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How to Avoid Seller's Remorse

Selling your business can be an emotional experience. You certainly don’t want to be left at the end of the process with a sinking feeling that you have made a bad deal or sold to a buyer who doesn’t appreciate the value and legacy of the company you have built. However, there are things that you can do to avoid seller’s remorse; we will discuss several of them in this article for you to consider.


It’s best to begin putting together an exit plan sooner rather than later. Preparing well for the transition of a business requires time, action, and significant attention. For many business owners, their business represents the majority of their wealth. Planning for the transition allows you to have enough time to minimize taxes, prepare financially for a living situation without the income from the business and put a plan together for the next phase of life. Although typically, entrepreneurs are not the retiring type, knowing what your next move will be can be very important for your state of mind post-sale. Seller’s remorse can often be avoided by beginning to plan for the transaction three to five years before the business owner wants to exit.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Absolute Solar and Wind Ltd and RSK Group

Benchmark International has advised on the transaction between Loch Lomond-based Absolute Solar and Wind (Absolute) and Cheshire-based RSK.

Established in 2007, Absolute provides renewable energy design, installation, and maintenance services for commercial and industrial renewable energy projects, primarily in the solar sector.

Working with customers such as Scottish Water, Exeter City Council, Edinburgh Airport, UK Research and Innovation, and local authorities, the Absolute team delivers solar, wind and low carbon heating services in conjunction with its supply chain.

RSK is a global leader in the delivery of sustainable solutions. The transaction marks part of RSK’s continued strategic expansion and is the 28th acquisition by the company this financial year.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

Following the transaction, Absolute will join RSK's Agriculture, Land and Property Management (ALPM) division under the direction of Ian Strudwick. The company will continue to be led by Absolute director Tom Newall.

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Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Company

What’s Your Competitive Advantage on the Market?

Consider why prospective buyers would be interested in purchasing your company. You should be able to identify its assets in order to get a proper business valuation. How unique is your product or service offering? Do you outperform the competitors in your sector or in a particular geographic area? You will also want to consider whether your revenues are stable, growing, or declining. If you understand why someone would be interested in purchasing your company, you will be more equipped to enhance those qualities and effectively articulate them to buyers.

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Dispelling Myths about Private Equity Buyers

We have all heard the horror stories from lower middle market business owners. Private Equity buyers will come in and get rid of all of my employees, borrow an absurd amount of money to finance the acquisition, thereby straining my company’s balance sheet and income statement, and then, light a match Goodfellas-style when they are done extracting value from it. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret? The days of financially engineering a path to outsized profits are long gone. While there certainly was an era where Private Equity funds looked to lock in a guaranteed “win” by over-levering the balance sheet, stripping the Income Statement of “fat”- read, people- and quickly flipping to monetize the win, those days are largely behind us. Today, most professional buyers value the team in place more so than any perceived competitive advantage with the product or service offering. I’ll say that again, buyers often view the team as the most important determinant of success- more so even than the core product or service offered by the business.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Boyd Brothers (Fauldhouse) Ltd and British Engineering Services Group

Benchmark International is pleased to announce to acquisition of Livingston-based Boyd Brothers by British Engineering Services.

Family-founded Boyd Brothers is an electrical and civil engineering contractor with over 50 years’ experience. Since its establishment, it has grown to become a specialist in electrical vehicle charging point installations.

For over 160 years British Engineering Services has been engaged in the testing, inspection, and certification of industrial machinery via its highly skilled engineer surveyors and engineering consultants. The acquisition is British Engineering Services' sixth since 2019 and will enhance Boyd Brothers’ electrical division, as well as make specialist services more easily accessible to customers.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

Stephen Boyd, managing director at Boyd Brothers, commented: “We’re really happy to have joined the British Engineering Services Group. This is a fantastic move for both businesses. Their growth over the last few years is impressive and we’re excited to be a valuable part of their future.”

