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Will 2019 Be the Year of the Family Office?

For the last decade, private equity players have held the driver’s seat in looking at, winning auctions for, and acquiring lower middle market businesses in the United States. But early results for 2019 indicate this trend may be at an end. The family office has come to the fore and appears poised to become the dominant bidder and buyer in this market.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Family offices are similar to private equity funds in that they take a pool of money and invest it across a range of companies seeking diversification to mitigate risk. But what’s more important are the differences between the two buyer types. These include:

  • Private equity funds have mandatory exit time frames imposed by their organizational documents and their agreements with their investors. A typical private equity fund has a life of about ten years so it must buy, grow, and then resell all of its investments in that time frame. Family offices, on the other hand, typically have no time horizon for re-selling. They are more often “buy and hold” acquirers.

  • Private equity funds primarily invest “other people’s money”. Family offices invest their own money. While a family office will typically have a management team working for the capital provider and that has the appearance of a private equity-style management company, the management team’s relationships, compensation, career path, and rigidity of investment criteria are each vastly divergent from those of private equity funds.

  • Private equity funds operate under some limitations as to the breathe of their investments - a tech fund can’t buy farmland – but they do seek diversification in very broad terms within these limitations. Family offices tend to have a narrower focus. They hew close to the Warren Buffet mantra that investors should only buy stocks within their "circle of competence." A family office that has made money in landscaping is likely only to look at landscaping businesses and if the family made its money in commercial landscaping, to only look at commercial landscaping businesses. As a result, they tend to come across to Benchmark Internationals’ clients as more knowledgeable about their business.

  • Also owing to their tighter range of interest and the fact that they do not have outside investor to whom they owe fiduciary duties, they tend to move faster, perform less diligence, and produce shorter contracts. Over the last ten years, as multiple have increased, private equity funds and trade buyers have ratcheted up their due diligence to levels our clients find very painful. This is understandable as higher multiple mean more risks for these buyers. But family offices seem more comfortable with this heightened risk and rely on their expertise in the narrower industry to alleviate the risk other buyers reduce via diligence.

  • Family offices also tend to use less debt in their deals than do private equity funds. Perhaps as a result of this fact, or maybe not, they tend to use their existing debt facilities to provide the extra leverage needed to put in competitive bids. As a result, the lenders due diligence is either greatly reduced or eliminated from the acquisition process. This also increases the speed to close and reduced the stress for sellers. When a private equity fund, or even a typical trade buyer, sets up a new transaction, they also set up a new lending arrangement and the bank providing the debt sends in its own diligence team to investigate the deal and the company being acquired. Double the diligence, double the fun!

  • Because a family office’s money is coming from one source as opposed to many, they tend to seek out smaller opportunities than do private equity funds. There are some very small private equity funds these days and there are also some rather large family offices now. But in general, the managers at a family office are more accustomed to dealing with smaller business, more owner-operated businesses, and businesses with less data to share during the due diligence process. As a result, our clients often find them easier to work with and have more interest in working with them on an ongoing basis following the closing.

  • Private equity funds often have a mechanism in place to have their “deal costs” covered by third parties. Deal costs primarily consist of due diligence costs, legal fees, and travel. It is not uncommon to see a private equity funds deal costs amount to over 5% of the transaction value. Family offices, on the other hand, have no one to turn to for their deal costs. This has two favorable results for sellers. First, they spend less on the process, making it shorter and easier. Second, their certainty of close is higher. While private equity funds can somewhat mitigate the costs of a “blown deal,” family offices only have one pocket to pull from – their own (or, in other words, their boss’s personal pocket).

  • The characteristic that is probably self-evident by this point is the higher certainty of close. Family offices know the market batter, they have less bandwidth to use time inefficiently, they have more discretion, they are less reliant on banks, and they don’t want to waste their own money on blown deals. They are thus more cautious, put in fewer bids, and call things off much sooner than other buyer types. In short, if they are proceeding, they are more serious than they average buyer.

