Before completing a deal, buyers may conduct a variety of different research on a seller’s business to better understand its complexities of it prior to due diligence. This research is an important step to ensuring that due diligence is carried out. Business research occurs in a variety of different ways.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Delta Outsource Group, Inc and Indebted
Benchmark International facilitated the transaction between Delta Outsource Group, Inc and Australian-based InDebted enabling their access into the American market.
The seller, Delta Outsource Group, Inc, has been providing professional and compliant receivables solutions in the U.S. since 2009. The owners of Delta set out to create a collections agency where performance, respect, and communication would put them ahead of the industry’s curve. After accomplishing this, Delta became a viable target.
“While the process was longer than we thought, Benchmark did a good job of advising us of our options and guiding us through the sale process,” said Michael Lages, President & CFO.
The buyer, InDebted, is an Australian-based digital, data-driven collection agency. They have built a collections platform that seeks to empower the financial fitness of their customers.
John Watson, incoming CEO of Delta commented regarding the deal, “After facilitating the introduction of Delta and InDebted and outlining the desired transaction structure, Benchmark did a good job of allowing the principles to work directly with each other to maximize the efficiency of the process.”
Regarding the deal completion, Transaction Director Matthew Kekelis at Benchmark International commented, “The Delta team stuck through a multiple offer situation with many ups and downs along the way. Ultimately, it was a terrific result with both buyer and seller very pleased with the outcome.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC and Park Associates, PLLC
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company and Park Associates, PLLC.
Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC is a public accounting firm that provides audit, review, taxation, and compilation services. It serves a variety of clients, including businesses and individuals but specializes in providing auditing services for nonprofit and governmental entities. Whether a company needs tax preparation help or regular accounting services, their team can tame clients’ unwieldy finances.
Company owner, Tommy Nelson of Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC commented regarding the transaction, “My experience with Benchmark International was excellent. They did a wonderful job in preparing the marketing material. Many prospects commented on the professional presentation of the information. The marketing team provided us with several prospects, which culminated in a successful transaction. I would highly recommend the use of Benchmark’s services.”
Park & Associates, PLLC is a full-service Tax, Accounting, and Business Management firm based in Houston, Los Angeles, and Richmond. Established in 2000, their seasoned professionals have provided quality, personalized financial guidance to individuals and businesses. Some of their services include, financial and retirement planning, audit services, business setup and restructuring, and estate and trust planning.
Regarding the deal, Transaction Director Peter Kim at Benchmark International commented, “Our engagement with Scott, Singleton, Fincher & Company, PC was about building a confident future for our client, Tommy Nelson. Our talented deal team sought out a buyer motivated by the client’s footprint in the DFW metro area, reputation in the profession and quality of accounts. We serviced the entire deal from beginning to end with the ideas of max value as well as the client’s motivation of family in mind. Our achievement in both objectives are the culmination of tireless teamwork and relentless pursuit of preeminence in the marketplace.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction between Advantage Plastics of New York and an Affiliate of Orchard Creek Capital
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Advantage Plastics of New York and Sherri Plastics (Advantage Plastics), to an affiliate of Orchard Creek Capital.
Advantage Plastics specializes in thermoforming a variety of plastic products across numerous industries. Specialties include vacuum forming, CNC trimming, laser cutting, and laser engraving. The company works with a wide array of materials, including ABS, HDPE, Acrylic, and PVC.
Owner, John Salva with Advantage Plastics commented regarding the deal completion, "The team at Benchmark really stepped up and took care of all of us. It was important to us that we find a buyer that would compensate us for our life's work, as well as value our wonderful team of employees."
Orchard Creek Capital is an investment company based in Northville, Michigan that invests in small manufacturing businesses across the United States. Their investment focus is on successful companies with established track records and solid growth prospects. In 2018, Orchard Creek acquired a plastic injection molding company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Acquiring Advantage Plastics brings additional assets in the plastics space.