Paul Trivett, MD of Electrical and Consultancy at the British Engineering Services Group, said: “This is another great addition to the British Engineering Services Group. We’ve spent lots of time with the Boyd Brothers team over recent months and it’s very clear they share the same values and priorities as the wider Group. Not only do they always put their customer first, but they’re very focused on making sure nothing is left to chance. This will further enhance our presence in the electrical safety field, which we started to develop further with the acquisition of Lantei in December 2020.”

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Strategies for Retaining Talent During a Merger or Acquisition

Mergers and acquisitions are effective solutions for growing a company, getting a competitive edge, accessing new resources, lowering risk, tapping into new markets, and acquiring key talent. Obviously, these are all very appealing to investors and upper management. But employees do not always see it this way. 

In actuality, employees often view such a major change as a threat. These negative feelings can lead to employee retention problems, especially in today’s world where labor shortages are already a significant problem. Staff members may feel uncertain about the future of the company, how secure their job may be, how the culture will change, and how a change in leadership will impact them. They can also have their concerns worsened or blown out of proportion if there is not a clear line of communication about what is happening with the company during a transition. Sometimes employees will feel a sense of betrayal. Furthermore, some team members may feel guilty if they keep their jobs while coworkers are victims of downsizing or restructuring. Combine all these factors and quickly end up with people looking for work elsewhere. But that is not good for any deal. Why?

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between CFR Management Services Limited and a Private Investor

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that Derby-based CFR has been acquired by a private investor.

An exclusive supplier for Felfoldi in the UK, CFR is a distributor of a range of confectionery products including flavoured straws, baked goods & home baking kits, canned drinks, and sweets. Other high-profile customers include national retailers such as Asda, Poundland, and B&M Retail.

CFR was acquired by a private investor, allowing shareholder Christopher Rudd to pursue retirement plans.

Feel like it's time to slow down?

Commenting on working with Benchmark International, Mr Rudd said: “Thanks for all your hard work, efforts and your input. You’ve been a huge part of where we got to today.”

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What is The Outlook For Capital Markets in 2022?

Capital markets drive capital to areas of innovation and positive growth, creating jobs and fueling economies. In the US, capital markets fund 73% of all economic activity. This takes the form of equity and debt financing of non-financial companies. Capital markets facilitate debt issuance, which tends to be a less restrictive form of borrowing for businesses. The usage of debt capital is the most prevalent in the US (80%), versus other regions (only 20–30%) where bank lending is more prevalent. 

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Seller Protection With an Earnout

Earnout Agreements have become increasingly routine in deal structures over the last several years as they are most widely used during times of political and/or economic uncertainty. The earnout payment is additional compensation paid in the future to the seller after the business is sold. An earnout agreement can help bridge a valuation gap or encourage the former owner to remain for a longer period of time following the close of the sale. They should only be considered when the company will continue to operate the same in the years following the sale at the time of closing. While sellers can sometimes be nervous when it comes to agreeing to an earnout, there are protections for yourself that you can keep in mind.


When structuring the earnout, it is important to consider the financial metrics used and choose your benchmark carefully. For example, buyers will often prefer to use an EBITDA target as they believe this will be the most dependable indicator of the business's profitability. On the other hand, typically, sellers do not like using EBITDA due to concerns that the buyer can manipulate the number to benefit the buyer at the end of the earnout period. While sellers usually prefer a marker based on the business's gross revenues, gross profit can sometimes be used as a good compromise for both parties. Suppose an EBITDA calculation must be agreed to move forward with the deal. In that case, the seller can ask for various expenses, overhead costs, etc., to be excluded from the calculation.

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Mortgage Brokerage Industry Report

The Global Market

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic rattled the worldwide mortgage market. New lending volumes plummeted to record lows amid declining consumer sentiment, job losses, and nationwide lockdowns in many countries. However, new mortgage lending has remained on an upward trajectory since the second half of 2020. The total number of closed-end mortgage originations jumped from 8.3 million in 2019 to 13.6 million in 2020. That’s an increase of 65.2%. Regulators have kept interest rates at an all-time low. Even though interest rates could begin to tick up at some point, globally, the mortgage brokerage services market is expected to continue to see tremendous growth through the year 2027.

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Why Should I Sell My Company?

