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The Impact of U.S. Infrastructure Investment on M&A

The U.S. Senate recently passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), to improve the country’s roads, bridges, and utilities. The bill does face an uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where its support is more limited. Still, the Democratic Party could use the reconciliation process to get the bill passed into law. 

The bill includes:

  • $73 billion for electric grid and power infrastructure
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion for broadband investments
  • $55 billion for water systems and infrastructure
  • $50 billion for Western water storage 
  • $39 billion for public transit 
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation projects 
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways
  • $15 billion for electric vehicles
  • $11 billion for road safety

So, what might this all mean for M&A? 

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Benchmark International’s Jack Redwood Shortlisted for Young Dealmaker of the Year

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that Associate Director, Jack Redwood, has been shortlisted by the Thames Valley Deal Awards in the category of Young Dealmaker of the Year.

The leading event in the region’s corporate finance calendar, the awards bring together corporate finance advisers, lawyers, bankers, private equity investors, accountants, and funding specialists.

The Young Dealmaker of the Year award will be presented to the person who has had the most significant impact on completion of deals within the region and, over the qualifying period, Jack led and completed a list of impressive list of deals. Deals included the sale of Suttons Seeds to BVG Group-owned Thompson & Morgan, the transaction between RivaNet to NPIF-backed Intec Business Solutions, and the sale of Adelante Software to Aquiline Capital Partners-backed ClearCourse Partnership.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Open Learning Holdings (PTY) LTD and Kagiso Capital (PTY) LTD

Benchmark International is pleased to have advised Open Learning Holdings on the sale of their wholly-owned subsidiary, the Open Learning Group (Pty) Ltd, to Kagiso Capital (Pty) Ltd.

Open Learning Group (Pty) Ltd (OLG) is a private Higher Education institution specialising in distance learning educational programmes. Considered as the most affordable, effective , and flexible vehicle to achieve further education, distance learning opportunities are in high demand by both students and corporates wishing to upskill their staff. Higher Education and Training (HET) programmes offered by OLG range from NQF Level 2 to NQF Level 7, providing an extensive pipeline of programmes for students committed to bettering themselves and their career opportunities.

OLG and their subsidiary Business School of Excellence (Pty) Ltd also offer Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) courses through learnerships, providing knowledge and skills for employment in a specific sector. These, together with Further Education and Training (FET) short learning certificate programmes, are offered in a blended approach, including distance learning, online learning, and contact sessions.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

Lebogang Mosiane, the Chairman of OLG, commented on the transaction, saying, “Kagiso Trust since 1985 has invested in education, primarily being driven by its mission to eradicate poverty. Acquiring Open learning group simply provides a higher education articulation path curated for the needs of those who need the necessary skills to be active in the economy ”, while Jan Kitshoff added: “The acquisition of OLG by Kagiso Capital will provide them with a solid platform to expand their value offering within the broader education landscape.”

Kagiso Capital (Pty) Ltd is an investment holding company wholly owned by Kagiso Trust. The primary purpose of Kagiso Capital is to ensure the longevity of the Kagiso Trust and to diversify the investment asset base of the Trust beyond its current investments in FirstRand Limited, MMH Limited, Discovery Limited and Kagiso Tiso Holdings (Pty) Ltd. Kagiso Capital drives a diversification strategy through meaningful investment in innovative and growing businesses that are committed to economic transformation.

Lebogang Mosiane, speaking on behalf of Kagiso Capital, said, “We would like Open learning group to be the preeminent education platform, where future industries will come recruit talent that will add value to their businesses. We hope this will narrow inequality and transform South African industries to be competitive globally.”

Andre Bresler, representing Benchmark International’s South African office, added, “It was a genuine privilege to be selected to advise the shareholders of Open Learning Holdings (which includes institutional shareholder Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (SA) Ltd) on this transaction, the professionalism and attention to detail was outstanding throughout the process. We are delighted with the outcome for all parties and wish continued success as they embark on this exciting new chapter.”

 

Schedule A Call

 

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

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

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

 

ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL

Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $7B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.

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

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between KeCo Limited and Sabert Corporation Europe

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the transaction between Cambridgeshire-based KeCo and Brussels-based Sabert Europe.

KeCo is a fast-growing UK manufacturer and provider of sustainable foodservice packaging made from paperboard and bagasse. The company has its own trademarked StrEAT® range, as well as owning Karrott, a unique AR app offering customers the opportunity to integrate digital and active marketing within packaging.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

A subsidiary of US-based Sabert Corporation, Sabert Europe offers high-quality and sustainable solutions for delivery, takeaway and catering. The acquisition enables Sabert to enter the UK market and increase renewable material manufacturing.

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The Latest Sales Trends Heading Into 2022

Every business owner should be keeping up with the top sales trends being used to boost companies’ bottom lines in today’s tech-driven economy. So what does the future hold? Use these sales trends insights to make sure you’re doing every last thing you can to take your business to the next level.

Social Selling
Over the last decade, selling has evolved immensely. More than 90% of consumers do online research before buying something these days. And that’s why social selling is becoming so integral to the sales process. Social media connects you with consumers already interested in what you do, so you already have the upper hand by simply having them as an audience. You are also able to build better relationships with them, which will translate to higher customer retention rates.

And don’t forget about the power of referrals. 70% of companies have reported that referrals convert faster than any other type of lead. If your consumers are happy with what you are doing, they will be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family—something that social media makes it easy to do in just a click or two.

Social selling also comes with a few other added benefits. It increases your brand visibility by actively engaging with people online, and it also keeps your brand top of mind. This means you get higher-quality leads. And with high-quality leads, you can expect to see higher sales numbers.

Value-Based Selling
Customers are savvier than ever. They can see through gimmicks. Simply shoving deals in their faces doesn’t work so well anymore, especially in the B2B sector. This is where value-based selling comes in.

