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The New Reality and What it Means for Valuation

Is the bull market for privately held companies over? No, that’s not (yet) the reality. But one of the hallmarks of the glorious decade for selling businesses is no more. And unfortunately, many of the acquirers’ gatekeepers weren’t around the last time there was a bull market that looked like this one.

So what is this new normal? Let’s first look at the old normal that we enjoyed from 2010 to 2019 - a nice, slow, smooth macroeconomic recovery. The normalcy of the “teens” allowed small and medium businesses to grow smoothly under ideal conditions. As a result, many businesses experienced near-constant year-over-year growth. And when they’ve failed to do so (or failed to do better), the reasons for the deviation could almost always legitimately be traced directly to some internal event; perhaps the loss of a key salesperson, the launch of a bad enhancement, the lack of ability to pass on an increase in inputs to the customer, or the inability to keep up with a specific competitor.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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A Full or Partial Business Transition: Which is Right For You?

Every company has its own unique circumstances and needs. As a business owner, you can choose from a number of different ways to transition out of your company in a sale or before retirement. When succession planning, you should consider your goals for both the company and your life after the transition, such as financial requirements and how much you want to remain involved in the business. Adequate succession planning ahead of time can also help to create significant value for your company.

A transition of a business can be internal or external. Under an internal transition, the company is usually passed on to the next generation of family or a management team member. In an external transition, a strategic or financial buyer purchases the company, either completely or partially. There is also the option of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which falls somewhere in between an internal and external transition.

Full Business Transition
A complete transition occurs when 100% of company ownership is sold to an investor, such as a strategic buyer or private equity firm. Under a full sale, there is a complete change in ownership control, either as a stock deal or asset purchase. Complete transitions are most often asset purchases because it assuages certain liabilities from the buyer. The owner could be required to stay involved with the business through a transition period that can range from months to years, especially if they are a key part of management.

Business valuations in a full transition are based on competitive negotiations. In many sectors, a multiple of the company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and factors such as size, profitability, industry, customer base, and location. In a complete sale, the seller is often given the majority of transaction proceeds upfront, with the rest paid later through an earn-out or seller note.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Loudon County Rentals & Mini Storage Inc. and Private Equity-Backed Rental Platform

The seller, Loudon County Rentals and Mini Storage has been the premier equipment rental destination for over 28 years in East Tennessee. Their extensive selection and dedication to providing the right tools and equipment their customers need to get the job done are above and beyond the industry standard.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Warnock Tanner & Associates and Computech

The seller, Warnock Tanner & Associates, has been operating a successful IT services/management company for over 25 years.  WTA Consulting’s customers range in size from small local businesses to Fortune 500 businesses.  WTA specialized in Complete Consulting, Development & Implementation Services for Oracle Primavera.

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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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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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The Myth Behind Multiples: How Buyers Really Value a Business

A topic common to the mergers and acquisitions market is the measure known as the business valuation multiple. This method determines a company’s value by its potential to earn in the future. It calculates a business’s highest value by assigning a multiplier figure to its current revenue. Multipliers differ based on the industry, economic climate, and other factors. There are a few ways in which multiples can be applied. Common multiple methods include:

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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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High Net Worth Retirement Planning Tips

You’ve proven you are an expert at running a successful business, and you know how to make money. But are you an expert when it comes to retirement? There are certain financial factors that high-net-worth individuals should consider leading up to retirement.  

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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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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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15 of The Most Luxurious Hotels in The World

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is settling into our rearview mirrors, so many of us have been itching to get out there to enjoy an indulgent vacation and a much-deserved change of scenery. So, here you will find a list of some of the most luxurious hotels in the world (in no particular order) to help you start planning your next beautiful adventure or a quiet escape from it all.

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Why Companies Need Mergers and Acquisitions

There are many reasons that mergers and acquisitions are critical tools for companies of all sizes, some of which may not even be fully realized by business owners. Ultimately, it’s all about achieving positive results for the business by making strategic moves that make sense, all depending upon what the fundamental goal (or goals) may be. For companies in the lower to middle market, M&A can be an extremely effective solution for a variety of purposes.

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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.”

 

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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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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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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 Design Environments and Boston Trade Interior Solutions

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Marietta, Georgia-based Design Environments, and Boston Trade Interior Solutions, with offices in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Design Environments is a nationally renowned interior design firm specializing in the interior architecture and merchandising of model homes, clubhouses, and amenity/sales facilities throughout the United States. The company was founded in 1991 by CEO Donna DeLuca, who has grown the firm into a national leader in delivering high-quality design services.

