The Covid pandemic has placed us squarely in unprecedented times. We know this is not exactly news at this point. However, counter to the tenor of most pieces you've probably read on the topic during the past 12 months, this one aims to shine some light on one industry that has thrived: The US healthcare market, more specifically, healthcare M&A. Healthcare M&A has generally been a big winner in 2020 and into 2021 and it's happening at both ends of the market.READ MORE >>
Strategic partnerships can be game-changers for SaaS (Software as a Service) companies. Sales revenue is clearly of vital importance, but it takes more than just those numbers to make things happen on a larger scale. Relationships are the bedrock of business. If you are looking to drive growth, a strategic partnership can be a very powerful tool to help your company increase its audience, build upon the brand, and tap into new markets. All of this, in turn, can prop up your sales team and boost your overall growth.READ MORE >>
The Beginning of the End
The turbulent year of 2020 is finally in our rearview mirror. While so many lives have been lost and everyday life is still far from normal, effective vaccines for COVID-19 are being distributed, offering hope for a near-term end to the disruption we’ve endured for the past year.
Markets have begun to respond with optimism for the highly anticipated return to normal, but we’re not at the finish line quite yet. Mass distribution of the vaccine will take time, and people and businesses are still suffering as the virus is spreading at record-high levels and restrictions are being reinforced. This means that, yes, our world remains suspended in a state of uncertainty, but we have good reason to believe that the global economy will continue to recover, and mergers and acquisitions will lead the recovery. Research indicates that 53 percent of US executives plan to increase M&A investment in 2021. Some sectors have fared rather well during the pandemic. But how well—and how quickly—the overall economy recovers will depend on factors such as virus containment, fiscal and monetary policy, and inflation.
Virus containment remains the main priority for economic recovery to succeed. However, there are other possible risks to market performance. A lack of adequate policy support could occur due to concerns about mounting government debt. The technology conflict between the US and China is likely to continue even under a more traditional Biden administration, and the impacts are expected to take years to manifest. The decisions made by the two countries will affect regional economies and the businesses that operate within them. Other geopolitical factors could also shift investor attention away from recovery, but they are considered rather unlikely at this time.READ MORE >>
In early 2020, there was plenty of optimism for investment opportunities and growth in the sports sector prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has since caused disruption in nearly every sector around the world. Financial uncertainty has been a large factor in addition to issues surrounding player contracts and broadcasting rights. Mergers and acquisitions activity in the global sports world has experienced a downward trend but there is hope on the horizon.
Amidst COVID-19 delays, Italian football (calico) has had its share of off-the-field matters this year. In August, the Italian club A.S. Roma announced the completion of a takeover by Texas-based Friedkin Group: an 86.6% stake in for €591 million, a large decrease from the previously agreed upon figure of €750 million prior to the pandemic. This lower price demonstrates how lost matches, sponsorship, and broadcasting income all impact the valuation of sports clubs. In light of these decreasing valuations, PE firms could be motivated to seek out bargain M&A and financing opportunities.
Italy’s Serie A has also embraced private investment. In September, its 20 clubs agreed to create its own media company financed partially by PE funds in order to better organize the sale and promotion of the league's TV rights. The move is designed to improve governance and increase revenue, especially abroad.READ MORE >>
In the printing and packaging sectors, M&A activity has slowed since August of 2019 with around 14 percent fewer deals closing. Deal activity was strong at the beginning of 2020, and then the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a standstill in the spring, with activity starting to return to normal in late summer. In fact, there were 16 transactions in August, which happens to be the same number as August of 2019.
The pandemic has made it more challenging to complete deals because of social distancing and how it impacts personal relationships, but buyers have not lost their strategic focus. The packaging side of the business has shown a heightened level of interest in labels, corrugated cartons, and folding cartons. Private equity and large corporate investors remain in the game. There is increased interest in flexible packaging, but the number of these transactions has been limited by the availability of target businesses in this segment.
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During the first half of 2020, M&A activity in the automotive industry was down from previous years due to uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, with cross-border deals becoming more complex. However, the pandemic also resulted in new opportunities for consolidation within the industry.
There were $11.9 billion in M&A deals, which represented a 54.8% decrease in value compared to the first half of 2019. Most investments were in the pursuit of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electrified) technologies. This type of tech is predicted to drive M&A through the end of 2020. Dealmakers are expected to concentrate on securing supply chains and increasing resiliency rather than expanding globally.