As the owner of a business, you face a slew of tough decisions nearly every day. One question you may have asked yourself is whether you should sell your company. Several factors can influence your decision to sell, some of which you may not have even thought about. Here you will find a comprehensive list of possible reasons to help you decide if and when selling your business is right for you.  

It's at a High Point

Over time, most businesses face different cycles of highs and lows, and potential buyers prefer to acquire companies that are thriving and have a positive future outlook. When your company is performing well, and profits are high, you can opt to sell to get the maximum value in a sale. You may not be ready to retire or move on, but if you sell at the right time, you can make the most money possible and pave the way for a more secure financial future. This can also help you avoid selling at a later date for less value, which would mean less money for your retirement. 

If you are far from being ready to retire, there are ways to structure a deal to stay on with the company, working for the new owner and helping them grow the business. This can help you start the transition to your full exit. And in this case, if the business declines or an economic recession occurs, you do not face the risk of losing value because you got out at the right time.

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How a Partial Sale of Your Business Can Benefit You

There are strategies available for business owners who are in need of additional capital to grow their business. The partial sale transaction has gained popularity over the last couple of years. When business owners find themselves with limited operating liquidity, they are unable to create the type of growth they desire. A partial sale can bring additional resources into the business that can set into motion long-term growth strategies, increase operational stability and recruit new hires. If you are looking to downsize your company, you can invest that money into different opportunities that may offer you a higher return on your investment.

A partial sale of your business gives you the opportunity to remain involved in the business that you have spent decades building. Following a partial sale, many business owners serve as advisors, senior executives, board members, etc., to assist the buyer with their transition period to new ownership. Smart buyers are open to customizing the role and involvement of the seller once the deal has closed in order that the seller remains with the business for months and years to come.

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Financial Services Industry Report

Financial Planning & Advisory Sector

In 2022, the market size of the financial planning & advisory industry is $59.2 billion. It is expected to increase 4% this year. Between 2017 and 2022, the market has grown 4.5% per year on average. The size of the market has increased faster in the U.S. than the overall economy. 

Industry profit declined in 2020 due to declining assets under management and lower return on assets but increased in 2021 as the economy began to recover. As macroeconomic conditions continue to improve through 2026 gradually, industry operators are expected to benefit from rising equity values and rising interest rates. 

High competition is a challenge in the industry, while the population's median age represents an opportunity. This is because the rising median age of the U.S. population is approaching retirement age, which increases the demand for retirement planning, capital preservation, and estate planning.

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The Increasing Adoption Of Enterprise Resource Planning And Customer Relationship Management Software

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increased adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and other entrepreneurial software. In 2020, many companies accelerated their plans to begin using these systems, and the market for them remains hot, particularly for Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. COVID forced most businesses to digitize their offerings in real-time as consumers began turning to online shopping and employees started working remotely—both trends that are expected to continue into the future.

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The Shift From a Seller's Market To a Buyer's Market When Interest Rates Rise

So if you are a business owner considering selling your company, the good news is that right now, it's a seller's M&A market. By October of 2021, total M&A deal activity reached $4.4 trillion, which is an increase of 92% compared to a year ago and is the strongest opening period for M&A since 1980. In addition, merger activity resulted in deals totaling $1.52 trillion in the three months prior to September 27, 2021. That's up 38% from the same quarter in 2020—and more than any other quarter on record.

In a seller's market, demand is high for assets that are in limited supply, giving sellers more pricing and negotiating power. This demand can be attributed to a recovering economy, high cash balances, big government spending, new SPAC buyers, and low-interest rates. Plus, investors are flush with cash and ready to spend it on acquisitions that can help create growth or add capabilities. When market conditions shift, buyers have the upper hand in deal negotiations. And this could happen when the U.S. Federal Reserve increases interest rates in the next year or so.

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What Does Inflation Mean For Your Ability to Sell Your Business?

Short answer – We don’t know. The M&A market has never interacted with this much inflation before. Inflation is now at a 40-year high. In 1982, there was no M&A market. The birth of the market is most often traced to KKR’s 1988 takeover of RJR Nabisco, as made famous in the 1989 book “Barbarians at the Gate” and the 1993 movie of the same name. Whether that is the actual date of birth or not can be argued. Still, at the time it was commonly thought that the cash for the $25 billion price tag was unattainable because, as the book says, there was a belief that there was not anywhere near that much excess cash floating around for doing deals in the entire world.

