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The Importance of a Handshake - 12 Reasons Why Face to Face Interactions Will Never Go Away

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. “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.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. A bunch of people in a room and a clean whiteboard can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs and ideas. Ask Mark Zuckerberg.

  5. 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.

  6. Millennials prefer face to face meetings in higher percentages than Gen X.

  7. 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.

  8. “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
Even in terms of a P&L, it makes sense to travel. Underscored by the sheer number of cities worldwide that have made their identity around business travel and convention destinations. The impact this has on the economy and job creation can never be fully explored. While it certainly isn’t an individual business’ prerogative to spend their hard-earned dollars on company meals, it’s still a sound fiscal path.

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:

Inc.com

Business.com

Great Business Schools

Eventbrite

Medium

Washington Post

Entrepreneur

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2021 Is Here. Why You Should Sell Now

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.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC and Park Associates, PLLC

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.”

 

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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.

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5 Things Benchmark International Tells Sellers to Ask Buyers

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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Benchmark International Named Best Practice Operator of the Year (Corporate Finance) for International Markets and USA

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.

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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.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Ace Security & Electrical Ltd and Churches Fire Security Ltd

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.

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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.”

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Small Business Grants That Are Available to Help Your Business Grow

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.

 

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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.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between StatKing Consulting, Inc and Genesis Biotechnology Group

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.

 

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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.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between CCAC, Inc and an Affiliate of Southern Air Heating & Cooling

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.”

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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.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Arcus Consultancy Services Limited and ERM-Europe Ltd

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.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

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."

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Leading Positive Change After an Acquisition

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.

 

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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.

Overcome resistance

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.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Alliance Dx, LLC and Tesis Laboratory

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.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

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.”

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2021 M&A Outlook

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.

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Why Choose An M&A Firm Over An Industry Expert?

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.

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M&A As A Strategic Opportunity For Business Owners

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.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Marley Drug, Inc. and Medicure Inc.

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.”

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

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.”

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2020 M&A In The Global Sports World

In early 2020, there was plenty of optimism for investment opportunities and growth in the sports sector prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has since caused disruption in nearly every sector around the world. Financial uncertainty has been a large factor in addition to issues surrounding player contracts and broadcasting rights. Mergers and acquisitions activity in the global sports world has experienced a downward trend but there is hope on the horizon.

Italian Football

Amidst COVID-19 delays, Italian football (calico) has had its share of off-the-field matters this year. In August, the Italian club A.S. Roma announced the completion of a takeover by Texas-based Friedkin Group: an 86.6% stake in for €591 million, a large decrease from the previously agreed upon figure of €750 million prior to the pandemic. This lower price demonstrates how lost matches, sponsorship, and broadcasting income all impact the valuation of sports clubs. In light of these decreasing valuations, PE firms could be motivated to seek out bargain M&A and financing opportunities.

Italy’s Serie A has also embraced private investment. In September, its 20 clubs agreed to create its own media company financed partially by PE funds in order to better organize the sale and promotion of the league's TV rights. The move is designed to improve governance and increase revenue, especially abroad.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Industrial Water Management Ltd and EnviroChemie Group GmbH

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Dublin-based Industrial Water Management to German-based EnviroChemie Group, a subsidiary of SKion Water GmbH.

Industrial Water Management has been established since 1974 and is engaged in the manufacture and supply of boiler and cooling water treatment chemicals and technical backup services, secondary disinfection equipment, remedial services and other water hygiene solutions to the commercial, industrial and healthcare sectors. With 30 employees, IWM generates an annual turnover of approximately €3 million.

Founded in 1976, EnviroChemie supplies sustainable system solutions worldwide for all the tasks involved in industrial water treatment and the treatment of process water, circulation water, cooling water, boiler water and wastewater. The company serves customers in industrial and commercial sectors such as pharmaceuticals & biotechnology, automotive, transportation, chemicals, dairy, food & beverage, metals, mining, public swimming pools & spas, and textiles.