Data shows that 87% of high-growth companies use the value-based approach, and with good reason. By focusing more effort on showing customers the direct benefits or personal value they can enjoy from using their products or services, you’re more likely to close more deals.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI adoption for sales teams is projected to be at 139% for the next three years. This is because business leaders are realizing how it can make a massive impact on sales numbers by helping with processes and tasks. Did you know that AI is capable of performing 40% of sales tasks?

AI can help you gather valuable data on customers that you can use to craft marketing strategies to increase your sales. It can also provide value by offering suggestions to customers based on their recent transactions. But that’s not all. AI can also predict trends in your sector to help you stay ahead of the game, boost productivity by automating menial tasks, identify leads with a higher chance of conversion, and improve customer satisfaction.


Ready to explore your exit and growth options?
Personalized Customer Experience
When you give your customers a more personalized experience, they are more likely to do business with you. Research shows that nearly half of all buyers will make an impulse purchase after getting a personalized shopping experience. Because most customers appreciate a level of personalization, they are willing to give you their personal information or create online profiles. And this is really half the battle when it comes to building a solid customer base. Additionally, when customers feel more engaged on your website or app, they are more likely to do business with you. As long as you can offer them convenience, speed, helpfulness, and friendly service, getting personal can take you a long way.

Outsource Sales
80% of logistics leaders have reported that the matter of outsourcing is no longer a yes or no question—it’s just a question of how much needs to be outsourced. The global outsourcing market is projected to grow to $82.2 billion by 2022.

By outsourcing, you will have a dedicated sales team that is laser-focused on identifying leads, reaches different segments through different platforms, and converts potential customers. Meanwhile, your company saves money and gets the sales expertise needed for the job while you focus more on your business. Outsourcing can also help small businesses with scalability issues. If your company experiences rapid growth, an outsourced sales team is ready to handle it.

Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM)
91% of companies in North America have a functional CRM solution integrated into their system. And guess what else? 65% of sales reps using mobile CRM have a higher chance of meeting their quotas. CRM makes it easy for reps to see all the data they need in a centralized system. Because it also stores customer data, CRM can suggest products depending on their past purchases. It can also improve your relationships with your customers by giving you a complete understanding of their needs and preferences.

Omnichannel Sales
Selling today is all about unifying your sales channels and creating a single commerce experience. This gives customers the freedom to choose how they want to buy your product while expecting the same level of service no matter which they choose. 73% of shoppers look at different channels when searching for a product, such as websites, social media, and physical stores. By being visible across channels, your company has a better chance of being chosen by a customer. Omnichannel sales also make the buying experience more convenient. In fact, businesses using omnichannel sales retain 89% of their customers. Yet, 55% of companies do not have an omnichannel strategy in place. It’s simple. Get ahead of the competition by nailing down your omnichannel sales structure.

Target Millennials
Millennials live through technology. In the U.S. alone, 82.2 million Millennials use the Internet, spending about $600 billion every year. They are the most likely customer segment to try new technological features that you offer. And 68% of Millennials prefer a more integrated shopping experience. This is why having that omnichannel sales strategy is so important. Offer them a seamless shopping experience that focuses on technology.

Don’t Forget Generation Z
Generation Z now makes up 32% of the global population, and they have a collective $45 billion in spending power. They represent a huge chunk of the consumer population, and they are spending more and more. Gen Z-ers are digitally entrenched, with an affinity for content from sites like YouTube and Instagram. You should use these preferences to your advantage. And the best part of securing their brand loyalty is that they are poised to be customers for the coming decades because they have just recently come of age. That’s a massive sales opportunity you don’t want to overlook.

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What Buyers Are Saying About Benchmark International

We love to hear positive feedback from our clients, and we often share past client experiences with other parties. We showcase how Benchmark went above and beyond for sellers to get a deal across the line, or how value was added to a specific transaction. However, if you are considering hiring an M&A firm to represent you in a sale, isn’t it just as important to hear how buyers perceive the firm?

Benchmark International prides itself on a strong reputation within the lower middle market. Our company’s reputation spans vendors, clients, prospective clients, and buyers. Our team recently attended a conference where we had the opportunity to mingle with some of the most active investors within the lower middle market. The feedback we received from the buyers was highly encouraging and continues to reinforce our position as the best M&A sell-side representative in the industry. 

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

So, what are buyers saying about Benchmark International?

  • Benchmark International has the best deal flow within the market. This means that buyers recognize the quality opportunities that our firm represents. They also recognize us for having the most sectors and diversified listings in the space. When a buyer is looking for a unique opportunity or a quality business, they know to call Benchmark International.
  • The Benchmark International team does a great job of following up. Our deal team always strives to close the loop on the buyer’s level of interest, gather market feedback, or push the buyer forward with the process. There is no other firm in the industry that provides clients with the deal expertise and team size that Benchmark International offers. This allows our team to pick up the phone and discuss your deal with a potential buyer. Buyers have often shared that, in other cases, once they receive a Confidential Information Memorandum, they rarely hear back from the sell-side representative. But our team chases buyers during every part of the process, including trying to get a decision on a buyer’s level of interest on a Teaser, trying to gather a buyer profile and Non-Disclosure Agreement, gathering feedback from the Confidential Information Memorandum, feedback after conference calls and meetings, and so on.
  • The quality of the information in your Confidential Information Memorandum exceeds other firms. When our clients go through our Benchmark 360 process, our team puts on their buyer hats and asks the tough questions. We want to ensure that the business for sale is presented in the best light, that our team fully understands the offering, and that the seller has the opportunity to think through how their company is positioned for market. Putting on our buyer hats allows us to anticipate the questions and information a buyer will find important for their decision-making process.
  • The Benchmark International team is always professional. We understand that emotions can sometimes get the best of people. It does not matter which side of the table you are on, when you want a deal to go forward and the deal has hit a hurdle, we know it can be frustrating. The good news is that our deal team has seen a lot of hurdles and usually has the tools and options to overcome any issues if all parties want to work through them. One thing the Benchmark International team prides itself on is always being professional, even during hard conversations. Oftentimes, we all want the same outcome—a successful deal completion—and Benchmark International needs to take the emotions out of the conversation and ensure that everyone keeps their eye on the ball in order to move the deal forward.