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The Impact of Labor Shortages on M&A

The Labor Shortage Persists

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted companies of all sizes, but small businesses have certainly been hit the hardest. First, there were total shutdowns, followed by financing problems due to slowed business, and now it is labor shortages that are the latest issue as the world works towards recovery. 

The slew of workers leaving the workforce altogether is fueling a growing labor shortage in what seems to be every industry. Demand is up, and supply is down. Businesses are facing concerns with not having enough people to get the job done—especially in sectors such as healthcare and technology. These spaces are seeing attrition rates of 3.6% and 4.5% higher, respectively, than last year. Research even shows that 36% of workers who quit their jobs did so without another job lined up.

And the labor shortage is an issue that is happening on a global scale, from the US to Canada to Europe. According to the US Census Bureau, many businesses struggle to retain and attract employees, and 49% of business owners say the labor shortage is affecting their business. And a Canadian study reported that 30% of Canadian business owners say the top motivating factor for pursuing an acquisition is gaining access to new talent. That number is up from 20% before the pandemic. Additionally, a recent Eurostat survey found that, in the third quarter of 2021, a worker shortage was hampering production at 83% of industrial companies in Hungary, 50% in Poland, and 44% in the Czech Republic.

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No Recession in 2022, But 2023 May Be a Different Story

The good news is that experts agree that 2022 will be in the clear from a recession for the US economy. But the next few years may tell a different story. 

An economic downturn could arrive as early as 2023. Federal Reserve policy is expected to change, which will result in more business cycles that many companies will not be ready to face. Even if the country is lucky enough to dodge a recession in 2023, we can expect the economic decline to be more detrimental in 2024 or 2025. The Fed will eventually start easing up on stimulus initiatives and raising interest rates at the same time that inflation is on the rise. It usually takes the economy about a year to react to the Fed’s actions, putting us on track for a safe 2022, but with the following years feeling the impacts.

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Deal Structures in a Post Covid World

First off, I’m using the term “post-covid” gingerly, since, as I am writing this article, we are going through a surge of the Omicron variant. This article is intended to shed light on deal structures that we saw in 2021 and compare them to pre-covid years, as well as surmise future structures.

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2022 Is a Seller's Year for M&A

2021 Was a Record Year

In 2021, dealmakers worldwide announced $5.6 trillion in M&A transactions (that’s 30% higher than the previous record), and the U.S. reported $2.9 trillion in transactions (that’s 40% higher than the previous record). While 2021 may have been a record-breaking year for middle-market M&A activity, 2022 should be an excellent year for sellers. 

Last year several factors drove deal activity to new heights:

  • Pent-up activity from the previous slow year because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • A wealth of capital seeking investment opportunities
  • Potential tax changes this year
  • Strong economic growth
  • Continued low-interest rates
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2022 Oil & Gas Report

In dollar value alone, the oil & gas sector is the world’s largest industry, employing a massive workforce of around 4 million people globally. The major oil companies account for a significant percentage of a country’s national GDP. The world’s largest producers of oil are the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

In 2021, the oil & gas sector recovered well, with oil prices climbing to their highest levels in six years. Total revenues for the oil & gas drilling sector in 2021 came to approximately $2.1 trillion. The global oil & gas market is forecast to reach $7425.02 billion in 2025. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%. This growth is primarily due to companies shifting their operations during recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-interest rates positively impacted the oil & gas industry in most developed countries. 

The global oil & gas exploration and production sector account for a large chunk of the global economy. The growth of this sector is expected to increase in the future, with OPEC crude oil production averaging 34.15 million b/d in 2022.

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2021 Was a Record Year For M&A - And 2022 Could be, Too

After the trials and tribulations of 2020, no one really knew what to expect going into 2021. Yet, for the world of M&A, it couldn’t have been a more pleasant surprise.