Senior Transaction Associate Sunny Yang Garten at Benchmark International commented, “It was a pleasure to represent Advantage Plastics in this transaction. We’re excited to see that the legacy will be preserved and enhanced through this transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”
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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between DevelopScripts LLC and Awection Inc
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between DevelopScripts LLC and Awection Inc, a SaaS company in the Dallas, Texas market. Awection Inc is the most recent business endeavor undertaken by entrepreneur, Alex Guiva.
DevelopScripts is a Texas-based company that offers a white-label, subscription-based digital platform allowing users to organize, manage, and conduct auctions through a centralized medium facilitating business transactions as well as fundraising efforts. The company also provides peer-to-peer marketplaces for e-commerce platforms. The Company serves customers in the automotive, equipment, pet, liquidation services, collectibles, event planning, and other industries. DevelopScripts’ founder, Rajesh Rajaram, has built a unique platform in the auction software category and successfully expanded his customer base and offerings year after year.
Mr. Rajaram commented regarding the deal, “Benchmark International really pulled their weight in getting this deal done. I was very impressed by every team member’s tenacity to get this deal across the finish line. Most importantly, the Benchmark team always took the time to listen to my concerns and feedback and were open to working on this deal with my best interests in mind. Benchmark International ultimately found the perfect partner to escalate the Company’s growth and take DevelopScripts to the next level.”
Alex Guiva, President of Awection Inc, has been growing businesses for over 20 years and is experienced in a wide array of industries. He said in relation to the deal, “Having closed over 30 transactions, I can attest that it is rare to find an intermediary as knowledgeable as Benchmark International. They truly focused on the important aspects of deal making and consistently made an effort to get to the finish line without creating disruptions for the organization during the process.”
Benchmark International’s Transaction Director Luis Vinals stated, “Working with a client like Rajesh is like working with the American Dream. Rajesh has such a rich and interesting story, which was a joy to learn about. Throughout the entire process, Rajesh was communicative and collaborative. With the Benchmark International team by his side, Rajesh was able to procure the deal he desired that would allow him to meet his personal and business objectives. Open communication allowed us to have strategic conversations that ultimately led to our team finding the ideal cultural fit for our client.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Oasis Water Holdings (PTY) LTD and Both Fledge Capital (PTY) LTD & SLA Capital (PTY) LTD
Benchmark International is pleased to have successfully facilitated the transaction between Oasis Water Holdings (PTY) LTD and both Fledge Capital (PTY) LTD & SLA Capital (PTY) LTD.
Oasis Water (PTY) LTD (Oasis) is a franchise group that provides clean water to retailers, corporations, end-users, and mines. The franchise operations are of various sizes, ranging from full bottling plants to small retail outlets and in-store kiosks, located across South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. This well-known and highly regarded brand has a reputation for quality products at affordable prices, in easy-to-reach locations. A contract bottling plant and owned spring water source expand the supply chain offering.
Naas du Preez, the CEO of the Oasis Water Group was quoted saying “Our solid network of more than 300 franchised Oasis Water outlets in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia (RO3 Water) is the ideal springboard for further expansion and our Value-Unlock Growth Strategy. With the added value and vast experience of Fledge Capital and SLA Capital, we can unlock our full potential.”
Fledge Capital is an independent investment company that provides capital solutions to private companies across a wide range of industries that meet its investment criteria. It prefers to provide capital to companies with proven business models and leading management teams to grow those businesses. Current investee companies include WeBuyCars, King Price, BetterBond, Safari Outdoor, Atterbury Properties, etc.
Bolstered by the positive significance of the transaction for the South African M&A industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Andre Bresler the Managing Director at Benchmark International, added “It is genuinely gratifying to see such an impressive business attract two reputable growth partners and to conclude a value-oriented deal for all parties concerned.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated The Acquisition Of Credex Systems, Inc. by Valsoft Corporation, Inc.
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Credex Systems, Inc. (Credex) by Valsoft Corporation, Inc. (Valsoft). Credex is a vertical software solution that offers loan origination and servicing software. The cradle-to-grave software solution originates and administrates a loan throughout its existence, serving financial entities and their client base. Valsoft acquires and develops vertical market software companies, enabling each business to deliver the best mission-critical solutions for customers in their respective industry or niche. A key tenet of Valsoft’s philosophy is to invest in well-established businesses and foster an entrepreneurial environment that shapes a company into a leader in its respective industry. Unlike private equity and VC firms, Valsoft does not have a predefined investment horizon and looks to buy, hold, and create value through long-term partnerships with existing management and customers.