  • They are harder to find. They do not have to register with the SEC. There is no secret club they belong to.  They are too short-handed to attend many conferences. Many even enjoy anonymity and don’t even have websites.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

This last characteristic is what makes selling to family offices tricky. Any broker can produce a Rolodex of private equity funds. In fact, an impressive one could be produced from scratch in a matter of hours. Furthermore, because their focuses tend to be so narrow, the first 100 family offices in the Rolodex would probably not be a good fit for any given business but a similar list of private equity funds would probably produce a few interested buyers in most any growing business. A broker is either into the family office world or they are not. There is no break through moment in this regard. It requires years of dedicated effort to identify and establish relationships with these hidden gems. It requires dozens of researchers and outreach efforts.  It also requires having an inventory of businesses for sale that keeps these buyers interested. Brokers focused on larger deals and boutique brokers lacking global reach simply can’t devote the time and energy necessary to gain access to this strengthening pool of buyers. Only brokerages such as Benchmark International have the capability to do so and many of those with the capability have simply not made the effort.

Our family office relationships are continually growing and in 2019 these efforts have rewarded our clients handsomely.  Keep your eyes open. I bet you’ll soon start to see the Wall Street Journal talking about family offices and the rise of the family office.  When you do, remember that you heard it here first and Benchmark International is your gateway to those buyers.  

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Fulfill Plus Client Testimonial {video}

 
 
 
Charles Gleason, CEO of FulfillPlus stated, “Michele & I would like to thank you for the great job your entire team did helping us sell our company. We selected Benchmark (International) because of the professionalism shown by all of your representatives as well as the breadth and scope of your company. Your team answered all of our concerns and made us feel comfortable enough to initiate the selling process. You re-affirmed me that it would be my decision on who we sell to and there is no time limit on finding the right buyer. I was skeptical, but after going through the process, I now know its 100% true. You didn’t pressure us to make decisions and focused your efforts on guiding us through the valuation and sales process at our pace. Nowhere along the way did we feel that you were pressuring us for time or a quick decision.If it was a flip of a  coin and it didn’t come up on Benchmark, then we kept flipping the coin.
Ready to explore your exit and growth options?
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benchmark International Negotiates the Sale of Mosher Engineering, Inc. to C.T.I. Consultants, Inc.

International M&A specialist, Benchmark International, has successfully negotiated the sale of Mosher Engineering, Inc.(“Mosher”) to C.T.I. Consultants, Inc. (“CTI”).

Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Mosher has been operating as a privately-owned provider of geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing services since 2003. The company routinely engages with owners, developers, engineers, and contractors for various types of commercial, industrial, and residential projects. The company’s sole shareholder, Bill Mosher, boasts over 20 years of experience as an engineer, and previously worked as an executive officer and Principal Engineer at Law Engineering, Inc.

With a strong presence across the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, CTI is a full-service engineering consulting firm with its corporate headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, and branch offices at eight other locations. CTI was founded in 1984 and offers a wide range of services including geotechnical engineering and drilling, construction quality control, structural steel inspection, soils, concrete, and masonry testing and inspection, environmental consulting, quality assurance, roof consulting, core drilling services, and radiographic testing. With a staff of over 175 employees, CTI is able to ensure the smooth continuation of projects and avoid costly delays. The acquisition of Mosher represents an excellent addition to CTI’s growth strategy and further expands on its current North Carolina footprint.

“Benchmark International played an instrumental role in facilitating a successful acquisition,” said Mosher Engineering’s President and Owner, Bill Mosher. “From the beginning, the Benchmark team was diligent in identifying the perfect buyer for my business and brought multiple candidates to the table. Overall, CTI was the ideal fit from an acquirer standpoint and I’d like to extend a big thank you to Benchmark for the hard work and extraordinary effort that made this transaction a reality.“

Trevor Talkie, Senior Associate at Benchmark International, added, “It was a pleasure working with Bill Mosher both through the early stages of our marketing process and right through to the transaction closing. At the end of the day, Bill [Mosher] was able to exit his company on favorable terms and we’re thrilled by this successful outcome.” Director, Tyrus O’Neill, added, “Bill has built a tremendous business and we’re ecstatic to have brought his exit strategy goals to fruition. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both parties the best of luck moving forward.”

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View Our Exclusive US Opportunities

Benchmark International has been engaged as the exclusive sell-side broker for international companies across all industries. However, in this PDF, we are showcasing our Featured US Opportunities.

If you find the teasers you would like to see, please contact Garrett Spek at Spek@BenchmarkCorporate.com or call 813-898-2373 and provide the six digit 
alphanumeric code.

All of these clients have retained Benchmark International as their exclusive broker and we are not co-brokering any of them so if you have seen them elsewhere, we are the source. That said, we appreciate your passing this list on to any and all serious buyers you may know of.

Featured US Opportunities PDF

Benchmark sells over 100 businesses every year, many involving cross-border deals. If you have specific acquisition interests, please email your criteria to acquirerupdate@benchmarkcorporate.com.  You can also let us know if you would like to sign up to receive future opportunity marketing emails.