Global Deal Activity
The majority of deal value in volume in the first half of 2020 took place in Asia and Oceania, followed by North America. The largest automotive transaction in the first half of the year was valued at $2.9 billion, with Traton SE, a vehicle-manufacturing subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, acquiring Navistar International Corporation. Volkswagen Group China continued to strengthen its electrification strategy by making two acquisitions valued at more than $1 billion each: Gotion High-tech Co. and JAC Volkswagen Automotive Company.READ MORE >>
As the world still faces the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in the financial services sectors are preparing themselves for life after coronavirus. This includes the management of credit risk for borrowers, and turning to digital strategies to drive revenue growth.
Insurance and Innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the entire insurance sector to implement and leverage digital platforms that enhance customer experiences as a key part of their business strategies in a transformed world in which people are working remotely and driving their vehicles less often. The pandemic has led insurance companies to implement premium relief efforts, offer payment deferral plans, and expand coverage, but these companies are also turning to more digital strategies, emphasizing online customer experiences at a time when more and more transactions occur online versus in person. Consumers are demanding new products such as cyber insurance, more modern life insurance options, and usage-based car insurance. Middle-market insurance companies have always been a bit technologically behind the big players, but they now must adopt new innovations in order to merely keep up with convenience, simplicity, mobility, and modern interfaces that customers have come to expect.
Banking and Lending
Financial institutions are in a position where they need to understand borrowers’ needs and current financial states more than ever. They must also find new ways to measure performance through the rest of 2020. They have already provided assistance to many small and mid-size businesses during the crisis, some of which will be forgiven. Loan modifications have been provided to help businesses survive, and there is likely to be some loan losses. As the economy begins to recover, banks will be able to get a better understanding of borrowers’ financial states, knowing that it will take some time for businesses to bounce back. Deciding whether to lend more credit will be a difficult decision for financial institutions, especially for harder hit sectors such as hospitality and retail. Understanding the recovery of these industries as a whole will be critical through the use of data and payment activity monitoring.
Family offices are private wealth management firms that serve high-net-worth individuals and their families by offering a total outsourced solution to managing finances and investments. There are nearly 2000 of these types of firms around the world, with more than half in the U.S.
These firms have typically relied on physical offices to conduct business. Now in the wake of COVID-19, a shift to virtual family offices has become a necessity during a time where remote work has become commonplace. This has been a challenge for many family offices because most simply do not have the appropriate technology and infrastructure to result in a seamless transition to a virtual office. These businesses will be forced to evolve technologically into the rest of 2020 and beyond. As outdated technology is replaced with better performing innovations, family offices will become more mobile and agile, as well as better equipped with more adequate cybersecurity. Connectivity is also a timely issue, as Millennials will be inheriting family wealth in the future and they demand immediate access to data without disruption and with more transparency. This digital transformation to virtual family offices will also allow for a leaner staff that can deploy resources more quickly.
The events of 2020 have led capital markets to affect businesses in different ways. Underwriting slowed for high-yield borrowers. Mergers were put on hold. Stock markets have been up and down, and a record number of securities and their values have been exchanged. As financial conditions improve, confidence combined with cheap credit will have companies seeking liquidity to get through the rest of the crisis. Corporations have been tapping into the public debt markets at high rates. While this generated profits at the start of the recession, bonds are less likely to be issued as businesses restore their reserves and establish liquidity that will be needed into the future.
For the rest of 2020 and into 2021, investment banking associated with M&A activity will continue to be tied to the economic recovery amid a softer deal pipeline. When the economy finally bounces back, there will be opportunity for a backlog of deals, boosting advisory revenues.
Data and Private Equity
In the time of COVID-19, certain private equity trends have emerged and are expected to be here to stay. People are still paramount, but how they work has changed. Data continues to be more important to deal making to determine the areas for greatest earnings impact. Datasets will track strategic movements and metrics within companies to gauge their performance. Remote workforces will allow competitive PE firms to source key financial talent from entirely new geographic regions. Firms are also expected to outsource more of their back-office work functions and instead focus on front-office responsibilities.
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If you are a business owner who is considering making a move, our M&A experts at Benchmark International would love to discuss how we can help with the sale, exit or growth of your company.READ MORE >>
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting government responses have had a significant impact on consumer spending, with retailers closed for months and shoppers staying home starting in the early part of 2020, with the timing of closures varying by country. Many consumers continue to stay home, even as most businesses have reopened. Online shopping has surged due to the pandemic. In the U.S. and Canada, e-commerce orders are up 146%.