The lower middle market is a tough market. Our deal experts not only have the experience to hold the seller’s hand throughout the process, but also stand up to the largest buyers within the market. Our reputation provides our clients the opportunity to have their Teaser reviewed by buyers that many cannot get in front of, let alone have long-term relationships with that allows our phone calls to be answered. This is critically important because having an M&A firm with a strong buyer reputation will help a seller maximize results once they go to market.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between North Country Family Practice and an Undisclosed Buyer

Benchmark International facilitated the Transaction between North Country Family Practice, P.A., located in Southlake, a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas market, and an undisclosed buyer.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Endevis and Job.com

Endevis operates three divisions, including professional contract staffing, direct professional placement, and recruitment process outsourcing across the United States. The leadership team alone now has over 150 years of combined experience in the recruiting business. Endevis’ industry reputation, experienced leadership, and passion for helping clients made them a prime target for acquirers.

Job.com is becoming an industry force in the staffing space.  They are reinventing the way employers attract, hire, and retain the right teams. Job.com uses advanced data science to put people back in control of their own success and unifying the staffing supply chain so companies can reduce the time and cost to hire the appropriate candidates and uphold great retain rates.  By joining Job.com, endevis will grow rapidly, reaching more clients and candidates and continuing to revolutionize the recruitment industry. 

Transaction Director Matthew Kekelis commented regarding the deal completion, “I truly believe that there was no better match for endevis than Job.com.  Their professionalism and attention to detail throughout the acquisition process were outstanding.  We wish the best for all moving forward in this exciting new chapter.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between X Caliber Container, LLC and LongWater Opportunities

Benchmark International’s client X Caliber Container, LLC, a Texas-based steel shipping and cargo containers provider, has successfully sold to LongWater Opportunities in Dallas, Texas.

X Caliber Container provides steel storage containers for a large and well-diversified customer base on a national scale with various products that overlap into several varied markets within the steel container industry. X Caliber Container then provides custom fabrication at both of its Texas-based facilities, including Firework Stands, Workshops, Mobile Chemical Labs, and Emergency Response units.

X Caliber Container co-owner Brent Isom commented, “I have been extremely pleased with each phase of the process, and the people are what has made it a great experience. The Benchmark [International] Team are at the tip of the top of the best companies that ever existed.”

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

LongWater Opportunities is an operationally-focused private investment firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an office in Fargo, ND, that targets control buyout equity investments in lower middle market US-based manufacturing and specialty distribution companies. LongWater Opportunities believes in mutually aligned interests and investing patient capital in building successful American manufacturing businesses with long-term, sustainable competitive advantages.

Benchmark International proved value in finding a buyer with experience in the industry through its proprietary multi-medium marketing strategies. The market uncovered several interested buyers, but the ultimate buyer provided the right cultural fit for the sellers.

Transaction Director Amy Alonso commented, “We are thrilled to see that our client’s legacy and vision will remain and grow through this transaction. We understood that our client sought an acquirer who would take the company to the next level while also providing a great work environment for their employees. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies all the best in the future.”

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Don't Miss Benchmark International's Newest Volume of The Mark

Our Benchmark International team is proud to have released our latest exclusive publication of The Mark, Vol. XX.

This new version titled “RANKED #1,” features a slew of helpful information to enlighten you as a business owner, answer important questions you might have, and apprise you of the latest and greatest updates in M&A and the busy Benchmark world.

In this volume, some of the insightful topics you will find covered include:

  • The Current State of Commercial Real Estate
  • Can It Be “Too Early” to Put My Business on the Market?
  • Be Wary of EBITDAC
  • Why Lower Middle Market Companies are Attractive to Buyers
  • Should I Sell to an SBIC?
  • The Myth Behind Multiples
  • Understanding Financial Due Diligence to Prepare for a Successful Close
  • What is an Employee Ownership Trust?
  • The Critical Focus of Cybersecurity in M&A Deals

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

And there’s a reason the volume is titled, “RANKED #1.” It highlights our prestigious recognition by Pitchbook as 2020’s #1 Sell-Side Exclusive, Privately-Owned M&A Advisors in the world, as well as the remarkable award-winning accomplishments of our team leadership.

This is just some of the unique content you can enjoy in this new edition. You will also find reports updating you on Benchmark’s European expansion and new headquarters, our latest featured opportunities, and some of our completed transactions.

We hope you will find it helpful and continue coming back for more.

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What Is Decentralized Finance?

Decentralized finance, also known as DeFi, makes financial products available to anyone on a decentralized blockchain network. Through this relatively new software system, all parties can interact directly through applications, eliminating a need for middlemen such as banks or institutions to facilitate transactions. It also eliminates a need for proof of identification or age requirements that banks typically require. There is no need for anyone to know anyone else’s identity. Everything occurs over a public blockchain, using smart contracts, which are bits of code that execute specified actions once certain criteria have been met. It’s based on mutual trust and strict privacy.

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First Time Acquirer: How to Get a Loan to Acquire a Business

Now that you have found the perfect business for you to acquire, the question is, how do you finance the transaction? Most buyers will use a mix of debt and equity, but if you are a first-time acquirer, you may need help on where to go for the debt piece of the equation.

