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The New Reality and What it Means for Valuation

Is the bull market for privately held companies over? No, that’s not (yet) the reality. But one of the hallmarks of the glorious decade for selling businesses is no more. And unfortunately, many of the acquirers’ gatekeepers weren’t around the last time there was a bull market that looked like this one.

So what is this new normal? Let’s first look at the old normal that we enjoyed from 2010 to 2019 - a nice, slow, smooth macroeconomic recovery. The normalcy of the “teens” allowed small and medium businesses to grow smoothly under ideal conditions. As a result, many businesses experienced near-constant year-over-year growth. And when they’ve failed to do so (or failed to do better), the reasons for the deviation could almost always legitimately be traced directly to some internal event; perhaps the loss of a key salesperson, the launch of a bad enhancement, the lack of ability to pass on an increase in inputs to the customer, or the inability to keep up with a specific competitor.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between 7 Elements Limited and Redcentric plc

Benchmark International has successfully advised on the sale of Edinburgh-based 7 Elements to Harrogate-based Redcentric.

7 Elements is a CREST accredited and award-winning technical assurance services company providing industry-leading security testing, incident response, and bespoke consultancy services.

Established in 1997, AIM-listed Redcentric is a managed service provider. The company operates across five locations and has over 500 employees.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

This acquisition expands upon the cyber security skills, capabilities, and services of Redcentric, complementing a growing portfolio, while addressing increasing market demand and customer requirements for security products and support.

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How to Avoid Seller's Remorse

Selling your business can be an emotional experience. You certainly don’t want to be left at the end of the process with a sinking feeling that you have made a bad deal or sold to a buyer who doesn’t appreciate the value and legacy of the company you have built. However, there are things that you can do to avoid seller’s remorse; we will discuss several of them in this article for you to consider.


It’s best to begin putting together an exit plan sooner rather than later. Preparing well for the transition of a business requires time, action, and significant attention. For many business owners, their business represents the majority of their wealth. Planning for the transition allows you to have enough time to minimize taxes, prepare financially for a living situation without the income from the business and put a plan together for the next phase of life. Although typically, entrepreneurs are not the retiring type, knowing what your next move will be can be very important for your state of mind post-sale. Seller’s remorse can often be avoided by beginning to plan for the transaction three to five years before the business owner wants to exit.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Absolute Solar and Wind Ltd and RSK Group

Benchmark International has advised on the transaction between Loch Lomond-based Absolute Solar and Wind (Absolute) and Cheshire-based RSK.

Established in 2007, Absolute provides renewable energy design, installation, and maintenance services for commercial and industrial renewable energy projects, primarily in the solar sector.

Working with customers such as Scottish Water, Exeter City Council, Edinburgh Airport, UK Research and Innovation, and local authorities, the Absolute team delivers solar, wind and low carbon heating services in conjunction with its supply chain.

RSK is a global leader in the delivery of sustainable solutions. The transaction marks part of RSK’s continued strategic expansion and is the 28th acquisition by the company this financial year.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

Following the transaction, Absolute will join RSK's Agriculture, Land and Property Management (ALPM) division under the direction of Ian Strudwick. The company will continue to be led by Absolute director Tom Newall.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between JTAM Engineering and a High-Net-Worth Individual

Posted on March 28, 2022 By in texas + Deal completions + Engineering

Benchmark International's client JTAM Engineering, a Houston-based engineering firm, has successfully sold to a High-Net-Worth Individual.

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Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Company

What’s Your Competitive Advantage on the Market?

Consider why prospective buyers would be interested in purchasing your company. You should be able to identify its assets in order to get a proper business valuation. How unique is your product or service offering? Do you outperform the competitors in your sector or in a particular geographic area? You will also want to consider whether your revenues are stable, growing, or declining. If you understand why someone would be interested in purchasing your company, you will be more equipped to enhance those qualities and effectively articulate them to buyers.

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Dispelling Myths about Private Equity Buyers

We have all heard the horror stories from lower middle market business owners. Private Equity buyers will come in and get rid of all of my employees, borrow an absurd amount of money to finance the acquisition, thereby straining my company’s balance sheet and income statement, and then, light a match Goodfellas-style when they are done extracting value from it. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret? The days of financially engineering a path to outsized profits are long gone. While there certainly was an era where Private Equity funds looked to lock in a guaranteed “win” by over-levering the balance sheet, stripping the Income Statement of “fat”- read, people- and quickly flipping to monetize the win, those days are largely behind us. Today, most professional buyers value the team in place more so than any perceived competitive advantage with the product or service offering. I’ll say that again, buyers often view the team as the most important determinant of success- more so even than the core product or service offered by the business.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Boyd Brothers (Fauldhouse) Ltd and British Engineering Services Group

Benchmark International is pleased to announce to acquisition of Livingston-based Boyd Brothers by British Engineering Services.

