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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Dealtop Limited and The Go-Ahead Group plc

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the acquisition of Exeter-based Dealtop T/A Dartline Coaches by Newcastle upon Tyne-based Go-Ahead.

Beginning with eight vehicles in 1987, Dartline has grown its operations over its 25 years of trading and now possesses 84 vehicles, employs 118 people, and provides a comprehensive range of transport services. In addition to coaches and buses, Dartline runs special education needs taxis.

Established in 1987, Go-Ahead is one of the UK’s leading public transport companies with operations in the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Norway, and Germany. Formerly listed on the London Stock Exchange, in 2022 it was purchased by Kinetic Group and Globalvia.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

In the West Country, Go-Ahead has grown rapidly. From its origins as Plymouth Citybus, the group expanded into East Cornwall in 2014, and again in 2020 through an eight-year contract to deliver rural bus routes from Lands End to the Tamar for the county council, creating Go Cornwall Bus. The combined operation was given a new corporate identity as Go South West.

Following the acquisition, Go South West will operate 380 vehicles and employ 90 people under four customer-facing brands: Dartline, Go Cornwall Bus, Go Devon Bus and Plymouth Citybus.

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The Public-To-Private Trend For New Paths To Growth

Many individuals at large institutions that trade in the public markets are turning to private ownership and pursuing majority equity positions in lower middle-market companies and even creating their own funds. This public-to-private trend is partially being driven by current and expected public market volatility over the next few years, combined with individual business circumstances, all with the expectation for a brighter future. The recent stock market instability is presenting attractive opportunities for companies that may perform better in the private market. Private equity and private investors have ample capital available to them at a time when public market valuations are sinking. The interest is coming from both private equity funds and strategies, as private markets are gaining ground on public markets. Take-privates are on pace for the second year in a row at $100 billion or more in deal value. That is a first for the industry in more than a decade.

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Benchmark International Awarded Corporate / Strategic Deal Of The Year ($10MM - $25MM)

Benchmark International was awarded Corporate/Strategic Deal of the Year ($10MM - $25MM) for the transaction of Performance Equipment to Mid State Restoration in The M&A Advisor's 21st Annual M&A Advisor Awards.

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Benchmark International Awarded Cross-Border Deal Of The Year ($10MM - $25MM)

Benchmark International was awarded Cross-Border Deal of the Year ($10MM - $25MM) for the sale of Summus Group to Sia Partners at The M&A Advisor’s 21st Annual M&A Advisor Awards.

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Benchmark International Named Leading Specialist M&A Advisory Firm Of The Year 2023

Benchmark International has been named Leading Specialist M&A Advisory Firm of the Year 2023 in the United Kingdom by Acquisition International's Leading Adviser Awards.

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­­Benchmark International Is Pleased To Announce The Transaction Of Chustz Surveying, L.L.C. And GIS Engineering

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Chustz Surveying, a Louisiana-Based Surveying Company, and GIS Engineering, a professional service firm across five locations in Louisiana.

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Benchmark International Facilitated the Transaction of NMC Exteriors and Remodeling to Gauge Capital / Apple Roofing

The seller, NMC Exteriors, is a Minneapolis, MN based residential and commercial roofing and siding provider with 20+ years serving homeowners and businesses in the greater Minneapolis area. NMC’s commitment to quality has propelled them to be a market leader in their community.  They have achieved an A+ accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and have been awarded the Platinum Preferred Contractor by Owens Corning.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated a Transaction Between Paramount Urgent Care, Inc. and HCA Healthcare.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated a transaction between Florida-based Paramount Urgent Care, Inc. (“Paramount”) and HCA Healthcare, headquartered in Nashville, TN. Paramount operates six urgent care clinics in Central Florida, with locations in Clermont, The Villages, Oviedo, Orlando, Casselberry, and Windemere Villages. 

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Benchmark International Ranked in Factset’s Global League Tables

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that it has ranked in FactSet’s Flashwire Advisor league tables for the number of deals it has conducted in the UK, Europe and globally in Q3.

In the UK, Benchmark has placed 8th, among companies such as BDO, Grant Thornton, KPMG, and PwC.

Meanwhile, for Europe, Benchmark has placed 23rd, and has ranked 40th globally.

Looking for a Corporate Finance Adviser? 

FactSet Mergers covers all deals where the buyer and seller are disclosed and the transaction involves the sale of at least 5% stake in a business, with some exceptions for impactful or high value deals.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Shift Left Group Limited and Planit Software Testing Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Yorkshire-headquartered Shift Left by Sydney-headquartered Planit, for an undisclosed sum.

Shift Left provides specialist business and technology consultancy services, improving quality and reducing risk for clients by providing the strategies, solutions and advice needed to move quality earlier and throughout IT lifecycles of change. Working with clients throughout the UK and Europe, the company has a strong reputation in a niche industry with renowned blue-chip clients.

Planit is the leading provider of quality engineering solutions, consultancy, services, and training in the Asia Pacific region. The company enables businesses to deliver better software by providing the skills and solutions needed to improve the quality of their software and the way they deliver it.

Under the acquisition, Shift Left will continue to operate under its brand, with its co-founders David Rigler and Alan Upton leading Shift Left operations.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

According to Managing Director, Mr. Rigler, the company’s partnership with Planit will enable Shift Left to continue its focus on providing a quality service to its customers by leveraging the scale and capability that Planit has within its existing operations.

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Why Competition Matters

How will running a competitive bid process help me?