The acquisition of IWM will strengthen the mutual competencies in the companies’ markets and expand the range of services available for customers. This transaction will give EnviroChemie a presence in Ireland, giving these customers the potential to benefit from EnviroChemie’s broad range of products and services as well as local support from IWM.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

Conor O' Donovan, CEO of IWM, commented: "The high level of competence and diverse experience of the experts at EnviroChemie Group will enhance IWM’s capacity in providing comprehensive support to our customers in Ireland. We are also proud to bring our expertise, specifically in water hygiene and legionella treatment, to the customers of our new colleagues. Many existing and new customers will benefit from the expansion of EnviroChemie Group's range of services with complete solutions for process water and wastewater".

On behalf of everyone at Benchmark International, we would like to wish both parties the very best going forward.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Card Geotechnics Limited and CET Infrastructure

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Surrey-based Card Geotechnics (CGL) and Palatine-backed CET Infrastructure.

CGL is a specialist geotechnical and geoenvironmental consultancy, providing services for a wide spectrum of ground-based challenges across the construction industry. Using advanced software, the company pioneers time and cost-effective solutions to accommodate clients’ specifications. Operating from seven locations across the UK and Ireland, the company serves clients across a range of market sectors including residential, commercial, infrastructure and energy.

CET Infrastructure is a provider of specialist geotechnical, environmental and materials testing services to the construction and engineering sector. The company is backed by mid-market investor, Palatine Private Equity.

The acquisition, the company’s largest to date, continues its buy-and-build strategy and will take annual revenues at CET Infrastructure to over £30m, as well as significantly broaden the breadth and depth of the technical services it offers to customers.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Peter Eglinton, CEO of CET Group, says: “We are delighted to welcome the team at CGL to CET and excited about the range of skills and services that we can now offer. From the first time we met the team at CGL, we knew that we had a very similar focus around developing our staff and delivering for our customers.”

On behalf of everyone at Benchmark International, we would like to wish both parties the very best going forward.

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Post-COVID Due Diligence

No one knows for sure how much longer the COVID-19 pandemic will be affecting our lives and our businesses. But we do know that mergers and acquisitions are still happening, deal activity will pick up, and the way we approach due diligence in a post-COVID world has the power to make major differences when it comes to selling a company. While there are new obstacles to consider, there are also significant opportunities to identify and create value, and help companies outperform the market.

Real-time Data

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Benchmark International is Pleased to Announce Our Attendance at the ACG New York Annual Technology M&A Conference

Benchmark International is pleased to announce our attendance at the ACG New York Annual Technology M&A Conference on December 16, 2020.

The conference is devoted to deal making in the middle-market technology sector.

Key elements include:

  • Multi billions in dry powder represented
  • Attendees include premier technology investors and intermediaries
  • 100+ senior capital providers and technology sector insiders
  • Private one-on-one meetings scheduled with top decision makers
  • Speakers include high profile founders that have sold to Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google

Link to Conference Registration: https://www.acg.org/nyc/events/acg-ny-annual-technology-ma-conference 

ACG New York Annual Technology M&A Conference 

Key topics include the latest trends and investment opportunities:

  • Identifying how Private Equity using technology for competitive advantage and to enhance portfolio company value
  • Finding tech innovations and ideas that will boom beyond CV-19
  • Naming where are Capital Providers are placing their technology sub sector bet

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Grow Your Business Through A Strategic Alliance Or Strategic Partnership

Mergers and acquisitions are proven highly effective strategies for business owners that want to create growth, diversify, save a struggling business, or craft an exit strategy for their retirement. But maybe you are seeking a less-permanent measure to boost your bottom line. By forming a strategic alliance or a strategic partnership with another business, you can create significant growth and cost savings for both companies. 