Regarding the transaction, Ms. DeLuca stated, “The whole Design Environments team is very excited about the opportunities this combination presents. We strongly believe that Boston Trade will make a great partner in our continued growth and expansion.”

 

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Acquirer Boston Trade is a national leader in renovation, conversion, and new-build projects for the hotel and hospitality industry. The company’s focus on design-forward interior environments that exceed their clients’ economic, aesthetic, and functional requirements aligns perfectly with Design Environments’ long track record of service excellence to similar client sets.

The acquisition is backed by Blackford Capital of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a leading private equity firm in the lower middle market with over $650 million in transaction value and 35 acquisitions at the time of the Design Environments acquisition.

Boston Trade CEO Greg Kadens remarked, “We are thrilled to add such a prestigious and well-respected company to our portfolio. Design Environments is so well run that we can immediately focus on the opportunities created by combining it with our hotel interior design and procurement business. Donna’s leadership throughout the years has brought the company to this point, and we look forward to continuing to work with her as we strive to provide industry-leading services and solutions to our clients.”

This transaction reflects the power of Benchmark’s International’s proprietary “Fingerprint” process, which focuses on each client's unique value proposition when going to market. Regarding the Design Environments transaction, Benchmark International Transaction Director William Sullivan stated, “Our client’s goals and values were highly aligned with the buyer we sourced for them. From the leadership tier of the acquiring firm to the fund partners backing the deal, a shared vision was clear from the start. We are very proud of the role that Benchmark International played in the process.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between The Fox Consulting Group, Inc and SIB Fixed Cost Reduction

Benchmark International facilitated the transaction of The Fox Consulting Group, Inc to SIB Fixed Cost Reduction.

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Why Leveraged Buyouts Are Making A Huge Comeback

The last time we saw leveraged buyouts (LBOs) occur with such frenzied speed and spending, it was during the years of 2006 and 2007, right before the financial crisis of 2008. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, interest rates remain low, and many business owners forced into survival mode are seeking exit opportunities. Plus, private equity firms are more than ready to spend the record levels of cash on which they have been sitting for quite some time.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between an Undisclosed Client and Patrol Protect Secure, Inc.

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that their client, a vehicle patrol security company in select neighborhoods to both residential and commercial properties on the West Coast, sold to Patrol Protect Secure, Inc (PPS).

  • The acquisition was PPS’s fourth investment in the U.S. security industry. The value of this addition to PPS includes:
  • Partnering with a long-tenured, energetic management team will be a force multiplier for the PPS team.
  • Expanding the geographic footprint to include the West Coast market.
  • The company’s vehicle patrol services are staffed by off-duty law enforcement officers, a segment of the security market where we have had much success, driven by market demand and the desire to staff armed functions with highly-trained law enforcement officers.
  • The partnership provided ongoing leadership roles and opportunities for its management team while allowing one of the leaders to take a step back and transition into a part-time role, consistent with his goals.

PPS is backed by Sunlake Capital LLC and Mangrove Equity Partners. Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, Mangrove and Sunlake Capital worked closely with this add-on and Benchmark International’s transaction team to close the transaction with a straightforward structure.

 

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Sunlake Capital LLC is a private investment firm focused on flexible, long-term investments in family and entrepreneur-owned companies with a sustainable competitive advantage. With diverse capital relationships, Sunlake is able to devote its resources to the operations and strategy of its portfolio of businesses. The firm further differentiates itself through its long-term investment style, unique management partnership approach, and focus on industries and situations often under-served by the private equity community.

Mangrove Equity Partners is a private equity fund in the lower middle market that leverages its extensive experience creating solutions and getting deals done. Mangrove’s four-person internal operating team allows them to work through the complexity and help the owner/operators build enduring value. Mangrove has completed 140+ deals in 60+ industries.

Kendall Stafford, Benchmark International Managing Partner, commented, “We are very excited for our client and the team at PPS, Sunlake Capital, and Mangrove Equity. Based on our client’s goals and the buyer’s position in the market, our team anticipated that there could be a strong fit between the various companies. We discussed the acquisition with the acquirers before going back. Once we went to market and our client had additional options for potential acquirers, it was clear that the cultural fit between the parties and the deal being offered was a great solution for our client.”

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How Your Company Can Benefit From Cross-border M&A

Growing a company once it has reached a certain plateau of success can be challenging. Mergers and acquisitions are a powerful tool for boosting the growth of an existing company—especially cross-border M&A. As a business owner, you should consider the different ways your company can benefit from an international deal.

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Can It Be Too Early To Put My Business On The Market?

Timing the sale of a company can certainly be a tricky decision. You don’t want to sell too soon, and you don’t want to sell too late either. In both scenarios, you risk leaving money on the table if the timing isn’t right. So what is a business owner to do?