Last year has most certainly been a record year for M&A deals, making a huge comeback from 2020. In 2021, the number of announced deals exceeded 62,000 globally. That’s up an unprecedented 24% from 2020. Deal values reached an all-time high of $5.1 trillion.

Almost all sectors are showing signs of recovery from 2020. Values are up and multiples are rising, with strategic M&A multiples at an all-time high (a median multiple of 16x EV/EBITDA).

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Key Insights in Selling an Architecture Business

Mergers and acquisitions in each industry have their own oddities, and architecture is no different from any other in that regard. However, the following similarities always seem to rise to the top when selling a firm.

Lead Architects are the Key to the Business’ Value.

At the end of the day, like all professional services businesses, the most valuable asset walks out the door every day – and – there is nothing you can do to force them to come back the next day. Acquirers are very aware of this, and when buying architecture firms, they will take extreme measures to ensure that they will return not only the day after the deal closes but for years to come. As a result, almost every deal in this space involves broadening corporate ownership to include, typically, the most senior/valuable 10% of the firm, covering the rainmakers, the client managers, the project managers, and the most brilliant experienced architects. If the owner falls into one or more of these categories, they should expect to retain some equity and sign a multi-year employment agreement.

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Surge in Private Equity Deal Activity 2021

Private equity transactions on a global scale returned to form in 2021 following the challenges posed by the pandemic, with private equity firms deploying record amounts of dry powder held as they looked to invest cash accumulated during the pandemic.

According to Mergermarket, a record was set for the percentage of M&A deals that involved private equity, with buyouts comprising 27% of global activity in 2021. This totalled 8,548 deals worth $2.1tn, nearly doubling the previous record set in 2007. Deal volume was also staggering, showing a 60% increase year-on-year.

Looking to 2022, it appears that global private equity deals might continue in the same vein, as private equity houses still have approximately $2.3tn of cash reserves. This, coupled with increasingly positive economic conditions such as a brightening global economic outlook, seller-favourable valuations, and low interest rates, are instilling confidence in the market.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

At Benchmark International, the Transactions Teams stay abreast of industry trends to ensure the best and most suitable deals are completed for clients. As a result, throughout 2021, Benchmark International in the UK and Ireland has completed 18 transactions involving a private equity buyer. These include:

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How Potential Tax Changes Could Impact M&A

There are several changes to tax policy on the table in the United States under the Biden administration. The administration has discussed tax increases on high-income earners at some point in the future, while the timing is yet to be determined. If you are a business owner considering the sale of your company in the next few years, you may want to speed up your timeline because waiting could mean you have to pay higher taxes if laws do change.

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Supply Chain Issues Are Fueling M&A Transactions

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normalcy in several aspects of the world as we knew it, and one of the things hit especially hard has been the global supply chain. These supply chain problems have impacted nearly every industry and business, both large and small. Because of so much continued uncertainty in supply chains—uncertainty that is expected to last for years—business owners and executive leaders are reassessing operations and seeking paths to gain more control.

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Acquiring A New 401(k) Plan In An M&A Transaction

There are basically four possible outcomes for retirement plans in an M&A deal: 

  • The plans of both companies are merged.
  • The plan at the acquired company is terminated.
  • Both plans from both companies are maintained.
  • The plan from the acquired company is frozen.

So, what do you need to know if these circumstances apply to a deal that you are involved in?

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Shift Traffic Events Limited and Chevron Traffic Management Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Scunthorpe-headquartered Shift Traffic Events to Oxfordshire-based Chevron Traffic Management.

Shift Traffic Events specialises in traffic management within the events and utilities sectors, including high profile events such as the London Marathon. The company employs over 150 people and has depots in Scunthorpe and Essex.

Chevron Traffic Management provides physical and digital traffic controls for organisations working within utilities, rail, high-speed network, local authorities and events which need to disrupt normal traffic flow. It has 30 depots across the UK, including one in Scotland which operates as Class One Traffic Management. The company has been owned by Triton, an international investment firm, since 2018.

Chevron Traffic Management is part of the Chevron Group of companies, which includes Chevron Green Services, Chevron Green Consultancy, Class One Traffic Management and Highway Resource Solutions (HRS).