Michael Lightfoot, President and owner of Credex said “The sale of Credex to Valsoft was a quick process that took a number of turns during diligence. Throughout the engagement with Benchmark, the team acted as true advisor helping to walk me through each step of the process, and maintain the majority of my attention on running Credex on a day-to-day basis. I also appreciate the speed and transparency Valsoft operated with, allowing to move from first interest to a deal closing within 5 months.”
Chris Malouf, Associate of Mergers & Acquisitions at Valsoft, said “We are thrilled to have completed the acquisition of Credex. Pairing Michael’s expertise with our firm’s resources will allow us to seamlessly enter this market. We have plans to continue backing Michael Lightfoot as President of Credex and lead the charge for Valsoft’s expansion into loan origination and servicing.”
Benchmark International Associate Transaction Director David Steverson stated, “We’re extremely excited for Michael Lightfoot, the Credex family, and the Valsoft team. This transaction allows Valsoft to maintain their investment thesis while entering a new market, loan origination and servicing. Partnering Credex’ product offering with Valsoft’s industry knowledge and wealth of resources will allow Credex to develop into a prominent player within this market.”
Benchmark International, has facilitated the sale of Integrated Legacy Solutions, LLC (“ILS”) to NXTsoft, LLC (“NXTsoft”).
Benchmark International M&A specialist, Benchmark International, has facilitated the sale of Integrated Legacy Solutions, LLC (“ILS”) to NXTsoft, LLC (“NXTsoft”).
Based in Trussville, Alabama, ILS offers image and data conversion migration technology for the financial services industry. The company specializes in data management through one of three methods: full data conversion into a new system, data migration into its flagship OmniView Browser™ or a blended approach that combines the two.
NXTsoft, located in Birmingham, AL, is concentrated in risk management, including solutions in cybersecurity, compliance, and data analytics. Like ILS, several of NXTsoft’s portfolio companies also provide high quality software solutions serving financial institutions. NXTsoft is backed by a team with a 25-year track record of successful technology start-ups.
ILS founder, Kris Bishop commented, “I would like to thank the Benchmark International team for their dedication and persistence. Their team and hands on approach provided excellent marketing documents, broad coverage across various types of prospective buyers, and resulted in multiple offers over the term of our engagement”
Leo VanderSchuur, Director at Benchmark International, stated, “It was a pleasure to represent ILS, Kris Bishop and Jason Alfano in this transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we are extremely pleased with the outcome. Allowing both the seller and acquirer to prosper and benefit is always an ideal end result.”READ MORE >>
The decision to sell your business can be incredibly difficult. In addition to the financial capital you have invested in your company, you have incurred an intangible amount of “sweat equity, through the hard work spent building your business and the natural emotional investment made in the company. That’s why, once the decision to sell has been made, it is imperative that proper preparation is put in place to ensure your goals are met once your company is brought to market. Owners who approach exit planning systematically and methodically are more likely to maximize the value of their business and sell on their own terms.
The primary factor influencing a company’s value is its earnings. It is essential that the company’s financials present potential buyers with a clear story, allowing them to fully evaluate the company’s production. Presenting your business as efficient, with solid cash flows, a clean balance sheet, and low expense requirements, will position it as an attractive acquisition. There are several steps a business owner can take when reassessing their financials.
First, small private companies’ income statements are typically geared towards minimizing the company’s taxable net income. Although beneficial to the business owner, this approach is counterproductive in the context of a sale. As such, discretionary expenses that are not critical to operations and have not, or will not, impact revenues should be identified and eliminated. This could include owner/shareholder expenses, family-member salaries, fringe benefits or exorbitant perks, and extraordinary one-time expenses. Not only will this exercise maximize net income, but it will also present a normalized picture of the business to acquirers.