Family-founded Boyd Brothers is an electrical and civil engineering contractor with over 50 years’ experience. Since its establishment, it has grown to become a specialist in electrical vehicle charging point installations.

For over 160 years British Engineering Services has been engaged in the testing, inspection, and certification of industrial machinery via its highly skilled engineer surveyors and engineering consultants. The acquisition is British Engineering Services' sixth since 2019 and will enhance Boyd Brothers’ electrical division, as well as make specialist services more easily accessible to customers.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

Stephen Boyd, managing director at Boyd Brothers, commented: “We’re really happy to have joined the British Engineering Services Group. This is a fantastic move for both businesses. Their growth over the last few years is impressive and we’re excited to be a valuable part of their future.”

Paul Trivett, MD of Electrical and Consultancy at the British Engineering Services Group, said: “This is another great addition to the British Engineering Services Group. We’ve spent lots of time with the Boyd Brothers team over recent months and it’s very clear they share the same values and priorities as the wider Group. Not only do they always put their customer first, but they’re very focused on making sure nothing is left to chance. This will further enhance our presence in the electrical safety field, which we started to develop further with the acquisition of Lantei in December 2020.”

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Strategies for Retaining Talent During a Merger or Acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions are effective solutions for growing a company, getting a competitive edge, accessing new resources, lowering risk, tapping into new markets, and acquiring key talent. Obviously, these are all very appealing to investors and upper management. But employees do not always see it this way. 

In actuality, employees often view such a major change as a threat. These negative feelings can lead to employee retention problems, especially in today’s world where labor shortages are already a significant problem. Staff members may feel uncertain about the future of the company, how secure their job may be, how the culture will change, and how a change in leadership will impact them. They can also have their concerns worsened or blown out of proportion if there is not a clear line of communication about what is happening with the company during a transition. Sometimes employees will feel a sense of betrayal. Furthermore, some team members may feel guilty if they keep their jobs while coworkers are victims of downsizing or restructuring. Combine all these factors and quickly end up with people looking for work elsewhere. But that is not good for any deal. Why?

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between CFR Management Services Limited and a Private Investor

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that Derby-based CFR has been acquired by a private investor.

An exclusive supplier for Felfoldi in the UK, CFR is a distributor of a range of confectionery products including flavoured straws, baked goods & home baking kits, canned drinks, and sweets. Other high-profile customers include national retailers such as Asda, Poundland, and B&M Retail.

CFR was acquired by a private investor, allowing shareholder Christopher Rudd to pursue retirement plans.

Feel like it's time to slow down?

Commenting on working with Benchmark International, Mr Rudd said: “Thanks for all your hard work, efforts and your input. You’ve been a huge part of where we got to today.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Action Computer Sales & Service Inc. And Alltech Computer Works

Posted on March 16, 2022 By in Deal completions + Sellersmarket

The seller, Action Computer, is a complete IT services provider that plans, designs, implements, and maintains a company’s IT system. Action has been servicing the Southeast region since 1981, keeping systems current and trouble-free. “Our interaction with Benchmark International was a pleasurable experience. They worked with us to develop a projected business valuation, helped us get our documentation in order, and created a sales sheet that they presented to prospective buyers, and they kept us informed of the progress of progress all the way through - from building the prospectus to the final closing. I will be looking forward to working with them again on some of my other business ventures,” said Lloyd Keel, Owner, Action Computer.

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What is The Outlook For Capital Markets in 2022?