Strategic Alliances
Your business can gain a series of advantages through a legal strategic alliance agreement. An alliance can improve operations, pool resources, share core competencies, change the competitive landscape, create economies of scale, and offer a lower cost way to enter new sectors. There are three main types of strategic alliances:
  • Joint Venture: When two or more parent companies form an entity together with a business objective, sharing in the risks and returns, and retaining their individual legal statuses. It can be an equal joint venture, in which both parent companies own an equal portion of the entity, or it can be a majority-owned venture, in which one partner owns a larger percentage of the company. A joint venture can help to save money, combine expertise, or enter new markets. It is not a partnership, consortium, or merger. 
  • Equity Alliance: When one company purchases a specific percentage of equity in another company. 
  • Non-Equity Alliance: When two companies enter into a contractual relationship, which allocates resources, capabilities, assets, or other means to one another.
 
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Kendall Stafford Wins the 2020 Americas Rising Star Dealmakers Award

A special congratulations to Managing Partner Kendall Stafford at Benchmark International for receiving the Americas Rising Star Dealmakers award for 2020.

Global M&A Network honored the winners of the Americas Rising Star Dealmakers during the 3rd annual virtual ceremony celebrations held this year. The prestigious "once in a lifetime" award singularly recognizes brilliant and exceptional young dealmakers from the private equity and growth investors, lending, M&A, and restructuring transactional communities.

"We congratulate the winners for their talents and commitment to excellence in executing growth generating deals. They represent the future of the industry as an invaluable team member at their firm. We are especially delighted to honor their outstanding achievements during these times of economic uncertainty as the recipient of the "rising golden star" personal trophy accolade and wish them many successes throughout their professional career and for many more years ahead." said Shanta Kumari, CEO and global group editor, at Global M&A Network.

Kendall Stafford was chosen based on her track record of success, compassionate leadership skills, and expanded M&A knowledge. Kendall commented regarding the award, "It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Global M&A Network as one of America’s top dealmakers. I am passionate about helping middle-market business owners achieve their exit strategies. I have been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to thrive in such a rewarding market.”

Kendall began as a Director at Benchmark International's US headquarters in Tampa, Florida. She now resides as the Managing Partner at Benchmark International's Austin office, where she continues to lead with compassion, empathy, and transparency, not only for her clients but for her team. 

Check out the full list of 2020 winners HERE, and again congratulations to Kendall Stafford for being acknowledged and receiving this prestigious award.

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Giving Santa a Helping Hand

Cash for Kids launches Mission Christmas each year to provide gifts for children who may not receive a present under the tree on Christmas Day. In this tumultuous year, the charity needs donations more than ever as more families unexpectedly face poverty.

Working with community organisations, social workers, schools, other charities and the emergency services, Mission Christmas ensures gifts donated reach children living in poverty.

Inspired by the work the charity does, Benchmark International decided that in place of gifts for suppliers it would donate presents to Mission Christmas, which will be distributed to disadvantaged children across the North West, hoping to bring some Christmas cheer to families during these difficult times.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Calvin’s Electric and In Charge LLC

Calvin’s Electric is an electrical contractor that focuses on residential projects.  The company provides hardwire electric services for their clients’ projects while improving each customer’s electrical efficiency and providing electrical code compliance consulting as needed. They also offer 24-hour service for their existing customers.

Calvin’s Electric is based in Dripping Springs, a suburb of Austin, Texas, but the company services Austin and the surrounding area. They work with new home builders such as Ash Creek Homes, Brookfield Residential, Sitterle Homes, and Scott Felder Homes, to name a few.

In Charge LLC began in 2007 and provides residential production construction, custom residential and commercial construction, and retrofit services.  In Charge completes jobs that are production or custom and have vast expertise in the areas of electric options, smart home technology, and lighting. In Charge is headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, a suburb of Austin, Texas. Prior to the acquisition of Calvin’s Electric, they had seven locations in Texas.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

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. While clients are often hesitant to meet with local competitors, after speaking with both parties about their goals with a potential transaction, it was abundantly clear that there could be a great fit between them. After much work, we could get both parties in the same room where the great cultural fit emerged.

