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Why 2020 Is The Right Time To Transition A Business

When determining the best time to sell or exit a company, unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball. However, there are several circumstances that should be considered, from fundamental business positions to external influential factors.

The state of the M&A market is among the most significant factors in a decision to sell a business. The market held steady from 2015 to 2017, and optimism skyrocketed in 2018. In 2019, the market dipped slightly but remained strong in deal volume and value, with a wave of multi-billion-dollar megadeals being completed.

While some expect a modest drop in global M&A value in 2020 due to what is perceived as inevitable economic correction after a lengthy, seemingly unstoppable up-cycle, many experts predict that little change is expected due to sustained economic growth, low unemployment, low inflation, high consumer confidence, and strong corporate earnings. Companies still have a need to diversify their portfolios, acquire talent, and innovate technologies in order to stay competitive—all needs that are best addressed through M&A. Also, plenty of capital is available and private equity has amassed the dry powder that can drive larger deals, even in the event of an economic downturn.

Additionally, there is potential for more aggressive M&A strategies earlier in the year to get ahead of a potential downturn and downgrade in valuations. Companies that have proven to perform well during times of recession may be especially appealing targets.

The 2020 U.S. Election

Regarding a potential downturn, one of the major factors that play into the state of this year’s M&A market is the upcoming November 2020 presidential election in the United States and the issue of impeachment of the current president. History indicates that economies typically perform well in election years. However, as uncertainty looms contingent upon the results of the election when it comes to topics such as trade and regulation, acquirers may become hesitant and the M&A market could lose momentum leading up to November, with the market remaining slow in the months following, depending on the election results.

Another matter affected by the election results is capital gains taxes, which is a matter of concern if you are selling a company because how much profit you yield from the sale will be taxable. Some presidential candidates are proposing higher taxation of the highest-income taxpayers’ accrued wealth and income, and this includes capital gains. Most candidates’ plans would tax capital gains at ordinary income rates, with just the very top marginal tax rates varying at incomes of more than $488,850.

The closer the election nears, the more every single day counts. If you hope to sell, the sooner you initiate the process, the better, as most M&A deals take several months.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Brexit

As of January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom is officially no longer part of the European Union, but a second round of negotiations will continue with the goal of reaching a deal by the end of 2020. With lessened political uncertainty now that an initial Brexit deal has been made, there is heightened confidence in deal-making activity. The inability to make a second deal by the end of the year will mean higher costs and barriers to trade.

The Brexit situation is affecting changes to M&A strategies. M&A could be used to secure an operational presence in the EU to maintain access to European markets. M&A could also facilitate access to markets outside the EU. Additionally, some companies could be facing new pressures that can directly impact share prices.  

The Boomer Retirement Wave

While it seems as though we have been talking about it for years, the Baby Boomer generation remains a factor in 2020.

According To Pew Research Center population data, 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 on each day of this year.

In the U.S. alone, Baby Boomers own 2.34 million small businesses, and employ more than 25 million people. This aging ownership pool points to a flood of M&A activity in the lower and middle markets this year, especially in certain sectors such as those that offer professional services.

As this population retires, there will be an increased need for consolidation, succession planning, and exit planning. If Boomers do not properly plan for these scenarios, it could result in an economic crisis that in turn affects millions of jobs. Also, most of these business owners have the majority of their net worth tied up in their company. This means that if the company should lose value, so does the owner’s ability to retire.

The unfortunate reality is that the majority (75%) of owners of small to mid-sized businesses choose to procrastinate and do not have a plan in place. If you are a part of this generation, you should most certainly already have your plans for the future underway. Even if you are not a Boomer and are considering selling, this is the time to get ahead of the massive wave of businesses that are expected to hit the market this year.    

Are You Ready to Sell?

If you are considering selling your business, we encourage you to enlist the expert M&A guidance of Benchmark International’s team to create your growth strategy, exit strategy, or company sale for maximum value. The time to start planning is now.

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Don’t Delay Your Exit Strategy

In the latest to happen in the rollercoaster that is Brexit, another delay has been granted to the UK with EU members agreeing to an extension until the 31st January.

Meanwhile, reports from the EU are warning that economies may be falling into a recession with the potential decline in part due to Brexit, with countries particularly struggling when dependent on exports.

Despite this, M&A activity has not halted as there are still plenty of opportunities as it’s a way for companies to grow and develop and dealmakers are always on the lookout for strategic acquisitions. In fact, while dealmakers may be cautious and their timelines may be extended on deals, the uncertainty caused by Brexit has carved opportunities for dealmakers as they are ready to take advantage of factors such as the weak pound sterling making for cheap UK assets. This has resulted in the corporate mid-market remaining relatively robust with last year’s figures at record highs.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

Therefore, if thinking of an exit strategy the time to act is now before it is too late. Potential recession could be a sign of things to come and while M&A has prospered so far despite Brexit, too many business owners are leaving their planning for Brexit until the last minute to wait for certainty from politicians. If certainty is guaranteed, this could lead to the market becoming saturated once a deal has been agreed or, if uncertainty continues to persist more and more economies could fall into recession – so it’s best to strike while the iron is hot.