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

The acquisition is part of the company’s buy and build strategy and will help Chevron Traffic Management to expand their existing capabilities in traffic management within the events and utilities sectors, alongside other specialisms like digital services and arboriculture.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Classic Emporium, LLC And Champion Xpress Car Wash

Benchmark International’s client Classic Emporium, DBA Rain Tunnel Car Spa, a New Mexico-based company providing vehicle wash, detailing and quick lube services, has sold to Champion Xpress Car Wash, a family-owned and operated business with multiple locations across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Iowa.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Perfusion.com, Inc. and Epic Healthcare Travel Staffing, Inc.

Perfusion.com (PDC) is the leading provider of staffing services to the U.S. perfusion industry. The company’s core perfusion staffing services include autotransfusion, blood management and biologics services, the sale of disposables, capital equipment leasing, training and education services and patient transportation. The company is headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between CorEnergy Limited and Sureserve Group plc

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Manchester-based CorEnergy by Kent-based Sureserve in a £7.5m deal.

CorEnergy was established in 2014 to capitalise on market growth in LED lighting and renewables. Focused on providing sustainable energy services for public and private sector organisations, the company provides cost analysis, design, supply, installation and commissioning of LED lighting and controls, solar photovoltaics, electrical vehicle charging, battery storage, and renewable heating solutions.

It is expected to achieve revenues in excess of £6m and EBITA of £1m for the year to 31 December 2021.

AIM-listed Sureserve, currently valued at £148m and employing over 2,100 people, is a compliance and energy services group. The bolt-on deal expands Sureserve’s range of energy services, with CorEnergy providing the firm with new expertise in solar power and electric vehicles.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

The maximum total consideration payable for CorEnergy by Sureserve is £7.5m, with an initial £5.9m payable on completion, including £2.9m in cash and the issue of 3,281,879 new ordinary shares of 10p each. Further deferred consideration of up to £1.6m may be payable, split equally between cash and shares, depending on CorEnergy's full-year results to December 2021.

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Benchmark International Named Investment Banking Firm of The Year

At the 20th Annual M&A Advisor Awards—known as the Oscars of the M&A world— Benchmark International was awarded Investment Banking Firm of the Year. The awards are presented by The M&A Advisor, and the winners were announced at the Gala Ceremony live event held in New York City on November 17, 2021.

Benchmark International beat out the other nominees, which included Capstone Partners, Clearsight Advisors, DC Advisory, Drake Star Partners, Generational Group, Leonis Partners, and Raymond James.

These awards serve as the industry benchmark for dealmaking excellence, recognizing the leading M&A transactions, restructurings, deal financings, products/services, firms, and professionals.

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U.S. Private Equity in Middle Market Continues at Record Levels

Middle-market private equity (PE) dealmaking in the United States didn’t lose its record momentum in the second quarter of 2021, some of which carried over into Q3, thanks to sustained economic recovery, ample debt, and plenty of available capital, according to data from Pitchbook. U.S. GDP grew at an annualized 6.5% in Q2 but slowed to 2% in Q3, mainly due to global supply chain issues. 

PE fundraising is also holding strong, with the 87 U.S. middle-market funds raised so far this year on course to set a new record. Additionally, the $68.4 billion in capital raised in 2021 is on track to be the second-highest annual total since 2010.

Most deal activities were put on hold for several months after March of 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 2021 and early 2022 may be the right time to sell. The following factors are affecting the viewpoint of sellers of privately-owned companies: 

  • Some owners are now more heedful of another crisis and how it could affect their businesses. 
  • Many owners no longer wish to sustain efforts and risks that come with their businesses. 
  • Owners who worked remotely during the pandemic got accustomed to more flexible schedules and free time. 
  • Numerous owners nearing retirement are worried about the possibility of higher corporate, personal income, capital gains, and dividend taxes. 
  • Because wealth built up in private companies is not easily converted to cash, some owners have focused on the fact that after-tax proceeds from a sale will last for a long period of time.