If you have never acquired another business before, the process of securing a loan for the acquisition might be challenging. Here are some things to consider when looking at your debt options.

Upon your initial conversation with a banker, be prepared to discuss your intent regarding the acquisition and your plans for the business’s future. You should also be ready to discuss your background and its relation to the company you are buying. In addition, you will want to understand the bank’s commercial loan options and which might be best for your goals. For example, you might need a traditional commercial loan or an SBA loan, depending on the acquisition size and details. While there are alternative financing options available, they could be much more costly.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Most financial institutions will underwrite the business and the borrower. If you own a similar business, they might underwrite both businesses as if they are one. Be prepared with documentation regarding your credit history, tax returns for all related entities (potentially including your personal tax returns), collateral options, and industry experience. The financial institution might request a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, projections, etc., for the business you are considering purchasing.

Lenders will provide you with their initial terms. Be sure to compare interest rates, fees, and other terms closely. Some terms you may want to consider are prepayment penalties and covenants that might affect the business. If there is real estate involved in the purchase, you will want to ask questions about the bank’s need for appraisals and various phases for the property.

After considering your options, you will then need to apply for the loan. Each financial institution will have its specific application and underwriting process. Depending on the loan size and the bank, the loan request may need to go to a special loan committee that meets periodically. This could add time to the approval process. You might want to discuss debt options with a bank with which you have a current relationship, as they will know you best given your existing history. If you have already received a loan from the bank, it could make the transaction process easier, which will make for a much better experience for you and the seller of the business you are looking to acquire.

  Author
  Kendall Stafford
  Managing Partner
  Benchmark International

  T: +1 (512) 347 2000
  E: Stafford@benchmarkintl.com 

 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between The Colography Group, Inc. and Halstatt Legacy Partners

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the successful transaction between The Colography Group, Inc. and Halstatt Legacy Partners.

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The Critical Focus On Cybersecurity In M&A Deals

The recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline in the U.S. is a glaring reminder of the vulnerabilities that all industries face, as well as the costly repercussions that can be a result of such a situation. Colonial Pipeline Co. paid the hacker group $5 million to have the company released from the ransomware to restore service to the critical pipeline. This actually turned out to be a wasted $5 million. For that high price, the hackers provided the company with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network. But this tool was too slow, and Colonial ended up using its own backups to restore the system.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Acquisition of an Industrial Services Firm and Crete Mechanical Group

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between our client, a prominent industrial services firm, and Crete Mechanical Group (“CMG”).

Crete Mechanical Group (“CMG”) is a multi-site owner, operator, and business partner to mechanical service businesses in the United States. CMG partners with entrepreneurs and owners of HVAC, electrical, plumbing, controls, and other mechanical services companies to help them grow revenue, increase profitability, and transition ownership.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

Our client is a leading industrial services firm providing electrical, mechanical, automation, fabrication, rigging, and maintenance services to various industries. The company has established an outstanding reputation in providing superior customer service within its regional market.

Senior Transaction Associate Sunny Yang Garten at Benchmark International added, “It was a pleasure to represent our client, a leading industrial services firm, in this transaction with Crete Mechanical Group. Our client was seeking a partner that shared their vision and offered the right deal structure, and Crete Mechanical Group was aligned with our client’s growth strategy. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”

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Outlook & Advantages of International Mergers and Acquisitions

The COVID-19 pandemic is critically affecting the world's economies when businesses were already adapting to volatility and uncertainty as a way of life. With the economic outlook and threats of all kinds continuing to test even the most influential organizations, companies face various challenges as they work to find growth and stay competitive. One of the most beneficial ways of growing an existing company is through mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Few firms throughout the world reach the top without conducting at least a few M&A transactions. The most well-known firms employ professional teams whose only role is to seek out attractive potential acquisitions tells its own story. When implemented well, an active M&A strategy can be a highly productive process for any company. M&A always has and always will be a long-term game. We are now in an environment where more and more business owners feel comfortable taking some calculated risks and driving forward an M&A agenda to build the company's future.

Private equity (PE) expects to see record-level fundraising this year. Even amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, analysts predict that the PE industry will raise an anticipated—and unprecedented—$330 billion in total capital in 2021. According to a survey performed by Ernst & Young, 49% of global companies plan to acquire in the next 12 months actively, and the majority are looking for assets internationally rather than domestically. A healthy fundraising and active acquisition environment coupled with the existing $1 trillion in disposable capital means excellent news for those looking to grow their business. Interest rates are low, equity markets are high, and investors demand, value, and reward growth. With numerous potential international acquirers with strong balance sheets and strong liquidity, our advice to companies is to look for logical strategic targets, be proactive, and focus on long-term value creation.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

The U.S. and the U.K. remain primary centers of global M&A. The U.S. consistently holds the top spot for both domestic and for international M&A. The U.K. regularly ranks in the top three. If you are thinking of growing your business internationally, it is worth noting that M&A is regulated in all countries worldwide and has many advantages. Below are four key benefits of merging with or acquiring another company internationally.

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Benchmark International Is Proud To Be The Main Jersey Sponsor For Montverde Academy

Benchmark International is incredibly proud to be the main Jersey sponsor for Montverde Academy. Benchmark International aligns itself with partners that have the best-in-class programs. Montverde International Academy is a coeducational, independent school that serves grades Pre-K3-12. The academy strives to increase knowledge and to develop character through a nurturing and diverse community. In addition, Montverde International Academy is home to an athletic training Mecca, developing the world's best athletes. Their state-in-the-art facilities include an athletic complex that spreads over 33 acres, an Olympic-sized aquatic center, a 44 square foot indoor athletic center, a world-class equestrian center, and many more. The Montverde International Futbol club (MIFC) finished their season with a number 1 ranking and was crowned the 2019-2020 National Champions!