Household consumption increased over the summer and is forecast to continue. Certain consumer behaviors that were newly formed during the earlier stages of the pandemic are expected to permanently influence spending habits. Retailers will need to clearly understand these behavioral shifts as they navigate the immediate future, and into the long term if they plan to succeed amid the new normal.
Digital as Key Driver
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Business and professional services (BPS) firms are facing increased uncertainty amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. This climate is resulting in less investment and more reliance on revolving credit to maintain access to cash for operating expenses, and keeping priorities on payroll and workforce decisions. Companies with strong liquidity will shift to growth strategies and digital transformation. Also, with a greater need for mobility in a more remote-working world, there is a greater emphasis on cybersecurity, especially for government contractors and law firms.
Government Contracting: A Hot Market for Acquisitions
Government contracting is a significant moneymaker, especially in the United States. These firms rely on the needs of the government and the availability of financial resources for public investments. Government spending is often used to stimulate the economy during a slump. Through the first two quarters of 2020, government spending held steady, with health spending peaking along with the COVID-19 response, with billions going to national interest agencies and programs related to the pandemic.
The middle market in government contracting is comprised of several small, technically specialized service providers that offer high growth opportunities for larger companies that are seeking more capabilities and specific contract access. The pandemic slowed deal flow in the first half of 2020, but deals still happened with transactions expected to continue in the second half of the year. Private equity firms are seeking stable streams of cash flow and government contractors are relatively insulated from recession, making them a solid target for strategic investment and bolt-on acquisitions. M&A activity in the government contracting space is forecast to continue into 2021 as the sector (with the exception of aerospace) has been less impacted by the coronavirus and there is a need for more consolidation in the market.
Cybersecurity is paramount for government contractors for obvious national security reasons. In July of 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense issued the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) to build upon cybersecurity best practices from established industry standards with the goal of reducing cyber-risk among its contractors. Other departments of the government will likely do the same, prompting contractors to prepare for it in advance.
The big commercial tech companies typically draw the top tech and cybersecurity talent, making it challenging for government and its contractors to attract talent and offer competitive salaries. During times of increased unemployment due to a pandemic, many skilled workers are seeking out less risky positions. Government contractors should jump on this opportunity to attract young, tech savvy talent.
Law Firms: Challenges and Opportunities
Due to the pandemic, law firms have had to deal with furloughs, layoffs, pay cuts and reducing expenses while finding new ways to boost revenues while working remotely. Liquidity equals agility in uncertain times, so firms should seek to expand their credit lines while making the most of government assistance options.
Human capital remains the single biggest asset for law firms. Working remotely has brought about new challenges for attorneys and staff as they juggle the demands of working, parenting and caregiving. Investing in programs, technology, and other ways to support staff is more important than ever. Amid cutbacks and a lack of contact with colleagues, talent needs to know they are still valued and connected to the firm’s success. Firms also need to take this time to assess what lessons have been learned from remote working regarding obstacles, delays and infrastructure needs and how they can address needs, especially in regard to digital support.
Security and privacy are major issues for law firms operating remotely as they need their files and records to be accessible from outside the office. A digital security strategy is key even once the pandemic has passed, as no one knows for sure what the new normal will look like. Once security is implemented and established, focus can shift to maintaining client relationships and creating revenue growth into the future. Investment in mentoring programs and empowerment of staff can help grow the business and identify new opportunities to support the firm once the pandemic is over and the economy is ready to bounce back.
If you are thinking about a merger or acquisition for your business, please reach out to our M&A dream team at Benchmark International to discuss how we can help you accomplish great things.READ MORE >>
The industrials sector has had to adapt to significant disruption due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges associated with it. While 2020 started on a very positive note with rapid growth for the global manufacturing sector, manufacturing output plummeted throughout the beginning of the year and into May due to shutdowns around the world. Output, new orders, exports, and purchases all fell to levels not seen since the 2008 recession. Many large manufacturing countries were under lockdowns into April, but restrictions were eased in May, which helped deter the overall rate of decline. In the wake of the crisis, many companies have found ways to evolve and use digital solutions to transform their business models, discovering changes that will continue to be beneficial in a post-COVID world. This adaptability is crucial to the survival and future relevance of these businesses.
- Automation and connective worker technologies have become even more important to boosting productivity.
- Migration to the cloud allows companies to be more flexible in dealing with disruptions.