Second, organizing your balance sheet is key in preparing for a transaction. Sellers should remove all assets unrelated to their business from the balance sheet, as well as identify excess assets that could be converted to cash without adversely impacting the business. A buyer will not be interested in paying for excess inventory and, as such, this presents an opportunity for the seller to increase the total yield from the sale.
Third, it is important that a seller fully understands the company’s working capital before engaging a buyer. Working capital is often a point of negotiation between the buyer and seller. Buyers expect to receive a “normal” level, and often use low amounts of working capital to drive down the total cash paid at close. Managing working capital requires both time and effort, but it can result in greater efficiency and can lower the total level of working capital buyers expect to have delivered.
Lastly, the reliability of a company’s financial statements is critical in influencing a buyer’s decision. It is recommended that, before going to market, a seller contracts an independent accounting firm to review or audit their company’s financial statements. This will ensure the company is presented in an accurate manner, and will instill a sense of confidence in potential buyers, resulting in a greater level of trust and better valuations.
A company’s operations are just as important as financials. Potential buyers will seek to comprehensively understand the business practices behind a company’s earnings. A well-run business, with efficient operations, and good growth prospects will appear more attractive to any buyer. Unfortunately, businesses often have operational issues that could jeopardize a transaction. It is necessary for sellers to identify these issues before going to market and, in any case where the issue cannot be resolved, prepare to address it in a forthright manner.
For example, although a company’s clientele is not directly reflected in its financial statements, a company’s book of clients is a critical point of examination for a buyer. An ideal business has a broad customer base with little customer concentration. Dependency on a limited number of large customers could significantly reduce the marketability of a company. In these cases, it is important that the seller address this issue head on by either diversifying the company’s clientele before going to market, or developing a narrative to mitigate this issue and reassure buyers.
Additionally, a business owner’s level of involvement in the company is an important factor to buyers. They are acquiring the business, not the seller. As such, buyers will want to see a strong supporting management team, indicating the business will continue to be successful long after the owner has left. As a business owner prepares to go to market, it is key that they evaluate their role in business operations and implement a succession plan.
Lastly, it is imperative that a business owner continues to grow revenues, as well as develop a realistic growth strategy. Buyers are purchasing the current and future cash flows of the business; historical growth, as well as a growth strategy with expansion opportunities, provides a blueprint for what’s to come. Presenting buyers with growth plans that are reasonable and achievable validates the credibility of management, and demonstrating that credibility through continued revenue growth illustrates the quality of the business.
For many business owners, selling a business happens once in a lifetime. When dealing with such a monumental event, a little more preparation today is certainly worth the added value tomorrow. Proper planning and advanced preparation is critical in order to maximize the value of your business and the probability of closing a transaction. Additionally, advice from seasoned professionals can provide you with savings and add significant value. At Benchmark International, we are proud to provide world-class mergers and acquisitions services, and we work hard to ensure your company’s value is maximized and your business is sold on your terms.
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The dream of running your own business was once a thrill that filled you with excitement. Perhaps, it was the idea of being your own boss fueled the passion behind your drive, or the prospect of providing a new product to a targeted market. Whatever the case may be, you’ve made it to this point in time right now because something is different (hence, why you are reading this article).
Maybe business is great, you’ve reached a plateau or your company is in decline. Irrelevant of the situation you aren’t fired up about your company like you used to be and you no longer have the same passion for your company that used to be there or, in the worst case, you feel like it is killing you! Your dedication to your business seems to be affecting your personal life and your health, whether it be mental or physical, in a negative way. Going to work each day is getting tougher and tougher, a dreaded obligation, and you feel like your tank is running on empty.