So far this year, the largest share of PE deals has taken place in the lower to middle markets, with deals of less than $1 billion making up nearly 70% of all deals. 2021 remains on pace to easily surpass the prior annual record from 2019. At the end of the year, numbers are expected to be even more impressive as investors may hurry to close deals before the year comes to a close. 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

According to the Golub Middle Market Index, U.S. middle-market companies registered 21% revenue growth in the third quarter of this year. In addition, direct lending funds account for most middle-market LBO financing and reached record fundraising levels in the second quarter. 

Add-ons increased as a share of PE deals. Middle-market firms looked to add mid-sized aggregators and sought out M&A deals to expand platforms, diversify the value chain, and embrace ESG principles. 

There was also robust exit activity in the middle market, as valuations were desirable and investor confidence was high. So far this year, the market hosted an estimated 430 exits with a combined value of $87.3 billion. Soaring valuations mean that many GPs meet their investment goals earlier than expected, driving many to cash in on investments ahead of schedule. 

Smaller, strategic exits are dwindling in the hospitality and travel sectors for expected reasons after the pandemic impacts. Middle-market sponsors are holding onto investments in these pandemic-stricken sectors. In the second quarter of 2021, there were almost zero exits of hotels, in-person dining, travel providers, or other related companies. 

Secondary buyouts are also following an upward trend. So far this year, SBOs account for nearly 62% of all middle-market exits. Buyout firms are taking advantage of limited partners’ healthy appetite for private market exposure as well as the record deal activity that enabled firms to fundraise at a very fast pace. While first-time funds and emerging managers put up positive numbers in 2021, some bigger LPs put less investment into large multi-strategy firms or shifted it to new products offered by those with whom they already had a relationship. 

Even amid all this positive activity, middle-market firms in the U.S. are still facing other challenges. While unemployment rates have improved from 2020, there is still a record number of unfilled jobs, causing major labor shortages in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality. These circumstances are causing firms to focus more on deals that acquire key talent and automated technologies that help with employee management and retention. The sector of senior care has been hit particularly hard by labor shortages, which is likely to result in increased consolidation by home care platforms. Additionally, insurance brokerages, wealth management firms, and registered investment advisors (RIAs) all witnessed record M&A activity in the first half of this year. 

PE firms are also pursuing more intricate opportunities to expand lines of business, end-market exposures, and product value chains. Such game-changing add-on acquisitions can be especially effective for vertical software deals because complementary products can be woven into multi-capability platforms to create all-in-one solutions that are good for customer retention.

Deal activity is also being driven by environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) initiatives. ESG has moved into the forefront for businesses this year. Transactions in the renewables market represent middle-market opportunities to grow a platform into a sector leader because of the market’s highly fragmented nature. Firms in the middle market are also pursuing add-on acquisitions to better align their portfolio companies with sustainability initiatives, whether to meet changing consumer sentiment or lower capital costs by lowering carbon emissions.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Coastal Retreats Limited & The Original Cottage Company Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Northumberland-based Coastal Retreats to Norwich-based Original Cottages.

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Benchmark International Named Among The 50 Best Workplaces Of The Year

Benchmark International has been named as one of the 50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2021 by The Silicon Review. The list is handpicked from different areas and recognizes businesses that attract both talent and clientele and stand out with regards to unique and positive company culture.  

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The Benefits of an Effective Seller Transition Period

A very important part of selling your business occurs after the business has been sold. The transition period, also known as the handover period, begins when the exiting owner remains with business for a period of time to assist the new owner with taking control of the company. The transition period should be carefully planned and thought through in order to ensure that it is well executed when the time comes. It can make a great deal of sense to begin working on these details early on in the sale process.

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Benchmark International Wins Several M&A Advisor Awards: Investment Banking Firm Of The Year, M&A Deal Of The Year ($100M-$250M), Professional Services (B2B) Deal Of The Year

Benchmark International won three prestigious awards at the 20th Annual M&A Advisor Awards, presented by The M&A Advisor. The winners were announced at the Gala Ceremony live event held in New York City on November 17, 2021. The awards won by Benchmark International included:

 Investment Banking Firm of the Year

M&A Deal of the Year ($100MM to $250MM)

Professional Services (B2B) Deal of the Year


These awards are known as the Oscars of the M&A world, serving as the industry benchmark for dealmaking excellence, recognizing the leading M&A transactions, restructurings, deal financings, products/services, firms, and professionals. Benchmark International took top billing over other well-known firms such as Raymond James, Goldman Sachs, and KPMG.