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 company’s future while also providing a great work environment for their employees. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success in the future.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Associates in Pediatric Therapy and VersiCare Group

November 2020 Benchmark International facilitated the transaction between Associates in Pediatric Therapy (serving Kentucky and Indiana) and VersiCare Group of Detroit, MI.

The seller,  Associates in Pediatric Therapy, has provided therapeutic services to children with special needs in Metro Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Erlanger, and Southern Indiana since 2007. Renea Sageser, CEO of APT, and husband Scott started with six part-time employees and grew to over 175 employees who serve patients in rural areas to receive high-quality care closer to their homes.

The buyer, VersiCare Group, is a Detroit, MI-based provider of home and community-based services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We are pleased to welcome APT to the VersiCare Family,” stated Lauren Sclesky, CEO of VersiCare. “When we decided to launch an aggressive growth plan in 2018, we targeted companies who share the mission in “helping people succeed” that has led to VersiCare’s success. With this new partnership, I am confident we can continue to provide best-in-class services across Kentucky and Indiana in addition to our other service areas.”

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Benchmark International was fortunate enough to represent another highly sought after business opportunity with Associates in Pediatric Therapy.  “We had a lot of connections along the way.  We never know who he is going to put in our path.  We challenge ourselves every day to be better.  We are only here for a short period of time.  I pray we cross paths again one day.  Thank you and your team for their contributions,” stated CFO of APT, Scott Sageser.

Matthew Kekelis, Transaction Director with Benchmark International, added “Scott and Renea Sageser are truly the most caring clients whom I have ever had the pleasure of working with.  Their passion for providing quality care to children in need and providing a family environment for their staff is commendable. It deserves to be recognized.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between All-Star Fire, LLC and Fire Safety and Protection, LLC, a Portfolio Company of Sunny River Management

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between All-Star Fire, LLC (“ASF”) and Fire Safety and Protection, LLC (“FSP”), a portfolio company of Sunny River Management (“SRM”).

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD and an Undisclosed Acquirer for the Regal Pet Health Brand

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD and an Undisclosed Acquirer for the Regal Pet Health Brand.

NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD is a private company owning several brands in the complementary medicines and natural beauty sections including Herbex. NEWGROUP brands trade throughout South Africa and internationally.  The Regal Pet Health brand – A division of NEWGROUP– is comprised of a range of herbal remedies that offer the pet owner the tools to address the health of their pets naturally.

Eddie Bisset, Chief Executive Officer for NEWGROUP, commented on the transaction saying, “I would like to thank the full Benchmark team for the smooth facilitation of the Regal Pet Health Brand sale. The level of professionalism displayed by everyone from start to finish is unparalleled. As a first time seller, we were guided every step of the way, with no pressure or unanswered questions. Every concern, question or change of strategy was met with prompt courteous answers.”

Is transformation important to your business?

The acquirer, is one of the top five companies in the Health and Beauty Industry with a growing footprint in the rest of Africa. The acquirer commented on the transaction: “It really was a pleasure working with Benchmark in facilitating this transaction. They were really on the button and extremely quick to give feedback in making things go as smooth and fast as possible.”

Tiaan Smit, Transaction Director at Benchmark International added, “Throughout the entire process all parties involved were communicative and collaborative, allowing the Benchmark team to execute a swift transaction. It was a pleasure to represent NEWGROUP (PTY) LTD in this transaction and we are delighted to have found a good home for the Regal Pet Health brand. On behalf of everyone at Benchmark International, we would like to wish all parties every success for the future.”

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Benchmark International is Pleased to Announce Our Attendance at Kayo's Healthcare Investment Forum

Benchmark International is pleased to announce our attendance at Kayo’s Healthcare Investment Forum on December 2, 2020.

The conference will explore why private equity finance has become such an attractive option for healthcare companies, with a focus on healthcare service, practice management, and healthcare tech.