When your personal life and your health are in decline, it’s probably time to explore your exit strategy options. The first step you need to take when you reach this point is to open up conversations with a sell-side mergers and acquisitions team who can help you determine what those options are. Starting the discussion now will allow you to have a better “diagnosis”, but here are some flags to look for if you aren’t sure if now is the time to contemplate an exit:
1) You’re spending too much time on back-office and administrative tasks– Most business owners who find themselves in this situation have driven their company to success and have a very nice company, having it from nothing at all. The reality is that owners do this as the primary visionary who pushes business development and sales. Truthfully, there is seldom an employee who can deliver the passion and expertise for your company than you can. Over time as a company grows, many owners fall prey to becoming employees themselves who are constantly focused on obligations such as managing people, processing payroll, dealing with HR issues, keeping up with regulations, etc. which confines them to an internal office desk job. If you are finding yourself in a this situation or similar, you aren’t the only one and there are many ways to revive your daily routine that a mergers and acquisitions team can share with you.
2) You feel like you’re “married” to your business and are contemplating a divorce – Starting a business that you expect to last for the long run is a commitment. You have to be prepared for ups and downs all along the way. As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change. As your business will change, so will your personal life, your priorities and your focus.It can be hard to take a step back from the business because it requires so much of your time and attention. You don’t want your business to fail, but you also don’t want your personal life to suffer at its expense. Having a family, or missing out on life’s small moments repeatedly, can make you reevaluate your priorities. If you find yourself being at the business more than at your home, it’s probably time to start the exit conversation and learn more about your options.
3) Your Business has Grown Substantially and You Can’t Keep Up with the Demand – This appears to be a good problem to have, but in reality, if you can’t keep up with your business, then the business is walking a thin line between failure and success. Likewise, you are probably coming to your maximum height of stress too. So, what do you do? Being able to understand that you don’t know what you don’t know is key to catapulting your business further into success. Any one person can only do so much. At some point, you need to assess how you can be of more value to your business. If your value lies in innovation and new ideas related to the service you provide or expanding your footprint, but you can’t produce your products or deliver your services fast enough, or if you aren’t spending enough time on innovation because you’re busy on making sure your current client pool is satisfied … you are losing money, and your business will decline. The business you have grown from the ground up deserves to reach its full potential and there are many paths there.
4) You Daydream About the Day When You Won’t Have to Work Anymore – Running your business has become a chore. You are constantly one foot in the door, even when you’re home. You’ve reached that point where it just feels like your life is your business, and retirement on white sandy beaches sounds more and more intriguing. Being a business owner isn’t a walk in the park, and you need a plan in place, so when those retirement dreams start flooding your mind, you can put your plan into motion.
If you have come to a point in your business where you feel like it is constant stress and you have no relief, then it’s probably time to sit down with a sell-side mergers and acquisitions specialist like Benchmark International and discuss your exit strategy options. There are a vastly more avenues you can explore that will relieve you from the status quo that will allow you to continue pursuing your personal and financial goals while ensuring the legacy of your company remains intact and that your employees will continue to be taken care of.READ MORE >>
If you are considering selling your business, it is important to dedicate some thought to the type of sale that best allows you achieve your goals. Do you believe a full sale where you walk away from the company after closing is best for you? Are you the type of person who would work well with a strategic partner that, together, will allow for accelerated company growth? Is there an amount of time you would like to continue working after the transaction with a plan to slowly exit over time? Determining the type of sale that appears the most attractive (I only say ‘appears’ because many owners change their mind after learning what the market has to offer and will find a more attractive sale type than what was initially assumed to be the ‘best’) will also allow you to gain an understanding for the most likely type of buyer.
When selling your business, buyers typically fall into two main categories: strategic buyers and financial buyers. The best type of buyer for your business depends on personal goals you hope to achieve from the sale.
This type of buyer is more likely to pay a premium for a business because their reason for the acquisition is to add to their already existing business. A strategic buyer can be a competitor, supplier or vendor in the same industry. A strategic buyer can also be a focused on businesses of similar model that service the same sector. These attributes are commonly referred to as vertical and horizontal markets, respectively. Using what your company has to offer can help them either expand their footprint or break into a new market.
They are looking for synergies in a prospective merger or acquisition. Synergies are characteristics of the two companies that compliment each other, so that when they are put together, the sum equals more than the two parts individually. In other words, a strategic buyer wants to have a relationship that makes the resulting business more valuable than the two businesses when they stand on their own.