The Athletic Department believes that through athletic opportunity, they have the unique ability to build a solid foundation of young adults based on character, knowledge, and community. With similar beliefs as one another, Benchmark International is excited to help support the Montverde International Academy.

You can learn more about Montverde International Academy and their athletics here - Montverde Academy Athletics 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Strategic Partnership Between Yuni Beauty, LLC and Rechemtex, LLC

Benchmark International’s client Yuni Beauty, LLC, a California-based all-natural wellness and beauty brand, has strategically partnered with Rechemtex, LLC in Dallas, Texas.

Yuni Beauty offers clean, natural beauty products for the body, skin and hair, and aromatherapy items. All products are created with non-toxic, vegan, quality ingredients and sustainable packaging. The company’s target market is busy, urban, active individuals that prioritize clean beauty, wellness, health, and stress relief.

Rechemtex is a Texas Domestic Limited-Liability Company.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

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

Transaction Director Amy Alonso commented, “We are thrilled that our client can step away from the business knowing that his legacy will be carried on and the company will continue to grow. It was a pleasure to represent Yuni Beauty in this partnership, and on behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both parties all the best in the future.”

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Benchmark International successfully facilitated the transaction of Writech Industrial Services Ltd & Writech Manufacturing Ltd to Waterland Private Equity

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the majority sale of Irish fire-protection systems company, Writech, to Waterland.

Established in 1981 by Thomas and Mary Wright, Writech provides fire protection system design, installation, manufacture, commissioning, and services across a range of sectors including logistics, data centres, life sciences, office, retail, and food & beverage.

Sons Ted and Alan Wright took over the business in 2008, now generating more than €20m in revenue. Writech will use Waterland’s investment to expedite expansion plans in Europe and the UK, as well as increase output at its Mullingar centre, creating over 30 jobs.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?
Waterland is a Dutch-based private equity house, headed by Laura Dillon in Ireland. The investment group has €8bn in assets under management across Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Poland, and Switzerland.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Casoria Company Limited and OQEMA AG

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the transaction between Casoria and OQEMA has completed.

County Cavan-based Casoria was established in 1998 and is a distributor of a range of chemicals and metals to the Irish market.

With headquarters in Mönchengladbach, Germany, and a base in Oxfordshire, OQEMA is a global chemical manufacturing and distribution company. It is one of the largest chemical distributors in Europe with almost 1,250 employees currently working at 45 locations in 23 countries.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

The management of Casoria will remain in place and the company will join part of the OQEMA Western Hub, which also includes the existing Irish based businesses of the group.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Total Nutrition Technology, LLC and Brandless, Inc.

Total Nutrition Technology of Leesburg, Florida, is a full-service nutritional supplement source providing services ranging from product development through fulfillment. Founded in 2003, TNT has been included on the INC 5,000 list of fastest-growing companies and is the leader in its markets served, with products shipped throughout the United States and internationally.

Brandless of San Francisco provides a wide range of premium quality lifestyle products in the wellness, beauty, and home categories. With a focus on clean certifications and better living, the Brandless family of products is closely aligned to the superior offerings and reputation gained through the addition of Total Nutrition Technology.

Of the combination, Total Nutrition Technology Founder and CEO Lourdes McAgy commented, “We are exceedingly happy to be joining the Brandless family. Their focus on quality and delivery aligns perfectly with the way that we have built TNT, and we strongly believe that this combination will power both companies to an increased position of leadership in this space.”

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

The acquisition is backed by Clarke Capital Partners of Provo, Utah. Clarke is a family office focusing on founder-led businesses and multiple investments in the consumer products space.

Benchmark International Transaction Director William Sullivan stated regarding the transaction, “We were able to source a strong number of highly qualified buyers very quickly for Lourdes’s great company, providing her with the options that she deserved. Brandless was the most strategic choice, with perfect synergies to set them up for immediate expansion from day one. We could not be happier about this fantastic partnership.”

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The Current State Of Commercial Real Estate

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on all classes of commercial real estate. Yet, it also created some new opportunities within the commercial real estate (CRE) market, such as affordable rental prices, improved digital communication and payment facilitation, as well as new opportunities for business owners and investors. And further recovery is well underway.  

CRE prices fell 11% between March and May of 2020. Since July, prices increased 7%, erasing over half of those pandemic declines. With investors sitting on wealth, more investment in stocks and bonds took place, which pushed prices up and interest rates down. With inflation being a growing concern, more investors may look to commercial properties with leases that have built-in rent increases to keep pace with inflation.

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Growing Business Trends For 2021-2022

Our world continues to change, and businesses must remain adaptive in order to keep pace with their competition and consumer demands. Thanks to new technologies, changing customer priorities, societal movements, and of course, repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners can expect certain industry shifts that began leading up to 2021 to continue into 2022.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Premier Choice Telecom Limited and Daisy Communications Ltd

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of hosted telephony solutions provider, Premier Choice Telecom, by Daisy Communications.

Established in 2001 by managing director Nicholas Stansfield, Premier Choice Telecom is a telecommunications service provider to businesses throughout the UK. The company provides telephone system installation, maintenance, cabling, network service billing, and other associated telecom services.

Daisy Communications is part of a wider Daisy Group, offering a variety of communications services to SMEs, with the transaction enabling Daisy Communications to boost its offering within the health, education and charity sectors.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

This highly strategic acquisition will see Premier Choice Telecom bring 1,500 customers and a 40-strong workforce to Daisy Communication’s team of 465 employees.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Silver Sport Transmissions and The Wharton Automotive Group

Silver Sport Transmissions, the seller, is the largest and most versatile elite distributor of Tremec Corporation’s transmissions.  Their in-house engineering department’s experience is second to none and continually outshines bringing a client’s classic car “up to speed” through various product offerings.  The company prides itself on high quality and innovation in its respective field.     

