Keeping Up: Benchmark International Conferences

Posted on May 22, 2018 By

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

2018 has been an active year for the Benchmark International team. Team members have attended prestigious conferencing events in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and the UK. Benchmark International leaders have been attending these events and bringing the newest industry information back to the rest of the team.


Managing Director, Clinton Johnston, attended the Family Office Connect Deal Sourcing Event. Only those invited can attend this event. It gives individual firms the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with family offices and gain business and connections through this channel.

Johnston explained that “family offices represent a growing percentage of the buyer pool for lower middle markets. Unlike other buyers, family offices don’t join organizations, advertise, or even make cold calls to sellers or brokers. This makes any opportunity you have to get in front of them a very valuable one. In this case, we already had relationships with about half of the family offices in attendance and the event was a good chance to strengthen those relationships. Most of the buyers we met there, for the first time, have now already looked through several of our engagements fitting their very tailored target criteria.”

He said that having these relationships in place is beneficial for our clients as well. “Our client base tend to really appreciate dealing with family offices. The clients quickly see that they are a nice mix of both the financial and deal savviness of private equity funds on the one hand and the deep experience base of a trade buyer on the other,” he said. “Family offices typically buy and hold their investments so sellers who are concerned about the company ‘being flipped’ find their strategy very appealing. Similarly, they tend to not merge the target company into a bigger operational entity. So, clients looking to ensure their business continues on as a going concern also gravitate toward them in a competitive bidding scenario against strategic or trade buyers.”


Benchmark International sponsored and attended the 2018 Texas ACG Capital Connection event in Houston, Texas from

March 28 to March 29, 2018. Texas ACG Capital Connection is known as the most significant private equity and debt capital event in Texas and the Southern United States. It is also one of the largest ACG Capital Connections in the United States.

Benchmark International’s Managing Director, Kendall Stafford, feels that these types of events are essential to the team’s professional development and growth, and they offer Benchmark International the opportunity to present their clients’ opportunities to many buyers. “These events allow us to connect with financial buyers across several industries, states, and countries at the same time,” she said. “Additionally, members of our team can attend keynote speaker sessions, and they can share what they learn with the rest of the team, so we can focus on trends in today’s M&A market.”

Stafford further explained that, as an investment banking sponsor, Benchmark International was able to schedule one-on-one twenty-minute meetings with potential buyers, so they could pitch their clients’ opportunities. This intimate interaction with buyers furthers Benchmark International’s brand awareness as well. Stafford stated “attendees we come in contact with really get to learn more about our company and the services we offer. They get to see the depths of our reach as, not only a national organization, but an international one as well. This allows us to continue to be the ‘go to’ option for private equity seeking new investments.”


The Capital Connection hosted another ACG event in Atlanta, GA. Managing Directors, Dara Shareef and Tyrus O’Neill, attended this event on February 7 and 8, 2018.

O’Neill said the event was invaluable. “The ACG Atlanta event was a huge success. It’s rare to have so many decision makers on the buy-side in one room and available to discuss deal flow,” he said. “We look forward to these events as they allows us an opportunity to personally highlight our clients to top-tier buyers and capital providers.”

Shareef stated his enthusiasm for the event as well. “Over the course of my two days, I met with roughly 35 buyers and spoke with a dozen or more during impromptu discussions. My team researched each of the buyers I met with and assembled a bespoke deal packet for each of them, which highlighted those Benchmark International clients best suited to their mandate and existing portfolio.” Shareef further explained this preparation made connections easier to form. “Buyers were particularly impressed with our diligent research and preparation. In fact, many provided feedback the same day. Our participation allowed us to strengthen existing relationships with deal makers far and wide. The Capital Connection is a worthy event for Benchmark International, and our clients and I look forward to participating in the near future.”


Benchmark International had the privilege of participating in Akerman’s New York Private Equity Southeast Investment Bank Deal Bridge in Miami, FL on March 20, 2018. This event gave Benchmark International the opportunity to set up one-on-one meetings with middle-market investment banks and private equity firms in the advanced manufacturing, industrial services, and distribution industries. This gave us the opportunity to connect with the buyers that would benefit our clients in these sectors. According to Ackerman, “Deal Bridge is designed to facilitate relationships to efficiently link opportunities with the right capital.”

Managing Director, Dara Shareef also attended this event. “Akerman’s team facilitated a unique and rewarding event. Over the course of one day, I had one-on-one meetings with roughly 20 fully vetted private equity fund managers. It would be very difficult to recreate such an opportunity,” he said. “The funds were afforded the platform to describe their investment focus, current thesis, and differentiators. As an M&A intermediary, I was able to showcase our clients to a captive audience.”

Shareef further expressed the organization of the event made it even more worthwhile for him. “Having the list of attendees in advance, I was able to review the funds’ portfolios and discuss specific clients that fit their mandate. The Akerman team facilitated the event with the precision of a Swiss timepiece. Over the span of a single day, I was able to further develop existing relationships and forge new ones with qualified buyers. I look forward to attending next year.”


Furthermore, Benchmark International is delighted to have been a lead sponsor for the 2018 Mid-Market Real Deals Conference held at the Hilton London Bankside in London, England on January 30, 2018. This was an essential opportunity for Benchmark International to meet with potential buyers for our clients as it is the main event focused on Europe’s mid-market. This was Benchmark International’s seventh year attending this event. It is never short on attendees, with more than 300 individuals and more than 45 expert speakers. Given the event’s focus on Europe’s mid-market, our European offices are able to gain a great deal of insight into their surrounding markets.

Benchmark International’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Lawrie, explained the Mid-Market Real Deals Conference offers an essential networking opportunity. “As part of our multichannel marketing strategies on behalf of our clients, Benchmark International has, since 2011, been the only M&A firm showcasing opportunities at the annual Real Deals Mid-Market event,” he said. “Time and again it has proven an excellent platform for nurturing existing relationships with leading European Private Equity firms, as well as being a direct route to forging new relationships with key players.”


Call Benchmark International today if you are interested in an exit or growth strategy or if you are interested in acquiring.

Schedule a call to speak to an Analyst

Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 /

Europe: Carl Settle at +44 (0)161 359 4400 /

Africa: Anthony McCardle at +2721 300 2055 /


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 $5B across 30 industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 13 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.


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