Attendees include:

  • C-Suite executives at public and private healthcare service and healthcare technology companies
  • Venture capital, private equity, healthcare and private equity industry advisors, and lenders

Link to Forum Registration: https://kayoconferenceseries.com/summits/ 
Link to Agenda: https://kayoconferenceseries.com/healthcare/healthcare-investment-summit-agenda/ 

Kayo’s Healthcare Investment Forum

The conference will cover new technologies, new entrants, a shift to outpatient and home-based services, and the move towards value-based care continue to create new financial pressures for healthcare organizations. As healthcare leaders reimagine their services and transform operations, private equity is stepping up to help.

Kayo believes women should have a community that supports, elevates, and champions them. That’s why they create industry events where professional women can connect with leaders, advance themselves, and champion other women. They want women to know they’re stronger when they Trailblaze Together.

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Printing & Packaging M&A In 2020

In the printing and packaging sectors, M&A activity has slowed since August of 2019 with around 14 percent fewer deals closing. Deal activity was strong at the beginning of 2020, and then the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a standstill in the spring, with activity starting to return to normal in late summer. In fact, there were 16 transactions in August, which happens to be the same number as August of 2019.

The pandemic has made it more challenging to complete deals because of social distancing and how it impacts personal relationships, but buyers have not lost their strategic focus. The packaging side of the business has shown a heightened level of interest in labels, corrugated cartons, and folding cartons. Private equity and large corporate investors remain in the game. There is increased interest in flexible packaging, but the number of these transactions has been limited by the availability of target businesses in this segment.

 

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2020 Automotive M&A Update

During the first half of 2020, M&A activity in the automotive industry was down from previous years due to uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, with cross-border deals becoming more complex. However, the pandemic also resulted in new opportunities for consolidation within the industry.

There were $11.9 billion in M&A deals, which represented a 54.8% decrease in value compared to the first half of 2019. Most investments were in the pursuit of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electrified) technologies. This type of tech is predicted to drive M&A through the end of 2020. Dealmakers are expected to concentrate on securing supply chains and increasing resiliency rather than expanding globally.

Global Deal Activity

The majority of deal value in volume in the first half of 2020 took place in Asia and Oceania, followed by North America. The largest automotive transaction in the first half of the year was valued at $2.9 billion, with Traton SE, a vehicle-manufacturing subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, acquiring Navistar International Corporation. Volkswagen Group China continued to strengthen its electrification strategy by making two acquisitions valued at more than $1 billion each: Gotion High-tech Co. and JAC Volkswagen Automotive Company.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Greenkey Garden & Home Ltd and Retail Equipment Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of Gloucestershire-based Greenkey to Suffolk-based Retail Equipment.

Established in 2003, Greenkey is a trademarked brand and is an established distributor of its own brand of garden equipment, garden décor and animal habitats. The company supplies to garden centres, DIY outlets, agricultural merchants, and online retailers nationwide.

Retail Equipment is a wholesale company selling shopfittings. The acquisition is part of the company’s buy and build strategy.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

The directors Jeremy and Emma Parkes will retire in six months allowing the opportunity for the new management to develop the business further.

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When Is The Right Time To Retire?

The right time to retire is going to be different for everyone based on individual circumstances and goals. While finances are obviously a major factor in the decision, being emotionally and mentally ready is equally important. Here are some points you should consider if you are thinking about embarking on retirement.

Financial Stability
Retirement hinges upon having the appropriate income to support a comfortable lifestyle in the future. This entails having an accurate and realistic picture of what your expenses will be and how much you will need in order to cover them, including income from your savings, pensions, social security, 401ks, IRAs, and any other assets. The earlier you plan to retire, the more significant your nest egg will need to be. Waiting a few years can help you build up more financial security through tax-advantage investment accounts. So if you love what you do, a later retirement means that you can continue doing it while you shore up your savings for the future. A common algorithm for retirement planning is to have savings that are 25 times the amount of your annual expenses.