The Wharton Automotive Group, consisting of McLeod Racing and FTI Performance, is owned by NHRA Nitro Funny Car driver and businessman Paul Lee.

Paul Lee continues to grow this sector of the driveline market. With the outstanding success of McLeod Racing, Lee sets his sights on growth in acquisitions. In 2019 Lee purchased the leading racing transmission and torque converter company, FTI Performance. In addition, he continues to grow his business strategy with the acquisition of Silver Sport Transmissions.

 

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“The team at Benchmark International, including Matthew Kekelis and Jack Chilcutt, did an excellent job of guiding Silver Sport Transmissions as the Sellers representative. Great representation is so important in today’s M&A market. As the Buyer, I was impressed how smooth and issue-free the transaction went to closing.” says Wharton Automotive Group president Paul Lee. “This transaction was the next step for Wharton Automotive Group’s goal of becoming the leader in the automotive driveline segment of the Worldwide Automotive Aftermarket industry.”

Transaction Director Matthew Kekelis at Benchmark International added,  “I genuinely believe that there was no better match for Silver Sport than Paul Lee and his team at The Wharton Group. Their professionalism and attention to detail throughout the acquisition process were outstanding.  We wish the best for all moving forward in this exciting new chapter.”

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2021 Energy & Sustainability Report: Progress, Trends, And M&A

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed to the world just how unprepared entire business sectors can be when it comes to unexpected events of mass proportion, and just how delicate our global supply chains actually are. COVID has been a health crisis that impacted lives, economies, and industries. Climate-driven events and disasters occur on a more concentrated scale but have proven to be extremely costly and disruptive to multiple sectors in various geographies—a problem that appears to be growing more prevalent.  

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Capital Network Solutions Limited and Flow Communications (UK) Ltd

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that Barry-based Capital Network Solutions (CNS) has been acquired by Hemel Hempstead-based Flow Communications (Flow), as part of its new buy and build strategy.

Established in 1996, CNS is a cyber security and infrastructure consultancy, ensuring data security and best practice for its clients. It is a highly accredited CREST Penetration Testing company and one of the largest IASME Cyber Essentials Certification Bodies within the UK having issued more than 3,000 certificates.

Flow is a network and security solutions provider, addressing the IT demands of the UK’s leading corporations. The acquisition of CNS complements Flow's current service offerings and aligns to the Flow vision.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Following the acquisition, CNS will continue to trade under its name and see an enlarged group employing 50.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Westgate IT Limited and Acora Ltd

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Bath-based managed service IT provider, Westgate IT, and Sussex-based Acora.

Established in 1997, Westgate IT is a provider of IT support, subscription and cloud-based services, and bespoke security solutions.

Acora is an award-winning managed IT services company based in London, Sussex and the Midlands. Services range from the design and build of complex solutions to the day-to-day management of services. Acora is backed by Palatine Private Equity, an independent private equity firm headquartered in Manchester.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

This highly strategic acquisition is of significant importance to Acora, allowing it to further expand into the South West with greater access to local talent, an additional service centre and more than 100 clients.

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Understanding Working Capital in the M&A Process

What is Working Capital?                                                                                 

In the process of selling your business, it is important to understand working capital as you accept an LOI (Letter of Intent) and move into the due diligence stage. Buyers require the business that they are purchasing to leave a predetermined amount of working capital to continue running the business and cover the short-term obligations.

In simple terms, working capital is calculated by subtracting your company's current assets (excluding cash) from your current liabilities (excluding debt). However, the calculation can become more complex in practice. Typically, in the LOI, the buyer will outline how the working capital “peg” will be calculated. The “peg” is a benchmark amount of working capital that is agreed upon toward the end of due diligence by the buyer and seller. The buyer typically considers current assets to include items such as accounts receivable, inventory, and prepaid expenses as necessary to maintain the ongoing operations. Items such as lines of credit, short-term debt, and taxes are not included in this calculation.

How Does Working Capital Influence the M&A Process?

When buyers are reviewing your company for potential acquisition, they want to ensure liquidity once they take over. The minimum level of working capital is considered to be part of the valuation and accounted for in the price included in the LOI. It is important to note that most M&A transactions are set on a cash-free and debt-free basis, meaning the seller maintains cash in the business but is responsible for paying off bank debts.

The working capital analysis is typically part of the buyer’s diligence process, which will involve the analysis of balances at the account level. Some items under the accrued expense or accounts payable may not be operational in nature and therefore are excluded from the calculation. However, the buyer may determine that an item was improperly omitted from the balance sheet and they may adjust the balances. The primary reason for this analysis is to accurately determine what a true normalized level of working capital should be given the company's historical financials.

How Are Working Capital Targets Determined?

In most cases, the buyer will use a historical average, which is typically 12 months to calculate the appropriate target at closing. The reason is that the buyer will be basing their valuation on the revenue, EBITDA, and working capital needed to generate this income will need to be provided. As a seller, it is important to remember that your EBITDA will typically reflect account receivables as revenue and account payables as an expense. The 12-month period for working capital is used to average out potential fluctuations as this correlates to valuations, which are typically based on a multiple of the trailing 12-month EBITDA. Seasonality should also be considered in the calculation. For example, working capital could be much higher or lower depending on if the deal were completed during the peak season. In this case, the buyer would be required to pay more as the working capital would likely be much higher or lower than average. On the other hand, if the transaction were completed during the off-season, working capital would be reduced.