- The auto manufacturing industry is growing more resilient due to greater supply chain visibility.
- For oil and gas companies, advanced digital technologies are a vital investment.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
Industrial companies that made prior investments in digital technologies and IT infrastructure were able to operate efficiently during the earliest phases of the pandemic. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, has enabled manufacturers to evolve their traditional supply chains and processes into highly interconnected systems. Leading organizations have been investing heavily in developed digital platforms specific to the industrials sector, pivoting business models towards being more software-centric. Additionally, smart manufacturing technologies are now transforming traditional manufacturing processes and paving the way into the future. More and more companies will be exploring digital technologies to enhance their flexibility and operate more innovatively. Robotics and 3D printing are among the most popular operational solutions that are expected to see continued heavy investment.
While remote work has become a relatively easy and normal option for many employees across different sectors, the industrial manufacturing sector is not one of them simply for logistics reasons. For example, machines need operators to keep them running. However, it has been demonstrated that technology can help limit the number of people needed to maintain operations.
Connected worker technologies are helping to streamline and hasten solutions. Typically, machine repairs require operators to contact service technicians, sometimes located in different facilities or at the original equipment manufacturer. Also, training new or existing workers has typically been face to face. Augmented reality is helping to eliminate in-person interaction for the purposed of repair, service and training and empowering workers to be more independent through digital on-demand access to manuals, instructions, and other resources.
While manufacturing companies tend to be more hesitant about migrating operations to the cloud, these organizations are realizing that cloud technologies enables them to move inventory, work smarter, customize products, and shift resources in much more flexible manner. The cloud is also an effective asset-performance tool that gives supervisors a remote window into facilities, production lines, and individuals.
Robotics and automation have significantly increased productivity for manufacturing processes. By replacing manual processes with automated alternatives, it helps to mitigate workforce availability challenges and reduces the impact of low-cost labor decisions.
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing continues to evolve and has shifted from the production of prototype applications to finished products. These manufacturing technologies are gaining more traction and offer efficient value chain solutions that enable on-demand production, less working capital, reduced supply chain complexity, fewer tools or parts needed, and less frequent human intervention.
The Auto Industry
Technology and connectivity is now the third most cited investment priority for the
automotive manufacturing industry. The future lies in edge computing, monitoring software, and the Industrial Internet of Things. Companies are able to collect and analyze data on site and in real time, connect applications to essential equipment, and conduct advanced monitoring and remote controls.
Another result of the pandemic for the auto industry is a need for more transparency in global supply chains. Thanks to AI, there is a shift from existing models in equipping automakers so that suppliers can use analytics to respond to changes in real time. For middle-market companies that have been known to underinvest in tech, this shift is especially important. Investment in IT infrastructure will help establish a more nimble and scalable environment, and will create more valuable data. The sequentially distributed databases of Blockchain technology are also changing supply chain management and adoption is expected to increase greatly into the future.
The Oil and Gas Sector
Digital technologies are also being adopted by oil and gas companies in order to bolster cost and operational efficiencies, improve safety, and reduce environmental impacts.
Robotics, AI, cloud solutions and Blockchain are all being used more and more to advance the industry. According to Bloomberg, oil companies are expected to spend $1.3 billion on advanced analytics alone in 2021. The big oil and field services companies with more experience aggressively adopting innovation and that are in favorable cash positions are more likely to continue investing in new tech. Human intervention is being scaled back. Maintenance procedures are being automated. Drones are being used to monitor real-time conditions and detect leaks. AI sensors are monitoring conditions such as temperature and vibration. At the same time, small and mid-size companies that were less mature coming into the pandemic are likely to focus spending on technology that helps them keep their businesses running.
No matter what sector your business operates within, Benchmark International is here to help. Contact us to discuss how we can help you grow or sell your business for maximum value.READ MORE >>
The real estate industry, both commercial and residential, is undergoing transformation due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are working from home, traveling less, and some are migrating to smaller cities. Digitalization is becoming more prevalent, as owners, developers and managers of properties are seeking out virtual and touchless solutions to ensure safety and boost efficiency in a competitive market. Middle-market companies that keep up with the demand for innovation are poised to thrive under these new-normal conditions.
Real Estate Trends Expected to Continue
- Office spaces are being reconfigured to offer more space for each worker.
- Remote work is facilitating home purchases farther away from large cities that are home to corporate headquarters.
- Virtual touring experiences are becoming standard for home sales.
- Hotels are adapting to new measures to ensure guest safety.