Capital markets drive capital to areas of innovation and positive growth, creating jobs and fueling economies. In the US, capital markets fund 73% of all economic activity. This takes the form of equity and debt financing of non-financial companies. Capital markets facilitate debt issuance, which tends to be a less restrictive form of borrowing for businesses. The usage of debt capital is the most prevalent in the US (80%), versus other regions (only 20–30%) where bank lending is more prevalent. 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction between McKee-Burke & Associates and PDQ Staffing

Posted on March 14, 2022 By in Deal completions + Amy Alonso

Benchmark International’s client McKee-Burke and Associates, a Houston, Texas-based company that provides world-class talent and HR solutions to help organizations drive performance, has successfully sold to PDQ Staffing, a company based in the DFW Metroplex.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

McKee-Burke and Associates encompass three service verticals to cover the entire employee life cycle: Recruiting, Talent Development, and Career Transition. Their services also include Executive Coaching & Development, Executive Search, and Executive Career Management. The firm services clients from various industries, sectors, and locations, with its typical clients being in energy, manufacturing, and industrial organizations.

The firm is a world-leading talent management business through its international network of partners and helps organizations optimize bottom lines through talent acquisition, development, and transition services. John Burke, CEO, commented, “I want to thank the Benchmark International team for its patience and professionalism in guiding us through this acquisition. The direction and foresight that they provided made the process simpler, less stressful, and enabled us to reach a successful sale.”

Since 1991, PDQ Staffing has taken service to a higher level for their customers. They currently staff over 4,000 employees a day and have proven to be a valued contributor to the successful operations of their clients business by providing exceptional staffing services. PDQ Staffing continually strives to look out for the best interest of their clients and associate workers and prides themselves in the quality of their employees.

Benchmark International proved value in finding a buyer with experience in the industry through its proprietary multi-medium marketing strategies. In addition, Benchmark International incorporated several campaigns with local, regional, and national associations.

Transaction Director, Amy Alonso, commented, “We are thrilled for our clients that they are able to confidently move into this next phase knowing that the business is in good hands and a succession plan is in place. We wish both parties the best of luck in all of their future endeavors.”

 

Schedule A Call

 

Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 /Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com

Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 Enquiries@BenchmarkIntl.com

Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com 

 

ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL

Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $8.25B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted thousands of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.

Website: http://www.benchmarkintl.com
Blog: http://blog.benchmarkcorporate.com

 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between  Discount Fence USA and Two High-Net-Worth Individuals

Posted on March 11, 2022 By in Deal completions

Benchmark International’s client Discount Fence USA, an Austin-based full-service fencing installation and repair company, has sold to two high-net-worth individuals.

Discount Fence USA is the largest residential fence contractor in Central Texas. The company offers services to residential clients and home builders in Central Texas and commercial clients in Texas statewide. The company prides itself on high-quality workmanship and completes most fencing projects within a 48-hour period. Discount Fence promises great service before, during, and after product installation.

Benchmark International proved value in finding a buyer with experience in the industry through its proprietary multi-medium marketing strategies. In addition, Benchmark International incorporated several campaigns with local, regional, and national associations.

Transaction Director, Amy Alonso, commented, “We are delighted to see that our client has been able to put a succession plan in place that will continue the growth and legacy that he started. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success in the future.”

 

Schedule A Call

Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 /Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com

Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 Enquiries@BenchmarkIntl.com

Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com 

 

ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL

Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $8.25B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted thousands of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.

Website: http://www.benchmarkintl.com
Blog: http://blog.benchmarkcorporate.com

 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between K.L. Durham Construction, DBA Performance Equipment Service and Mid-State Restoration, Inc.

Benchmark International’s K.L. Durham Construction, dba Performance Equipment Service, a San Antonio, Texas-based company that is a leader in the provision of soil stabilization and milling support services to contractors with projects in Texas, has successfully sold to Mid-State Restoration headquartered in Lakeville, Minnesota.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Performance Equipment Service serves contractors across the state of Texas, specializing in highways and city and county roads and projects for airport runways, automotive tire test tracks, and private work. The company has well over a decade of business under its belt and has emerged as the go-to contractor for milling and soil stabilization.

Midstate Companies has consistently evolved and expanded to become the industry leader in cutting-edge pavement recycling. The company provides quality transportation and pavement recycling services to its customers through environmentally safe practices. Midstate has always used cutting-edge technology/equipment coupled with industry-leading personnel to make their specialized services look easy.

Benchmark International proved value in finding a buyer with experience in the industry through its proprietary multi-medium marketing strategies. In addition, Benchmark International incorporated several campaigns with local, regional, and national associations.

Transaction Director, Amy Alonso, commented, “We understood that our client was seeking an acquirer that would provide a succession plan for the company and take care of the employees. We are excited to see that our client’s business will carry on and prosper as a result of this transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”

 

Schedule A Call

 

Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 /Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com

Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 Enquiries@BenchmarkIntl.com

Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com 

 

ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL

Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $8.25B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted thousands of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.