 

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Adjustments During Diligence

As the seller, prior to the closing, you will deliver an estimate of working capital that you believe the business will have at closing. If this estimate exceeds the working capital target, you will receive an amount equal to the excess as an increase in the purchase price. However, if the estimate were less than the working capital target, the buyer would reduce the purchase price. After the closing, the buyer will perform their own calculation to determine the amount of working capital the acquired business had at closing. The purchase price would be further adjusted if the buyer’s calculation differs from the amount of the seller’s estimate. This process is typically referred to as a “true-up.”

Negotiating the Working Capital

During the true-up process, there is sometimes a dispute between the buyer and seller regarding the working capital calculation. From the seller’s point of view, they will argue that working capital should be calculated consistently with the methodology that was used to calculate the working capital target amount. This means that the seller is arguing that the purpose of the working capital adjustment is to compensate for deviations from the target working capital amount. For such changes to be calculated fairly, the closing amount of working capital must be calculated using the same methodology that was used in calculating the working capital target amount.

On the other hand, the buyer will sometimes argue that the purpose of the adjustment is to ensure that the business is delivered at closing with adequate working capital and that it should be made by calculating working capital in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Both the buyer and seller viewpoints sometimes make their way into the purchase agreement regarding how working capital is to be calculated.

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Medtech M&A On Track For Strong Second Half Of 2021

In the first half of 2021, medtech M&A deals already surpassed the total number of deals from last year, and this bustle in activity is forecast to continue through the second half of the year, as medtech companies have stockpiled billions of dollars in cash. The dollar value of deals in 2021 is also expected to far outpace that of 2020. Eleven megadeals were announced in H1, with a total deal value of around $128 billion.

Medtech M&A activity kicked off 2021 right out of the gate, with at least 10 deals announced in January alone. Companies emerged from 2020 flush with cash reserves and were ready to spend on dealmaking. The medtech sector recorded a total of 33 deals in the first half of 2021. That's up from 25 total in all of 2020. In fact, the first quarter of 2021 was the busiest for medtech M&A since 2016. While the initial rapid momentum may have slowed, the second half of 2021 should be abundant with new deals.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Just For You Personal Support Services and AccordCare

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Just For You Personal Support Services (“JFYPSS”) and AccordCare, Inc. (“AccordCare”).

JFYPSS is a College Park, Georgia-based home care company that provides personal care, skilled nursing, respite care, and companionship services. Established in 1996 with the goal to provide personal care services allowing disabled and elderly persons the opportunity to achieve and maintain optimal levels of independence in the community. JFYPSS is AccordCare’s fifth transaction in 18 months.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

AccordCare is a premier in-home personal care company providing services to people of all ages and levels of need. More than just personal care, it is specialized care custom-designed to meet a patient’s specific needs. They provide full-service private duty home care that is customized to patient’s needs, allowing them to stay in their home where they can feel the most comfortable. The company is based in Marietta, Georgia, and serves more than 1,300 clients daily.

Brandon Ballew, CEO of AccordCare, said in a press release, “Just for You has a great reputation and a commitment to providing excellent care to clients and driving an employee-first culture; it made them a natural fit for AccordCare.”

Senior Transaction Associate Sunny Yang Garten at Benchmark International added, “This acquisition represents a tremendous opportunity for both businesses and their teams. It was a pleasure to represent JFYPSS in this transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between ARC Medical, Inc. and Typenex Medical

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between ARC Medical, Inc. based out of Tucker, GA and Typenex Medical out of Chicago, IL.

ARC Medical offers circuit filters for the anesthesia market and humidification for the respiratory, long-term acute care, and home care markets in the United States. Best known for its circuitGuard, ThermoFlo, and FilterFlo products, ARC Medical was founded in 1990 by Harold Norris.

Regarding the transaction, Mr. Norris stated, “The ARC Medical team is very excited about the future of circuitGuard, ThermoFlo, and FilterFlo. The Typenex partnership presents great opportunities for both companies, as well as the customers we serve.”

Acquirer Typenex Medical is a national provider of medical solutions to the healthcare industry. The company was founded in 2004 and has grown from a single product (Original Typenex Blood Band) company into a diversified firm offering an array of solutions across the healthcare industry.

 

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The acquisition is backed by a private investment company, Chicago Venture Partners. Since 1998, the group and its affiliated entities have invested in over 200 portfolio companies.

Benchmark International's Senior Associate Jason Donker commented, “The combination of ARC’s unique product suite and Typenex’s vast reach and marketing capabilities will be truly powerful, and will hugely benefit both parties. It is always exciting to make such a highly synergistic marriage, and we are looking very forward to watching the combination grow moving forward.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP and Blixt Group

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Essex-based law firm, Fisher Jones Greenwood (FJG), and private equity firm, Blixt Group.

FJG is a multi-award-winning firm of solicitors covering a broad spectrum of fields such as residential conveyancing, family law, probate, and immigration and asylum, as well as some niche specialisms. The company operates from four offices across Essex and one in London, employs 158 staff and has a £7.3m turnover.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

Blixt is a private investment firm partnering with lower mid-market companies across Europe. Headquartered in London, the company targets businesses valued between €20m and €200m and has access to over €250m of committed institutional investor funding. Blixt is aiming to invest nationally in the legal sector with the goal of creating a national firm with a turnover of at least £100m in four to five years, and FJG is a springboard for these acquisitions.

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Benchmark International's Tampa Office Featured in "Workplaces Reimagined"

Benchmark International’s new Tampa headquarters has been spotlighted by The Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2021 feature called Workplaces Reimagined.

The series showcases how business offices in the Tampa Bay region have changed since the pandemic, focusing on new, innovative spaces in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.

Workplaces Reimagined features one office per month in the weekly edition, and our fantastic new Tampa location in the MetWest building was covered by the publication on July 30, 2021. Our 15,000+ square-foot office was recognized for its welcoming atmosphere, sweeping views, unique décor, and ample amenities that enhance the workspace for our team.