- Retail properties are being used for other commercial uses.
- Leasing arrangements are becoming more creative to improve liquidity and cash flow.
- The inability to have in-person property experiences are hampering due diligence efforts.
- The construction sector will continue to employ virtual tools such as 3-D modeling and site management platforms.
Remote Working and the New Office
As millions of office workers have been working remotely to help avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus, employers were somewhat surprised to see that workers were more productive while working from home. Analyses show that average workdays increased in hours and big tech companies announced that remote working would continue into the long-term future. A result of this is that companies are:
- Looking to reduce the cost of office space.
- Providing more space per worker for any necessary in-person collaboration.
- Using video conferencing setups in small team rooms to bridge home and office work.
- Implementing thermal scanners, improved ventilation, UV light for cleaning and other safety measures.
Property owners and managers of office spaces have been able to continue to collect rent payments during the pandemic. However, as unemployment rises and the economy remains uncertain, it could impact the financial markets, making property and mortgage payments more difficult. Additionally, pension fund managers for large unions often invest in office markets due to their stable rents and cash flows, but if tenants cannot pay rent, pension payments may be cut.
Residential Real Estate
Residential home buying is also changing due to the coronavirus. Prior to the pandemic, Millennials were already willing to sacrifice job opportunities to buy homes in secondary cities in search of affordable housing. A study by Redfin showed that more than 50 percent of workers in major tech hub cities would move elsewhere if their company offered a remote work option, with the desire to live someplace less expensive. New tech advancements in a more remote-work-driven world are enabling these workers to pursue both dreams. Major tech companies are recognizing the cost burden that comes with maintaining sweeping campuses in major metro areas and are leading the way in the trend to shift to remote working as more professional services companies follow suit.
How homes are being purchased is also changing. Online home shopping by Millennials was already on the rise before the pandemic, causing realtors to adapt their selling processes. Virtual reality tours and 3D floor plans are becoming standard practice. Appraisers are using drones for exterior photography. Paperwork is reduced and replaced by electronic filing and signing.
Retail Real Estate
Retail property owners have many tenants that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions and many of these tenants are refusing or unable to pay rent while closed, forcing landlords to devise workarounds and, in turn, struggle to pay their own bills. Retailers were already struggling pre-pandemic due to increasing e-commerce popularity. Now landlords are providing rent abatement periods, rent waivers, flexible payments, and interest-free repayment in order to aid in their tenants' survival.
Hospitality Real Estate
The pandemic has limited non-essential travel, as business travelers are working from home and many leisure travelers are choosing to stay home for safety reasons. The hospitality sector has taken a massive hit under these circumstances amid changing restrictions and stay-at-home orders. As economic loss negatively impacts the hospitality industry, operational priorities are shifting from personal guest experiences to the safety of guests. Economy lodging is being less affected than larger, upscale hotels because essential construction workers are still traveling to job sites in smaller markets while large conferences are cancelled and professional group business travel is being limited. Investments in new technologies by hotel operators are also crucial to the hospitality real estate industry as extensive safety measures are needed. Typical in-person processes are being replaced by digital options. Common areas are being reassessed to offer social distancing. New cleaning and ventilation measures are being implemented. These changes are expected to aid in the economic recovery in this sector.
A new era of technology is playing a major role in the construction industry. Enhanced safety protocols are being implemented in existing commercial buildings. Construction companies are embracing new technologies in the development and management of new projects. Prefabrication and modular buildings, as well as virtual construction methods, are seeing accelerated growth amid the new circumstances due to the pandemic. A recent survey showed that construction executives foresee double-digit
increases in single-trade and multi-trade prefabrication assemblies, as well as permanent modular construction, over the next few years. These construction techniques offer better project schedule performance, lower construction costs, and improved construction quality.
No matter what sector your business operates within, our M&A experts at Benchmark International are eager to discuss your future with you, whether it’s selling your business, growing your company, or devising your exit or succession plan.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyday life, the technology, media and telecom sectors are playing critical roles in keeping people connected, working, and entertained. As more people work remotely and home school, the services provided by tech and telecom companies remain in peak demand by families and businesses.
- Acquisitions are driving growth in the tech sector, and there is more investment in innovation and R&D.
- Collaborative tech is expected to see sustained growth.
- As tech companies embrace working-from-home, talent is being spread out more geographically.
- Telecommunications companies are being relied upon for connectivity more than ever during the pandemic, and the focus on 5G-network implementation is a major priority.