No Debt
When heading into retirement, it is advised that you make sure you do not have outstanding debt in the form of high-interest credit cards and outstanding loans aside from a mortgage or car financing, which can be taken into account for your needed expenses. By eliminating debt, your retirement income can be used for current expenses instead of past expenses and offer you added peace of mind.

The Economy
While there is no way to be sure what the future holds, if there are signs of an economic downturn, you may want to hold off on the retirement plans for a bit. This will give the markets time to recover, which will help you recoup your invested assets and retire with a better bottom line.

 

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Benchmark International Provides PCs to the Community

Earlier this year, Benchmark International donated 20 tablets to care homes, hospitals and hospices to help residents stay connected whilst they were unable to have visitors.

The donations were a success and were well-received by the residents and those working at the facilities.

Keen to find another way of supporting people who have been in need during these unprecedented times, Benchmark International, in collaboration with Lantec, partnered with the same local charity, PCrefurb, to donate 32 refurbed PCs to disadvantaged people.

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6 Considerations When Selecting A Transaction Advisor

The most expensive mistake in selling a business is to undersell it. A qualified intermediary can add significant value to a transaction simply by virtue of experience.

Putting this into context, buyers are fit for transactions, they conclude deals in multiple jurisdictions and often have dedicated teams that focus exclusively on mergers and acquisitions. Business owners may typically have done a transaction or even two in their careers, but most often they have not yet sold a business and can benefit enormously by having a seasoned sell-side advisor on their team.

Whilst there are very broad categories of advisor; no two intermediaries are the same. In selecting an advisor there are some fundamental questions to ask that will help establish whether the firm will meet your specific needs and requirements.

1. Who will manage my deal?

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Oracle Drive Systems Limited and Veruth Holdings Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of leading variable speed drive and control systems integrator, Oracle Drive Systems, to Veruth Holdings, owner of Europa Components plc and other companies, through sell-side advisers Benchmark International and Primas.

Veruth, a second-generation family holding company, has a policy of long-term development and growth for the companies it is involved with. It is delighted that John Mullins, founder of Oracle, is remaining as Sales Director.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Oracle will continue to build on its 16 years of experience and expertise with many blue-chip companies now with the backing to expand. Already in the last month new offices have been opened in Billingham in the North East of England, adding to the Batley unit in West Yorkshire, as well as taking on more project engineers and support staff to handle the new work the company is being awarded.

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M&A Outlook Under Biden Election Win

Now that Biden was named the President-elect, what does this mean for mergers and acquisitions under a Biden administration? The good news is that mergers and acquisitions activity is expected to increase regardless of the election results. Many experts predict that M&A activity will return to pre-pandemic levels in the next year, and that the market will be favorable for the next few years.

Taxes
President Biden’s proposed tax plan raises the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, which would likely make M&A deals more expensive. Biden has also voiced support for an increase in capital gains taxes, which could impact M&A activity. The proposed plan would tax long-term capital gains and qualified dividends at the ordinary income tax rate of 39.6% on income over $1 million, and eliminates step-up in basis for capital gains taxation. Sellers may be anxious to complete deals prior to 2021 to dodge higher taxes and potentially lower valuations, and to avoid having increased capital gains taxes cut into profits from a deal.

The Biden plan also restores the top individual federal income tax rate from 37% to the pre-Trump rate of 39.6%. It also promotes tax provisions to penalize the exporting of jobs overseas and to incentivize investments in new infrastructure and green energy, transportation and manufacturing, and establishes a minimum tax on corporations with book profits of $100 million or more, structured as a 15% alternative minimum tax, to prevent them from paying no taxes. The plan also offers tax credits to small businesses for adopting workplace retirement savings plans and creates a Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit to reduce the tax liability of businesses that face workforce layoffs or a major government institution closure.

It is important to note that getting tax code changes enacted into law requires congressional leadership and the White House to work together to reach consensus. This can be challenging, and can also take a considerable amount of time, meaning that there may not be immediate tax implications for M&A. But you still may not want to wait until 2021 to sell your company. Here’s why.  