Finding a strategic buyer to work with your business will give you more options in a sale. You can decide to stay on with your business for a transition period, while the new company takes over and for an integration period, eventually allowing you to exit completely, or you can negotiate your continued role in the business as a key player in its continued development.
A strategic buyer can often outbid a financial buyer because of the synergistic relationship they are looking to create in your business. Your businesses together yield increased value, sometimes exponentially, in one way or another.
A financial buyer is looking to invest capital to get a return on their investment. Basically, they want to buy your business outright, make profits from it, and then sell it again to create liquidity. For this reason, a financial buyer is not typically willing to invest the same amount of capital they can invest into your business because they are not adding your business to an already existing company of theirs. Instead, they are buying your company as a whole and working with what you have in place already.
A financial buyer doesn’t have the ability to cut on backend costs that a strategic buyer does. They will need to buy a company with a good working structure and management team in place, since they may not be bringing a team of their own to take over all areas of the business. This allows owners to stay involved with their business to help it grow until the financial buyer decides it’s time to sell again.
The benefit to using a financial buyer is knowing that there is a high growth model in place for your business, and you will most likely play a role in its realized potential before it is sold again. This is a great option for a business owner who is looking for an eventual complete exit from his business.
Choosing the Best Fit
Now, there are some exceptions and looking at different buyers from a less seasoned perspective can make it difficult to understand exactly what type of buyer you are actually facing. For example, a financial buyer may have a portfolio of business that compliments yours which can allow for a synergistic fit, thereby allowing you to enjoy some of the benefits a strategic buyer brings to the table. It could also be that a financial buyer recognizes inefficiencies or ‘areas of improvement’ that will allow them to immediately increase the company’s profitability following an acquisition. On the other hand, a strategic buyer may only want to buyer your business to eliminate a competitor and has no real intention of growing your business after the transaction takes place. Simply put, they may just want to prevent your business from continuing to eat up market share whether that be by forcing the company to remain static or by closing the doors.When it comes to selling your business, it is important to consider all your options in a sale. You need to find a buyer that will bring what you are looking for to a sale. Selling your business for a high value is important, but is it worth compromising the culture of your business or your employees? You need to decide what is most important to you and let those values be driving factors in your decisions in a sale.
It is tough to find the best fit for your business on your own. That’s why using a sell side mergers and acquisitions firm like Benchmark International is essential. You will have someone on your side who can help you find the right buyer for your needs. You can also learn more about what you can negotiate in a sale and you can discuss what’s most important to you to make sure those needs are met in a sale.
If you are thinking of selling your business, Benchmark International is dedicated to helping business owners like you achieve what they are looking for in a sale.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International Facilitated the Transaction between Silexx Financial Systems and Chicago Board Options Exchange
Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the transaction between Silexx Financial Systems, LLC and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). Headquartered in Chicago, IL, CBOE is the largest U.S. options exchange in the nation. Silexx Financial Systems, LLC is a broker-neutral, multi-asset class trading platform in Sarasota, Florida.
Thomas Frey, president and majority owner of Silexx Financial Systems, LLC stated, “I would like to thank Benchmark International for their persistence, and focus during this transaction. As is often the case, this transaction faced numerous challenges during each stage of the process. The Benchmark team remained focused, and leveraged their experience to maintain forward progress during difficult times of the process.”
Benchmark International Director Dara Shareef stated, “We would like to congratulate our clients, Silexx Financial Systems, LLC, Thomas Frey, and Michael Williams, as well as the buyer, Chicago Board Options Exchange. This acquisition enhances the CBOE delivery model and provides its customers industry-leading data analytics and trade execution tools for more than three dozen global markets. The buyer truly valued our client’s existing OEMS platform and access to major global markets in North America, Europe and Asia. We feel this deal was a win-win proposition for both CBOE and Silexx, and we wish them both all the best in the future.”READ MORE >>
Benchmark International facilitated the sale of Weigelt Enterprises, LCC headquartered in Buda, Texas with additional locations throughout Central Texas. They were acquired by an undisclosed financial buyer based in Austin, Texas.READ MORE >>
Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Vitanium Systems Limited to Lane Telecommunications.READ MORE >>