- Broadcast TV faces challenges amid declines in advertising and fewer live sports, but ad revenue is expected to increase as many major sports are returning to play. Digital streaming and retransmission fees could also offer new opportunities.
- As video gaming and e-sports have undergone dramatic growth spurts during the pandemic, acquisition activity is expected to increase.
In a world of billions of connected smart devices, digital technology has essentially revolutionized the global marketing industry. From social media to content marketing, the market is massive and poised for continued growth.
The traditional ad agency model now includes a major focus on digital marketing, and digital marketing agencies continue to become more prevalent and provide a wider range of strategic services and specialized areas. And more and more companies outside of the advertising and marketing industry are also developing their own in-house digital marketing arms.
In 2019, the global digital marketing market size was $300-310 billion. It is expected to grow to $360-380 billion in 2020.
On a global scale, the market size per region is:
- $110-130 billion for North America
- $120-130 billion for Asia Pacific
- $48-52 billion for Europe
- $6-10 billion for the Middle East/Asia
Online videos and mobile ad spending account for a large portion of the digital advertising space and continue to drive digital marketing spending, especially in Europe and North America. Digital out-of-home media is becoming more personalized and contextually relevant through targeted ad delivery, and location-aware and bandwidth-aware tech tools. And with the increasing emergence of 5G technology in 2020, phone streaming will reach incredible speeds and higher quality, opening up new possibilities for marketers.
2020 will be a big year for content marketing in several different forms. User-generated content will be in demand as the majority of consumers report that they find the opinion of users to be more influential than content promoted by the actual brand. This content includes anything from social media posts and blogs to web pages and testimonials.
Another huge component of content marketing is video content creation. More consumers are expecting to see video content from their favorite brands. Video also keeps audiences engaged for more time versus other types of content. Live streaming is also a growing trend, as consumers are reporting that they would prefer to watch live video than read a blog post.
Marketers are forecasted to spend $112 billion on social media advertising in 2020.
Globally, North America continues to dominate ad spending in this digital marketing sector, with the retail industry as the leading ad spender in the United States. While search remains a preference of retail marketers, video, social media, and other display formats are growing in demand to increase brand visibility. Digital ad spending in the Asia Pacific region has surpassed that of Europe, with growth driven by China due to increasing investments on technology and digital platforms. The automobile, consumer goods, and telecom sectors are the leading marketing spenders in the country.
Digital marketing has had a large impact on the commercial print side of the industry. This is causing service providers to offer more innovative value-added services such as data management and e-publishing. The demand for print services is largely driven by the retail, financial, publishing, and food and beverage sectors, especially for on-demand print materials, packaging, and other promotional materials. Additionally, increased digitalization and eco-friendly practices (such as using soy ink vs. petroleum-based ink) have lessened the printing industry's impact on the environment. Increased digitization will continue to result in more e-versions of print, such as annual reports and catalogs, and use of more online targeting channels such as email.
The size of the global direct mail market is expected to reach $94–98 billion in 2020. The use of direct mail remains high in developed regions such as North America and Europe due to comprehensive customer database maintenance. At the same time, the increased use of e-mail and mobile marketing is lessening the demand for printed direct mail materials. In smaller markets that have lower Internet penetration, such as parts of Latin America and the Middle East, the direct mail sector remains strong with demand being driven by retail, travel, and real estate. To remain competitive, direct mail providers are offering e-mail marketing and other digital marketing services at lower prices.
The global market for loyalty programs continues to grow due to increasing e-commerce, smartphone use, and online shopping customer behavior. The retail, financial, consumer, and food and beverage industries drive the demand for loyalty services, digital rewards programs, analytics, and business intel used for customization.
Mergers & Acquisitions
M&A activity regarding digital marketing and advertising agencies has high potential due to growth and high fragmentation within the industry. Traditional ad agencies and private equity firms target companies that offer solid growth opportunities. As digital advertising revenues increase, so does the global demand for more online content in an ever-connected world. Digital capabilities and relationships are a priority for traditional agencies and their holding companies as they have a need to grow their digital revenue and expand their portfolios.
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By investing in the transportation and logistics sector, global companies open up the opportunity to advance the flow of goods throughout the world. Businesses in this industry, both domestic and international, benefit from integrated supply chain networks that connect companies and consumers through multiple transportation modes within industry subsectors.
- Logistics services include the management of fleets, warehousing, order fulfillment, logistics networks, inventory, supply and demand, third-party logistics, and other support services.