Gregory Jackson, CEO of Benchmark International, stated, "We are immensely proud of our team for such honorable achievements. We will continue to pursue only the highest of standards for our clients and to maintain our role as a leader in the world of mergers and acquisitions."

"These awards speak volumes about how much Benchmark International has become game-changers in the middle market. Congratulations to every member of the Benchmark International family who works tirelessly to make sure we shine every day," said Steven Keane, Chairman.

Also weighing in is Dara Shareef, Managing Partner, who said, "This fantastic news is a true testament to the vision, talent, and commitment of everyone at Benchmark International who always goes above and beyond to look out for the best interests of our clients."

Clinton Johnston, Managing Director, also expressed his pride in a statement: "We are delighted with this recognition that demonstrates how highly regarded we are in the M&A space. Our team's hard work and impressive accomplishments deserve to be celebrated."

The M&A Advisor was founded in 1998 with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, and today is the leading organization that recognizes excellence and achievement among the world's leading dealmakers.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Elkay Laboratory Products (UK) Limited and Calibre Scientific, Inc.

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the acquisition of Basingstoke-based Elkay Laboratory Products to Los Angeles-based Calibre Scientific.

Elkay Laboratory Products is a premier distributor of products including liquid handling, specimen collection, storage, biobanking, test tubes, caps and vials, filtration and centrifugation, multi-well plates, and calibration services to a range of domestic and international institutions and organisations. The company’s diversified customer base spans a variety of end markets including clinical, academic, industrial and environmental applications.

Calibre Scientific is a diversified global provider of life science reagents, tools, instruments, and other consumables to the lab research, diagnostics, industrial, and biopharmaceutical communities. Calibre Scientific owns a portfolio of twenty-one life science and diagnostic companies with its global reach extending to over 175 countries. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, the company continues to expand its product offering and global footprint to laboratories across a wide array of verticals and geographies.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

With this acquisition, Calibre Scientific further enhances its overall product offering in the laboratory supplies market and adds a scalable distribution operation to the portfolio.

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Reps and Warranties Insurance is Now Key for Strategic Buyers

Reps and warranties insurance is a policy secured for corporate transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. In recent years, the amount of this type of insurance sold has increased significantly. It covers the indemnification for certain breaches of the representations and warranties in transaction agreements, either partially or in full. Reps and warranties insurance usually doesn’t cover losses for breaches of covenants (other than pre-closing tax indemnification) or purchase price adjustments. 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Swedex UK Limited and Abracs Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of Doncaster-based Swedex UK to York-based Abracs Ltd.

Established in 2003, Swedex UK is a distributor of carbide tipped circular saw blades, sold to other distributors and sawmills throughout the UK. It has an exclusive supplier agreement with Swedex AB, which was founded in 1983 in Mjölby, Sweden, and is a manufacturer of circular saw blades.

Established in 1989, Abracs Ltd are one of the UK’s leading brands of abrasives and power tool accessories. The company holds the UK’s most extensive cross section of PTA products which enables it to cater for virtually all industrial markets. The acquisition of Swedex UK and its exclusive access to Swedex AB’s products will be an excellent addition to complement Abracs' existing product portfolio.

Speaking about working with Benchmark International, ex-Shareholder and Finance Director at Swedex UK, Carol Neal, commented: “Regarding the sale of our company, Benchmark were fantastic! Andrew helped us through the process, advised and assisted us through the maze of legislation and was on hand with any queries we had. Selling our company was never going to be easy, but I dread to think how much more difficult it would have been without Benchmark at our side. Benchmark kept us informed of all potential buyers and the best one with a good offer was found within a short period of time. From the first contact, through advertising and then on to completion everything went smoothly. I would definitely recommend Benchmark to assist you in the sale of your business or company.”

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