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Why 2021 Is A Seller’s Market

A Seller’s Market Versus a Buyer’s Market

In a seller's M&A market, excess demand for assets that are in limited supply gives sellers more power when it comes to pricing. Such demand can be generated and galvanized by circumstances that include a strong economy, lower interest rates, high cash balances, and solid earnings. Other factors that can instill confidence in buyers—leading to more bidders willing to pay a higher purchase price—include strong brand equity, significant market share, innovative technology, and streamlined distributions that are difficult to emulate or recreate from scratch.

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How Do I Get The Most Out Of My SaaS Company?

As the owner of a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, there are several strategic steps you can implement in order to drive growth and maximize the value of your business.

1. Expand Geographically

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Benchmark International's Steven Keane Named Chairman of the Year

The Benchmark International team is proud to announce that our chairman, Steven Keane, has been named International Chairman of the Year in the 2021 Global Business Awards given by Corp Today Magazine.

London-based Corp Today is a business enterprise magazine that focuses on emerging businesses and the world’s leading and fastest-growing companies, as well as their style of doing business and manner of delivering effective and collaborative solutions to strengthen market share. Their reader base consists of 138,000 C-level executives, VPs, Consultants, VCs, managers, and advisors.

The publication’s dedicated team of in-house researchers handpicked all of the 2021 winners based on merit and not popularity. Their stated goal is to recognize the best in the business.

We salute Steven for earning this prestigious recognition, as he certainly deserves it. CEO Gregory Jackson stated, “Steven’s exceptional leadership is a testament to the greatness that our company continually aspires to achieve, never settling for anything less than the very best. It’s just how we are wired at Benchmark International. Congratulations, Steven.”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Houston Crating, Inc. and MEI Rigging & Crating

Benchmark International’s client Houston Crating, Inc., a Houston, Texas-based Specialty Export Crating & Packing Company, has successfully sold to MEI Rigging & Crating.

Established by Ray Lubojasky in 1994, Houston Crating, Inc., a provider of crating and export packing services to the energy and logistics industries.

The seller stated regarding the process, “I have been very satisfied with Benchmark’s excellent service throughout this sales process, and I appreciate the hard work and professionalism offered by the Benchmark team.”

MEI Rigging & Crating, a portfolio company of Dorilton, was founded in the early 1990s and has grown to one of the largest providers of rigging, machinery moving, millwrighting, mechanical installation, commercial storage, crating, and export packing services in the US. With thousands of customers served, over 30 years of experience, and ten locations across the country, MEI is driven by its corporate vision of excellence, market leadership, and enduring value. MEI has a growing team of over 450 employees in 10 offices across the United States.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

Dorilton is a private investment firm that invests in businesses across a range of industry sectors, working in partnership with management to grow value over the long term. By providing funding and expertise to drive growth, Dorilton helps its companies and their people achieve their full potential.

Dan Cappello, the CEO and President of MEI, made the announcement: “We are delighted to grow the MEI-Houston team and enhance our service offering through this combination. MEI and HCI have performed joint work on customer projects in the past, and we see HCI’s professional approach and focus on safety as a great fit with our organization.”

Transaction Director Amy Alonso commented on the transaction, “We enjoyed working with Houston Crating to achieve a successful outcome on behalf of our client. Our client had several offers to choose from but felt that MEI was the best fit for the company, its employees, and its customers. We continue to see strong demand for acquisitions within the exporting and logistics space and have several bidders on standby. We hope that integration goes smoothly for the companies and look forward to seeing the combined companies have a strong future.”

 

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Selling Your Company? Beware Of Strangers Bearing Gifts

If you are considering selling your company, you should be aware of a certain menace that could have you in its crosshairs. There are direct buyers out there who intentionally prey on business owners, attempting to acquire a company by blindsiding its owner with big promises and, more importantly, taking advantage of their lack of guidance from a seasoned M&A professional. These buyers purposely look to avoid competition for a company because competition drives valuations higher, and they want to make an acquisition on the cheap—in addition to other shady maneuvers.

Bait & Switch
Some buyers will attempt to pull “bait & switch” tactics. To initially intrigue a seller, the buyer will present a high dollar amount. As they conduct due diligence and get the target more and more committed to the deal, they begin chipping away at the value until they reach a price and terms that are far more favorable for the buyer. This is typically an exhausting process for the seller and can lead to plenty of regret. If the deal falls apart, the seller may be reluctant to restart the process with another buyer, thinking the process will just be the same. In reality, it could have been completely different for the seller if they had a reputable M&A specialist on their side from the beginning.