- Air and express delivery provide accelerated end-to-end package delivery services, as well as infrastructure for exporters. Growth in this subsector is greatly driven by the expansion of e-commerce.
- Freight rail moves high volumes of heavy cargo and products long distances via rail network.
- Maritime includes carriers, ports, terminals, and labor involved in the transportation of cargo and passengers via water.
- Trucking moves cargo over the road by motor vehicles over short and medium distances.
The transportation and logistics industry is consistently a highly fragmented sector. This is largely due to the fact that most fleets are small and there are few barriers to entry when it comes to starting a small fleet. Another major factor is that larger carriers have difficulty retaining drivers and achieving organic growth. Owners are always looking to gain efficiencies, optimize routes and spread fixed costs across more operations. In order to do so, they must create greater scale. It is common in the transportation and logistics sector for acquisition strategies to revolve around broadening service offerings, branching out the customer base, and expanding geographical reach.
Economic and Industry Factors
Burgeoning economies drive demand in the transportation and logistics industry. More freight demand stems from strong consumer confidence and upward surges in manufacturing, resulting in more loads and vehicles on roads. When this climate is met with driver shortages, it increases transportation costs, which can reduce margins.
The Impact of Amazon.com
Amazon has greatly raised global consumer expectations when it comes to rapid fulfillment. This demand has shifted distribution patterns, pushing companies to move warehouses closer to customers. Getting products to consumers faster increases the number of touch-points along the freight network.
The introduction and evolution of new technologies in the transportation and logistics industry are addressing over-the-road challenges such as driver shortages. Long-haul robotic trucks are being developed and tested. Driverless and remotely piloted deliveries are being incepted, such as aerial delivery drones. Experts expect it to be a very long period of time before these advancements face more mainstream use, but someday in the future, the possibilities they hold will be very real.
Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, data collection, machine learning, and blockchain are all being used within the transportation and logistics industry to gain major competitive insights and advantages, and therefore make better decisions that improve the performance of the company.
Transportation and Logistics M&A
In the 21st century M&A market, transactions in the transportation and logistics industry are often driven by specific demographic, macroeconomic, and regulatory factors.
Sellers are motivated by:
- The desire to take advantage of a strong overall M&A market
- Volume limitations due to driver shortages, tight labor markets, aging drivers and increasing hiring costs
- Aging ownership without a succession plan in place (usually companies with <$50 million in sales)
- Unease about industry regulations around safety, driver hour limits and logging devices
- The use of cross-border deals to counter negative impacts on operations, access new markets, and protect supply chains, as remaining agile in a globalized market is critical
Buyers are motivated by:
- Leverage of economies of scale in order to maintain profitability
- Capitalization on domestic economies with strong growth potential
- The need to hire drivers while facing tight labor markets and rising hiring costs
- Acquisition of smaller companies that expand service offerings
- Use of various asset models to free up capital and invest in better equipment
A high level of activity in M&A in the transportation and logistics industry is contingent upon suitable timing in a growing economy, low interest rates, and widely available capital. It usually takes up to nine months to complete an M&A transaction, so timing and forward thinking should be considered when deciding to take your company to market.
Are you considering selling your company? Even if you are merely exploring the idea, our M&A specialists at Benchmark International can help you decide if and when a merger or acquisition may be right for you. We’ll work closely with you to ensure that you never have to compromise value or timing, and that you are only matched with the most suitable opportunities.READ MORE >>
Around the world, the global education industry remains shaped by population growth and access to education, and driven by new technologies and service offerings.
- Solutions for professional education, teacher development, improved online and adaptive learning, and language training (especially English) are always in demand.
- Online learning technology and the need for corporate workforce training drives increases in corporate spending on outsourced training programs.
- Smartphone-only Internet users are reshaping learning models.
- Enrollment in pre-primary education continues to rise as it has proven to show positive long-term results.
- In primary and secondary education, technology investments directly impact school expenditures.
- Higher education is being forced to adapt in the wake of changes to jobs, skills and increasing student debt.
- Learning Management Systems are shifting the teaching focus away from content and onto learners.
- Newer offerings include cloud-based student information systems, digital tools and learning platforms, and data reporting and analytics.