Website: http://www.benchmarkintl.com
Blog: http://blog.benchmarkcorporate.com

 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Carestaf of Dallas and Nova Leap

Benchmark International successfully facilitated the transaction of a private duty home healthcare company, providing services for elderly client patients, and hospice firms. The company also provides hospice staff placement to third-party hospice and healthcare providers.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Ray Engineering, Inc. and Madrid CPWG

Ray Engineering is a multi-disciplinary consulting firm specializing in civil, structural, and forensic engineering services. The company focuses on all facets of construction projects and serves both commercial and residential clients. Ray Engineering is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia. 

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Seller Protection With an Earnout

Earnout Agreements have become increasingly routine in deal structures over the last several years as they are most widely used during times of political and/or economic uncertainty. The earnout payment is additional compensation paid in the future to the seller after the business is sold. An earnout agreement can help bridge a valuation gap or encourage the former owner to remain for a longer period of time following the close of the sale. They should only be considered when the company will continue to operate the same in the years following the sale at the time of closing. While sellers can sometimes be nervous when it comes to agreeing to an earnout, there are protections for yourself that you can keep in mind.


When structuring the earnout, it is important to consider the financial metrics used and choose your benchmark carefully. For example, buyers will often prefer to use an EBITDA target as they believe this will be the most dependable indicator of the business's profitability. On the other hand, typically, sellers do not like using EBITDA due to concerns that the buyer can manipulate the number to benefit the buyer at the end of the earnout period. While sellers usually prefer a marker based on the business's gross revenues, gross profit can sometimes be used as a good compromise for both parties. Suppose an EBITDA calculation must be agreed to move forward with the deal. In that case, the seller can ask for various expenses, overhead costs, etc., to be excluded from the calculation.

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Benchmark International Wins Deal of the Year at the Northern Ireland Dealmaker Awards

Benchmark International is delighted to announce that the sale of County Antrim-based ventilation systems installer RGM Vent, where Benchmark International acted as lead adviser to the sellers, won Deal of the Year at the Insider Northern Ireland Dealmaker Awards.

The deal was deemed significant as Benchmark International’s Transaction Team maximised value for RGM Vent and maintained excellent relationships with the client, resulting in four referrals from the client and accountant to date, as well as a testimonial from CEO at RGM Vent, Raymond Murphy:

“March 2019 was the day I had my initial meeting with Benchmark and from the moment I met Nick and Jonathon I knew I was making the correct decision in going with Benchmark Int.

Jonathon was my key point of contact and he was backed by Alex, the process went great throughout and I would definitely recommend Benchmark.”

Looking for a Corporate Finance Adviser? 

The team overcame several complexities during the deal surrounding due diligence, tax advice, restructuring, and differing shareholder aspirations.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Poly Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and ADDvise Group, AB

The seller, Poly Pharmaceuitcals, Inc., is a development and distribution company focusing on generic and OTC pharmaceutical products such as cold, cough, allergy, and pain relief. Over the years, they have developed a portfolio of innovative, safe, and cost-effective medications for patients and caregivers. CEO, Chase Williams, had this to say: “Poly Pharmaceuticals would like to thank Benchmark International and, in particular, Tyler Gonska and Matthew Kekelis for their professional nature in which they vetted potential buyers and facilitated the acquisition of Poly Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to ADDvise Group US, Inc.”

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Mortgage Brokerage Industry Report

The Global Market

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic rattled the worldwide mortgage market. New lending volumes plummeted to record lows amid declining consumer sentiment, job losses, and nationwide lockdowns in many countries. However, new mortgage lending has remained on an upward trajectory since the second half of 2020. The total number of closed-end mortgage originations jumped from 8.3 million in 2019 to 13.6 million in 2020. That’s an increase of 65.2%. Regulators have kept interest rates at an all-time low. Even though interest rates could begin to tick up at some point, globally, the mortgage brokerage services market is expected to continue to see tremendous growth through the year 2027.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated The Transaction of Urban Insight and Planetizen to Cavan Legacy

Benchmark International successfully facilitated the transaction of Urban Insight, a leading Los Angeles-based digital agency providing web design and development services for businesses and organizations nationally across various sectors with a specialty in cultural arts, legal aid, urban planning, financial services, and higher education industries.
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