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Benchmark International Facilitated the Transaction of CPR Plus, LLC to Allied 100, LLC

On April 30th, 2021, Benchmark International facilitated the sale of CPR Plus, LLC (serving the Greater St. Louis area) to Allied 100, LLC of Madison, WI.

The seller, CPR Plus, provides life-saving skills training to more than 100,000 individuals for close to 30 years in the St. Louis area. Their comprehensive and convenient CPR training courses are accredited by the American Heart Association and administered by friendly instructors with extensive experience.

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Benchmark International Named International Mid-Market Corporate Finance Advisory Of The Year

In the GAMECHANGERS (ACQ5) 2021 GLOBAL AWARDS, Benchmark International has been named the International Mid-Market Corporate Finance Advisory of The Year.

The ACQ is a leading corporate news publication serving the sector since 2003, with a global audience of more than 261,000 subscribers. The GAMECHANGERS (ACQ5) GLOBAL AWARDS celebrate achievement, innovation and brilliance, recognizing the most outstanding organizations and professionals in the world. 

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M&A Expectations After The Covid-19 Pandemic

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic slowed M&A deal activity overall in 2020. According to data from PitchBook, more than 2,000 transactions closed for a value of $336.8 billion in Q2 of last year. That represents a 41 percent decline in the number of deals from Q1. Yet, deals did pick up in the second half of the year, which is likely to continue, as businesses are poised for improved economic conditions that leave COVID-19 in the rearview mirror.

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The Importance Of Being “Sale Ready”

As a business owner, maybe you haven’t given much thought to selling your company. Or maybe you’ve bounced the idea around but not too seriously. It’s pretty common for business owners to think, “I have years before I plan on selling my business. Why would I worry about that now?” Well, here’s the thing. Life is unpredictable. Just look at how prepared the world was for the COVID-19 pandemic. We think it’s safe to say that no business owner was prepared for that.

But being prepared for the unexpected isn’t the only reason that it is important to have your business in “sale ready” shape at all times, even if you’re not ready to sell. If the company is not in ready condition, it could cost you financially. And it goes beyond that. Always operating your company as if you are ready to sell accomplishes several very beneficial objectives. It ensures that you are operating at peak performance with a focus on profitability at all times, and it helps you avoid being too late to the game to make the necessary changes to be ready to sell. A person’s priorities in life can change quickly or even gradually over a span of years, and you might not have the time to correct any issues that would impact the valuation of your company and, ultimately, its sale price. It’s important to remember that properly preparing a company to go to market can take years. When push comes to shove, if you end up in a situation where you need to sell, not being ready can be a costly mistake.   

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Benchmark International Facilitated The Transaction Of Nova Engineering And A High Net Worth Individual

NOVA Engineering, Inc. is a State of California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE), a State of California Small Business Enterprise (SBE), a City of San Diego Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE), and a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). NOVA Engineering offers the experience of a unique team that brings the enthusiasm and energy of a seasoned firm, tempered by the high level of skill and professional relationships that can only be built through long-term experience. NOVA Engineering provides professional consulting services, including planning, civil engineering, surveying, and stormwater services for San Diego County in California.

NOVA’s team brings extensive experience in providing property, construction, and topographic engineering and surveying services to the San Diego market. They provide responsive, professional service, which has earned them the privilege of working with many clients time and time again.

The high net worth individual that acquired the firm is the principal engineer of two Southern California based consulting firms offering civil engineering, surveying, and planning services. The acquisition of NOVA Engineering allows the acquirer to consolidate the practices to offer a more comprehensive suite of services to the greater San Diego Metropolitan Area.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

In reference to the transaction, Danny Barnett, President of NOVA Engineering, explained his experience with Benchmark International, “Benchmark International was a huge help in brokering the sale of our company. From the front end marketing to the back end deal closing, the deal team was constantly in communication about new buyer interest and providing suggestions based on their breadth of deal experience. Most importantly, they were reachable. Every phone call and email we sent was always answered in the same day.”

Sam Stallings, Associate at Benchmark International, stated, “Our client continued to stress the importance of the acquirer’s cultural fit with NOVA Engineering as it was a top priority for our client to be confident that the firm would be left in good hands. Like many business owners within the lower-middle market, NOVA Engineering wanted to ensure that the clients, company, and employees would continue to work with a firm that shares the same vision and values as NOVA Engineering. Our talented deal team quickly sought out a buyer motivated by the client’s footprint and reputation in Southern California. The team’s achievement in identifying a strong cultural fit and seeking an above average multiple for our client is the culmination of tireless teamwork and relentless pursuit of preeminence in the marketplace. We are excited for both parties and wish them the best of luck with their future endeavors.”

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