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Johnson Claim Service, Inc. and Davies

Benchmark International facilitated the transaction of Johnson Claim Service, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been acquired by Davies.

Johnson Claim Service provides insurance adjuster and appraisal services for insurance contracts written to cover property, casualty transportation and agricultural claims. The transportation claims include truck, trailer, heavy equipment physical damage, motor truck cargo, dealers open lot, garage keeper’s legal liability and non-truck liability. The company has both a domestic and international client base for which its services are provided.

Allen G. Johnson, President of Johnson Claim Service commented regarding the transaction, "We engaged Benchmark to assist in providing professional services in the sale of our insurance related business.   Their team, and most importantly their Deal Associate who handled our transaction through to completion, stayed involved during some difficult negotiations.  The Deal Associate helped JCS finish the business sale with a very positive result for the owners.  Great job Benchmark International!"

Johnson Claim Service will join Davies already established Claims Solutions business in the US, adding specialist transportation claims capability. Globally Davies has more than 4,000 colleagues, with operating centers across the UK, Ireland, Bermuda, the US and Canada.  The business delivers professional services and technology solutions across the risk and insurance value chain, including excellence in claims, underwriting, distribution, regulation, customer experience, human capital, digital transformation & change management. This deal marks Davies sixth acquisition of 2020. 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Benchmark International proved its 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.

Deal Associate Amy Alonso at Benchmark International commented, “Benchmark International added value by negotiating this deal. We saw throughout the entire process that the buyer, Davies, was a perfect fit who stood to benefit greatly from the experience, industry knowledge and high quality service that they would gain from the existing owner. With this knowledge, the team was able to negotiate a deal that would allow for the existing owner to successfully transition the business to a capable buyer. We wish Johnson Claim Service Inc and Davies the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

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Benchmark International Is Proud To Be A Part Of The 2020 OCFO Founders Conference

Benchmark International is proud to be a part of the 2020 OCFO Founders Conference, taking place virtually, during Global Entrepreneurship Week on 19th November 2020.

As part of the event, Dustin Graham, Managing Partner of Transactions for Benchmark International's South African offices, will be speaking on the topic Building Your Business For Sale.

Topic: Building for Sale,  14:40–15:00 – Dustin Graham
Event date and time:
19th November 2020, 13:00–16:00
Location: Virtual event
Link to register and ticket sales:  https://zcu.io/1od4
Link to event agenda: https://www.foundersevents.co.za/agenda/

OCFO Founders Conference Annual Event
The annual Founders Conference normally takes place in the heart of beautiful Cape Town during Global Entrepreneurship Week. However, in the light of Covid-19, It was decided to host the Founders Conference as a virtual event this year.

The conference brings together top business people, investors, and entrepreneurs in South Africa for powerful networking, learning, and inspiration. The Founders Conference is one of the biggest gatherings of entrepreneurs on the African continent—not to be missed by any serious founder. Speakers include some of the most successful founders around the globe and investors who have raised and invested billions.

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How To Successfully Maintain A Strategic Partnership

Strategic partnerships or alliances can be very effective business tools and are important to the health and growth of a company. They can enhance capabilities, and open up shared access to new markets, channels, intellectual property and lowered risk. But they can also be complex. Once you form this type of partnership, it takes some effort to maintain it and ensure that it is a win-win for both parties involved. By taking the right steps and having a clear vision for your long-term strategic partnership, you can help it create value, thrive, and boost your business. 

Narrow Your Focus

There are many businesses that you could form a partnership with, but you have to narrow it down to what makes the most sense. What partners serve similar customer bases that make sense? For example, if you have a landscaping business, consider partnering with a nursery or a landscaping supply company. You’ll be serving the same buyer and can pass on referrals while streamlining the process and relationship for the customer.

See Both Sides

A strategic partnership, like any relationship, needs to work for both sides in order for it to flourish and yield mutual benefits. When you’re pitching the alliance to a potential partner, consider the benefits for them and present them clearly.

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