It is just another example of how Benchmark International goes above and beyond to make sure our teams have everything they need to continue to be leaders and trailblazers in the community, and in our industry.

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10 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Company

Selling a business comes with its share of challenges and concerns. Many business owners do not realize just how much time and energy is required to facilitate the sale of a company and are blindsided when they embark on the M&A process. The good news is that many of the pitfalls around selling can be avoided by learning from others' mistakes, like the 10 outlined below.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Millwork 360 LLC and The Marwin Company

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Millwork 360, LLC (“Millwork 360”) and The Marwin Company, a portfolio company of Validor Capital, a private investment firm.

Millwork 360, based in Tampa, FL, is a manufacturer of building products, including doors and custom moldings for residential and commercial projects. The company is proudly associated with Mastergrain Fiberglass Door Systems and exclusively distributes for the state of Florida.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

For 70 years, Marwin has been a leading supplier of specialty access products for the single and multi-family new construction markets. Marwin’s line of attic stairways and specialty door products are offered exclusively through professional building products, and dealers provide exceptional value supported with superior customer service.

Senior Transaction Associate Sunny Yang Garten at Benchmark International added, “It was a pleasure to represent Millwork 360 in this transaction. There was a great strategic fit between Millwork 360 and The Marwin Company. Jamie and her team were extremely responsive during this process. This acquisition represented a tremendous opportunity for both businesses and their teams. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”

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U.S. Private Equity Sets Major Record For H1 2021

Data released in a recent report by Pitchbook shows the unprecedented performance of U.S. Private Equity (PE) during the first half of 2021, continuing its intense pace for the third quarter in a row. PE firms closed on 3,708 deals worth a combined $456.6 billion. That’s almost two-thirds of the $711.6 billion deal value recorded in the entire year of 2020, and the two years prior.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Qoda Holdings Limited and Efficient Building Solutions Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between design engineering consultancy, Qoda, and Efficient Building Solutions (EBS).

Established in 2011, Qoda is a highly experienced engineering consultant that brings a personal approach to the mechanical, electrical and sustainable areas of building design. The company, which has a 60-strong consultancy team and offices in Oxfordshire, London and Bristol, operates nationally across a variety of sectors including education, commercial, leisure and healthcare.

EBS aims to play a leading role in addressing the climate impact of the UK’s buildings and helping reduce fuel poverty by creating healthy energy efficient buildings. The group’s portfolio includes physics consultancy Enhabit, product supplier Green Building Store and an expanding renewable energy installation and service group, including Go Eco Renewables and Bright Green Renewables.

EBS is backed by Ansor, the UK’s leading business focused on establishing, acquiring and growing entrepreneurial SMEs.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

As a result of the acquisition, EBS will benefit from Qoda’s considerable commercial track record and expertise which it will bring to the wider group, meaning that the combined companies can offer increased whole building design capability and capacity for clients.

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Sources of Capital in M&A

There are various ways that companies can grow, such as through the institution of new services, the launch of new products, or the enlargement of their market. Yet, growth through acquisition can be a much quicker and easier way to create growth than via the expansion of sales efforts. If the acquisition is a growth option that you are interested in, there are various alternatives through which a deal can be financed, as acquisition financing is rarely secured through one source. Some of the more popular options are included here for your reference.

Cash Acquisition

Shares are usually exchanged for cash in an all-cash acquisition deal. Cash transactions usually happen in cases in which the company that is being acquired is smaller and has smaller cash reserves than the acquirer. In a cash transaction, the acquirer takes on the entire risk as to whether or not the expected value materializes.

Leveraged Buyout (LBO)

A leveraged buyout is the acquisition of a business using a significant amount of borrowed money to cover the cost of acquisition. The assets of the company being acquired as well as those of the acquiring company are frequently used as collateral for the loan. Under this option, there is a common ratio of 90% debt to 10% equity.

Mezzanine Debt

Mezzanine debt includes both equity and debt features. A mezzanine fund is a pool of capital that invests in mezzanine finance for acquisitions, growth, recapitalization or management/leveraged buyouts. Mezzanine financing is usually configured as preferred stock or subordinated and unsecured debt.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

Seller Note

A seller note is when the seller agrees to accept a portion of the purchase price in a series of deferred payments. This is often used when the buyer does not have the entire purchase in cash and can only secure a commercial loan up to a percentage of the purchase price. Seller notes are generally unsecured and may be subordinated to other forms of debt. Because a seller note is riskier for the seller, it commands a higher interest rate. The use of a seller note can result in a higher purchase price for the seller but can speed up the closing process, as it is much simpler to negotiate these terms than with other forms of debt.

SBA 7(a) Loan

This Small Business Administration (SBA) loan is government-backed and offered by financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. While the SBA does not lend directly, it insures the loan in the event that a borrower defaults. The application process and paperwork can be quite drawn out because the lender is required to get approval from the SBA to back the loan. Typically, these loans will have better terms than traditional small business loans. The maximum amount allowed for a 7(a) loan is $5 million.

In all cases of sourcing capital for an acquisition, it is important how well the financing lines up with the goals of the deal, and what the plan is regarding the financing structure according to the circumstances of the deal.

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Can you Fund M&A With Cryptocurrency?

What is Cryptocurrency?

It seems like everyone is talking about it, but what exactly is cryptocurrency, or crypto? It is a digital payment method that is exchanged online to pay for goods and services. Crypto uses blockchain, which is a highly secure, ledger technology that is spread between multiple computer systems that manage and record transactions. As of now, bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular digital token network, followed by ethereum (ETH). They are both decentralized, meaning that they are not issued or regulated by a central banking authority. In 2020, Bitcoin beat the investment returns of gold and the S&P 500.

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