Beyond this list, we also have EmbraceBenchmark.com, which showcases a complete listing of our US opportunities.

Looking to Aquire an Exclusive Opportunity in the Americas?
Contact Kendall Stafford at Stafford@BenchmarkCorporate.com

Looking to Acquire an Exclusive Opportunity in Europe?
Contact Bhavina Halai at Halai@BenchmarkCorporate.com

Looking to Acquire an Exclusive Opportunity in Africa?
Contact Andre Bresler at Bresler@BenchmarkCorporate.com 

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View Our Featured International Business Opportunities

Benchmark International has been engaged as the exclusive sell-side broker for international companies across all industries. Please take a moment to review the Featured International Opportunities PDF.

If you find the teasers you would like to see, please contact Anthony Sourour at Sourour@BenchmarkCorporate.com or +1 813 898 2391 and provide the six digit
alphanumeric code.

All of these clients have retained Benchmark International as their exclusive broker and we are not co-brokering any of them so if you have seen them elsewhere, we are the source. That said, we appreciate your passing this list on to any and all serious buyers you may know of.

Featured International Opportunities PDF

Benchmark sells over 100 businesses every year, many involving cross-border deals. If you have specific acquisition interests, please email your criteria to acquirerupdate@benchmarkcorporate.com.  You can also let us know if you would like to sign up to receive future opportunity marketing emails.

Beyond this list, we also have EmbraceBenchmark.com, which showcases a complete listing of our US opportunities.

Looking to Aquire an Exclusive Opportunity in the Americas?
Contact Kendall Stafford at Stafford@BenchmarkCorporate.com

Looking to Acquire an Exclusive Opportunity in Europe?
Contact Bhavina Halai at Halai@BenchmarkCorporate.com

Looking to Acquire an Exclusive Opportunity in Africa?
Contact Andre Bresler at Bresler@BenchmarkCorporate.com 

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Benchmark International Completes the Sale of John Dwyer Bakery Limited to Bridgwater Bros. Holdings Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of a Rugby-based family bakery firm to Bridgwater Bros.

Founded in 1986 by John and Jacqueline Dwyer, John Dwyer Bakery produces, supplies and delivers one-off and batch baked goods to supermarkets, schools, universities and catering companies.

The acquisition increases Bridgwater Bros’ portfolio of companies to twelve and enables the buyer to focus on expanding on its existing food company, The UK Foodhall, a producer of quality British frozen food. In Bridgwater Bros and The UK Foodhall, Benchmark International sourced an acquirer that adhered to the same values and traditions that have made John Dwyer Bakery a success and all parties involved are looking forward to the future under new ownership.

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Benchmark International's Luis Vinals Announced as Winner of the 9th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards

The M&A Advisor announced the winners of the Emerging Leaders Awards on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. The M&A Advisor, renowned globally for its recognition of leading M&A, financing and turnaround professionals, created this event to promote mentorship and professional development amongst the emerging business leaders. Luis Vinals was chosen from a pool of nominees by an independent judging panel of distinguished business leaders.

“The Annual M&A Advisor Emerging Leaders Awards was born as the 40 Under 40 Awards in the United States in 2010 to recognize and celebrate the achievements of young M&A, Financing and Turnaround professionals who had reached a significant level of success and made a notable contribution to their industry and community. With the expansion of the Emerging Leaders program to the United Kingdom, and Europe in 2016, the 2018 US award winners join a truly global network of outstanding young professionals,” said David Fergusson, President and Co-CEO of The M&A Advisor.

On Friday, September 14th, 2018 The M&A Advisor will host a black tie Awards Gala at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan to introduce the Emerging Leaders Award Winners to the business community and celebrate their achievements. The Awards Gala is a feature of the 2018 Emerging Leaders Summit – an exclusive event pairing current and past Emerging Leaders winners together with their peers and industry stalwarts.

Luis Vinals is a Transaction Director at Benchmark International. He leads a team of analysts to help achieve Benchmark International’s clients’ goals of growing or exiting their businesses. Luis has experience in many different industries including, importing/exporting, specialty manufacturing, business services, etc. Luis’s experience in international trade and banking provides a unique perspective to the various transactions that he leads.

