded medications, as well as extremely low-cost generic medications.
Dr. Marley commented, “It’s a perfect and responsible transition for Marley Drug.” Regarding Benchmark International, Dr. Marley added, “I can’t begin to express my gratitude to Benchmark International for their role in facilitating the sale of Marley Drug. As someone with zero experience in the M&A world, they were patient with me, as well as educational and efficient. It goes without saying I simply could not have asked for a smoother transaction. In fact, I doubt I could have had a successful transaction without the Benchmark International team.”
Senior Transaction Associate Sunny Yang Garten at Benchmark International commented, “It was a pleasure to support Marley Drug in this transaction. Dr. Marley and his team were wonderful to work with. They were engaging and always responsive to diligence requests. This acquisition represents a tremendous opportunity for both businesses and their teams. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”READ MORE >>