The lower middle market remains very active, and we anticipate that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. If you are a business owner, you have probably received unsolicited interest and perhaps even offers for your business. There is a lot of money chasing few deals, so buyers are looking to find off-market deals to build their pipeline and purchase a business below market value to boost their investors’ returns. Having additional buyers at the table tends only to benefit the seller.

When a buyer uncovers an off-market deal, they are often in a better position to buy the business at a discounted price than what they would pay in a formal auction or open bid process. Buyers seek acquisitions to help solve a problem or hit an ROI benchmark. If the buyer can purchase a business below market, then the buyer ends up winning both in the current transaction and future transactions. The business owner is the one who tends to have seller’s remorse. Our team commonly speaks with buyers who will not participate in auction processes because they do not want to pay top dollar, and those buyers know that they are not willing to do what it takes to win the bid.

If you have ever watched an episode of Shark Tank when all the sharks are bidding on an opportunity, you have seen how a competitive bid process can benefit the company pitching to the sharks. When Lori Greiner, Barbara Coroan, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, or Mark Cuban share an interest in an opportunity, it often piques the interest of another shark who wants to jump in and try to win the bid. Sometimes, the sharks even go into the deal together. This process also happens for deals within the lower middle market. When two buyers go into a deal together, they are called co-investments. In this case, two can be better than one. However, you will not know if co-investments are an option until you go to market and run a process.

When a seller receives an offer from an unsolicited party, the offer only reflects one party’s view of the value of the business. Businesses are comprised of both tangible and intangible assets. That is, the value of the business lies not only in its tangible assets like machines and inventory but, perhaps more importantly, in the quality of its people, process, customer base, and intellectual property. Acquirers buy businesses for many reasons, including for geographic expansion, product line development, talent acquisition, and competitive advantages, to name a few. Why is a business worth 5x to one buyer but 7x to another? A business's real value is the opportunities an acquirer has post-closing. Ultimately, the only way to know if the offer in hand is a representation of the market or even the best option for the business owner is to explore multiple views of the value of the business.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

If you move forward with the one offer available, what will you do if the deal falls apart during due diligence? Due diligence can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process. If you go through the due diligence process and the deal is unsuccessful, what? You will not have a second or third option. The sale process can be very emotional. Often, when a deal closing is not successful, a firm that ran a bid process will typically have a handful of bidders that they are able to re-engage to work toward a successful closing. The deal team can utilize the initial data request and due diligence process to make the workload lighter the second time around. An experienced M&A deal team will be able to craft a strategy to target active buyers from previous efforts and bring them back to the table. However, if you only have one option, you must start over from the beginning. By the time you start over, you are at risk of missing the market, which might cost you tens of millions of dollars.

The other great aspect of running a bid process is that you have leverage during due diligence. Typically, when a letter of intent is signed, the negotiation power shifts from the seller to the buyer. If you have other suitors waiting in the background, an experienced M&A deal team can use that competitive tension to help a seller secure the best deal on the market and keep the buyer in check. The buyer who ultimately wins a formal auction process knows that there were other suitors competing for the bid.

It is crucial for any seller considering a sale to hire a capable sell-side M&A firm to take them to market. A dedicated sell-side team virtually assures you that you will have multiple suitors and bids. You will be able to see several different views on the value of your business and be able to determine the optimal deal structure. The process will allow you to explore other partnerships and understand what competitive advantage various firms can bring to the table. If you compare the company sale process to dating, it is good to know what other suitors offer so you can pick the best one for you! Having an experienced M&A team take you to market to uncover your best options will give you the peace of mind that you have the information you need to make the best decision for you and your business.

  Author
  Kendall Stafford
  Managing Partner
  Benchmark International

  T: +1 512 347 2000
  E: STAFFORD@BENCHMARKINTL.COM

 

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Benchmark International Facilitated The Transaction Between Impact Communications And Imagination Works, Inc.

The seller, Impact Communications, is a Cleveland, OH-based full-service production company specializing in in-person and virtual event experiences, video production, museum and exhibits, and interactive applications. With over 40 years of providing services to some of the largest brands in the country, Impact Communications has established a stellar reputation for delivering quality projects.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between We Are Hyrdogen Ltd and PA Media Group

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the acquisition of Glasgow-based Hydrogen by London-based PA Media.

Established in 2016, award-winning Hydrogen is the largest social media agency in Scotland, specialising in social media management, B2B and B2C content creation, community management, paid advertising, research, and insights.

The company has delivered significant year-on-year growth since its formation and has worked with clients across the publishing, utilities, FMCG and hospitality sectors, including The Economist, Highland Park, SSE and Magners.

PA Media is the UK's leading provider of multimedia content and services. The group comprises a diverse portfolio of specialist media companies, spanning news and information, technology, and communications services.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

PA Media Group has 20 shareholders, who are mainly UK news and media businesses. The largest shareholders include DMGT plc, Informa plc, News UK plc and Reach plc.

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Benchmark International Facilitated The Transaction Between Central Hydraulics And Sbp Holdings.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated a transaction between Florida-based Central Hydraulics, Inc. (“Central”) and SBP Holdings of Houston, Texas. Founded in 1983, Central is a distributor of hoses and other products that also operates full-service hydraulic sales and repair shops. Central maintains five locations in Daytona Beach, Cocoa, Leesburg, Ocala, and Tampa. SBP Holdings, the country’s no. 2 hose and accessories distributor, maintains a footprint of approximately 85 locations and 1,000 employees.

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2022 Global Digital Advertising Industry Report

The digital advertising sector is also often referred to as online marketing, Internet advertising, and web advertising. The market includes revenues gained by advertising activities conducted by organizations targeting consumers via Internet-enabled mobile devices and personal computers.

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