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Benchmark's US Anniversaries

As Benchmark International ventures into another year of service in the US, some employees have been along for the ride. This year marks another milestone for the following individuals. As Benchmark International instills in its team and philosophy that they “leave no stone unturned,” these Benchmark International team members do exactly that. Benchmark International gave each employee a brief interview and found out how they have grown professionally and what they see in store in the coming years. This is what they had to say:

Senior Associate, Emily Cogley, stated “Six years at any firm is a true testament to the strength of the company and loyalty of the employee. I enjoy being a part of a hardworking firm that often handles one of the most important decisions for our sellers in their lifetime.” Ms. Cogley has been a part of Benchmark International in the US since its inception. As such, she has seen the growth of the company and has had the opportunity to grow alongside it. “We opened offices in Austin [Texas] and Nashville [Tennessee] in the last two years. I am looking forward to helping the Tampa-based headquarters grow or helping start another Benchmark office in a new city,” she said.

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South Africa Team Expands Operations into Johannesburg

The Benchmark South African Office has experienced extraordinary growth in the ten months following the company’s investment in Cape Town in response to demand to grow the African operations. The team is therefore proud to announce the opening of its Johannesburg office, the largest city in South Africa and one of the 50 largest urban areas globally.

Strategically, this expansion positions the company’s additional operations near the heart of the country’s wealthiest province, a full three months ahead of schedule. The early establishment of an office in this node was a decision necessitated by the level of activity Benchmark is engaged in with clients and buyers alike, and demonstrates the company’s continued
commitment and growing presence on the continent.

As a country, and in the context of Emerging Markets, South Africa has unparalleled potential as a destination for direct investment and features as one of the most dynamic and rewarding emerging market economies across the globe. As an M&A target region South Africa was recently ranked as the 28th most attractive destination for inbound M&A transactions globally. (According to Zephyr, a product of Bureau van Dijk).

Benchmark International’s Johannesburg office is headed up by Johann Haasbroek who, having worked with many of the current Benchmark team in the past, has extensive M&A, Corporate Finance and Banking experience.

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Global M&A Activity to Reach Record Figure of £2.4 Trillion in 2018

Worldwide mergers and acquisition activity will hit £2.4 trillion ($3.2 trillion) next year, as deal-making is elevated on an increasing global economic tide, according to recent forecasts.

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Giving in Order to Receive: A Surprisingly ‘Warm and Fuzzy Glow’ in the Harvard Business Review

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review made a perhaps surprising conjecture: that as far as mergers and acquisitions are concerned, those companies that focus on what they’re going to get from an acquisition are less likely to succeed, in terms of the deal outcomes, than those companies that focus on what they can give to the process.

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Benchmark International Advises on the deal between Sui Generis Holdings Limited to Milbank Concrete Products Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that a deal between Sui Generis and Milbank has been agreed.

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Medical Sector M&A in Rude Health: Medisec Acquisition Part of Wider Trend for Synergetic Deals

We’ve recently been seeing at first hand the rise in medical and healthcare sector mergers and acquisitions both domestically and internationally, with Dublin-based Clanwilliam Group’s synergetic acquisition of Cheshire-based NHS technology provider Medisec (brokered by Benchmark International) the most recent example.

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Benchmark International Advises on The Sale of Levy Brothers & Knowles Limited to NNZ

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that a deal between Levy Brothers & Knowles Limited (LBK) to NNZ has been agreed.

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Greening Due Diligence: Environmental Factors to Consider in M&A Preparation

‘Green-washing’ is pretty much endemic in the business world, with every company worth its salt aiming to showcase its environmental credentials, whether rightfully or as a PR exercise.

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Benchmark International Advises on the Deal Between SigmaRoc and Topcrete Limited

 

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Considering the sale of your business? If so, then the time might be now!

There is still the chance for you to capitalise on the extremely low 10% capital gains tax rates which are on offer via Entrepreneurs’ Relief, whenever you fully or partially sell your company.

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Technically Speaking - M&A to Remain Strong in the Next 12 Months

Technology-related mergers and acquisitions are set to remain robust over the next 12 months, according to the recent semi-annual leaders’ poll from law firm Morrison & Foerster’s global M&A team.

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The Time For Health IT M&A is Approaching

Health IT mergers and acquisitions are now gaining traction, and at a rapid rate. While there are a number of reasons for this, the ultimate driving force is the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care.

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What Makes a Company a Likely Acquisition Target?

A fascinating report has been published by Intralinks who, in conjunction with Cass Business School in London examined 23 years of data from almost 34,000 companies worldwide to identify the factors that make companies attractive M&A targets.

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