Still unsure if now is the best time to sell? Read the below: 

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Q1 2019 – Global Private Equity Deal Values Rise

Private equity has remained robust in the first quarter of 2019, with deal values in the first three months of 2019 showing a quarter-on-quarter rise of 3.6% to US $202.2bn.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

On the flip side, buyout activity did drop marginally; however, take-private transactions conducted by private equity firms reached their highest Q1 value since 2013 – this was driven by the top two buyouts of the year so far – both made by US-based Hellman and Friedman. The private equity firm bought US software developer Ultimate Software Group for US $11.8bn (the fifth largest private equity buyout in the TMT sector on Mergermarket record), as well as making an offer of US $6.4bn for German real estate and automotive digital marketplace, Scout 24.

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With the Brexit Clock Ticking, How is the M&A Market Faring?

Posted on February 19, 2019 By in Brexit + UK M&A

With just under 40 days until Britain is set to leave the EU, doom and gloom is forecast as a potential no deal Brexit looms.

But, when it comes to M&A activity, this is not necessarily the case, as the political environment is doing little to dampen enthusiasm for M&A.

The following are why the UK M&A market is exceeding expectations:

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Tags: Brexit, UK M&A

Positive Year Ahead Anticipated for UK M&A

Posted on January 18, 2019 By in Brexit + UK M&A + Dealmaking + 2019

The UK is expected to be one of the most popular locations for deal activity in 2019, mirroring a successful year in 2018.

Megadeals boosted the value of transactions in 2018 as, while the volume of UK deals only rose slightly, deals such as Japanese-based Takeda Pharmaceutical’s acquisition of UK-based Shire for £62bn saw a 4% increase in transaction value from £291bn the year before.

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What Does the Draft Brexit Deal Mean for Business?

Posted on November 15, 2018 By in Brexit

Yesterday, Theresa May and her cabinet agreed to a draft agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, and it is now pending approval from MPs and the other EU member states.

The agreement hasn’t come without its perils, with a series of resignations, but there are positives for business on the agreement so far.

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Tags: Brexit

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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M&A Meat Processing Sector - Ireland

In spite of the uncertainty surrounding the meat processing sector in Ireland, M&A activity involving participants within the sector has continued apace in 2017, with the conclusion of some notable deals.

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The ‘Urge to Merge’ is Alive and Kicking Globally – With a Trend towards Smaller Deals

In a much-talked-about piece in the New York Times recently, Hernan Cristerna, Co-Head of Global M&A at JP Morgan Chase, diagnosed the global mergers and acquisitions market as alive and very much kicking – in spite of ongoing Brexit anxieties and considerable political uncertainty around the Trump administration.

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Post-Brexit Benefits for Mergers and Acquisitions

Irrespective of the outcome and the eventual deal Britain strikes with the EU, there will be greater uncertainty for businesses in the near-term.

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UK Companies Set For A Rampant 12 Months Of M&A Activity

According to a recent report, UK companies are braced for a surge in deal-making this year, as executives prepare their businesses for life away from the European Union.

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The Mark - Vol.XIV Issue II

Please take a read of our latest edition of THE MARK, Benchmark International's in-house publication which provides readers with a thorough insight into key events within the M&A industry.

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Record 2016 for M&A against all odds

Despite major political disruption from events such as Britain leaving the EU and the election of a new president of the United States, 2016 is gearing up to be the biggest year for M&A deal announcements since 2007.

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Fintech M&A Quells Post-Brexit Fears

Despite uncertainty surrounding Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in June, the British Fintech sector continues to grow and a flurry of M&A activity made last month one of the sector’s busiest months yet.

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Post-Holiday Boost Predicted For M&A

Following a summer of uncertainty post Brexit, investors all over the world are returning from summers spent on the beach, ready to do some serious M&A business to close out the year.

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Can European Tech M&A Weather the Brexit Storm?

The UK and the EU might be in the throes of an acrimonious break-up that has sparked uncertainty in the business world and caused market instability, but there is apparently one sector that seems immune to the problems.

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Sport M&A Scores High

Love it or hate it, sport is everywhere, not only featuring on the back pages of our newspapers, but also dominating the front pages too. The business of sport generates massive revenue – it is estimated the global sports industry is worth almost $600bn, so it is no wonder it has sparked interest from investors over recent years.

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The Post-Brexit Mega Deals Opening The UK For Business

As the Brexit fallout clears from UK politics a new reality has set in. The new Prime Minister, Theresa May, has made it clear that the UK is still open for business. As if to emphasise that fact, only days after her official appointment, one of the UK’s largest and swiftest deals has been announced, demonstrating how the UK has maintained its attractiveness for investment from overseas companies.

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M&A and the Presidential Election

There are few things the M&A market likes less than political uncertainty and, following the results of the EU referendum and Brexit shaking up global markets, there is more to come in the form of the upcoming presidential elections in the US.

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M&A’s Silver Lining for the Brexit Vote

Regardless of which way the referendum goes this week, an end to speculation over the UK's membership of the European Union could pave the way for significant M&A activity across the FTSE All-Share.

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The Impact of the EU Referendum on M&A

The looming EU referendum has undoubtedly created much discussion and debate. While headlines have predominantly focused on two issues. Firstly, whether a Brexit would cause a dip in rates of employment and secondly, the position of influential figures and celebrities in the discussion.

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