The global education market is expected to be valued at $10 trillion USD by the
In today’s digitized society, as education becomes more globalized, it presents newforms of private, for-profit involvement. In the global education industry, less than three percent of overall education expenditure is spent on technology. This is expected to increase in the future, yet at an alarmingly slow rate, giving investors a favorable position to get in on
Mergers and acquisitions opportunities are heavily influenced by the possibilities created by new innovations in digital education, instruction, and credentialing. The global education sector’s biggest strategic performers are diverse companies that continue a shift towards digital services and away from print. Target companies within the education landscape that are in drawing investment include those that provide adaptive learning solutions and assessment products, such as software that facilitates testing and scoring. Other areas that appeal to buyers include education-market-focused infrastructure software and English language learning solutions.
Education Infrastructure Software
Modern education-focused infrastructure software has the power to transform learning environments for students and teachers both inside and outside the classroom by balancing technology across all locations. The approach is comprised of cloud computing, enhanced privacy and security, connectivity, storage, and manageability. Additionally, virtual infrastructure not only simplifies troubleshooting, but it can reduce costs for institutions by reducing overhead through the reduced impacts of having to frequently replace hardware. With support of more devices, teachers can better tailor learning experiences to students learning needs, and a more collaborative learning environment can be created.
Global English Language Learning Market
The global English language learning market is expected to exceed $22 billion USD by the end of 2025. These programs are in growing demand due to globalization, urbanization, and an appetite for improved education and job opportunities. The escalating numbers for student enrollment in graduate schools in English-speaking countries is deemed to be a primary contributing factor to growth in this market. In higher education, universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada require applicants to pass language tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This drives students to enroll in English language training programs, leading to notable demand for them in countries (such as an India and China) where the number of graduates relocating to English-speaking countries for advanced studies continues to grow at a significant rate.
The global market for digital English language learning is comprised of both regional and international manufacturers. As the international companies expand their reach, improve quality, and lower prices, the regional firms struggle to compete. Such an intensely competitive market for innovation and service extensions increases the number of M&A transactions.
An Industry Continuing to Evolve
Innovation in education requires capital and government funding is limited even in the wealthiest, most developed countries. Private equity and M&A can strategically create and grow companies of scale in the education sector. Larger size means more attractive acquisition opportunities, more prevalence, and more potential for transformation in the industry and its subsectors.
Advancements that are impacting and will continue to impact this industry include:
- Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and unified data solutions
- Online education
- Specialized curriculum start-up companies
- Improved curriculum storage and peer-to-peer sharing platforms
- International schools
- Digital classrooms
- Chat bots and voice enabled hardware
- English language training
- Enhanced admissions management and student retention
- Global school networks
- Improved vocational training
- Alternate university models
- Online program managers
- Job training boot camps
- Primary education mobile apps
- Increasing availability and free access to academic publishing resources
- STEM and coding
- Gaming and simulation
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Two of the most transformative factors in the world of automotive and technological development have been the advent of ride-hailing platforms and autonomous vehicles. They each create various mergers and acquisitions opportunities both individually and in concert with each other in various capacities on a global scale.
Ride Service Companies
Ride services—also known as ride hailing and ride sharing—will continue to create opportunities for M&A in decades to come as their popularity around the world continues to increase. Uber, DiDi Chuxing, Gett, Grab, and Lyft are some of the leading firms in the market. As more companies emerge, the market becomes more and more fragmented. The right M&A transactions can help companies increase market share and improve service quality.
It can be relatively inexpensive to start up a ride-hailing company. After all, they depend on contract labor that does not rely on special skills or loyalty, and are powered by free mobile apps that easily bring their service to the public’s fingertips. While this makes it easy for more smaller firms to enter the space, it also creates ripe opportunity for M&A activity in an incredibly competitive industry that has been predicted to one day be dominated by only a couple of major players.
The ride hailing sector is not unlike other transportation industries, as it is subject to strict laws and regulations that can make M&A challenging, meaning that deals in this space require added due diligence.
A strong investment climate lies in the sector of autonomous or self-driving vehicles. Traditional auto manufacturers are investing billions of dollars and stepping up efforts to try to catch up with advancements already pioneered by the big tech companies. It is both faster and easier to acquire existing technologies than to try to reinvent the self-driving wheel. While they retain the advantage of being capable of the mass production of vehicles, it is expansion of their capabilities that is a major driver of M&A.
Companies at every level of involvement in the auto industry need to adapt their strategies, from manufacturers to suppliers to retailers. M&A is a necessary strategy for all existing industry players to maintain any foothold as newer digital companies transform the space. This includes rethinking business models and emphasizing innovation to establish themselves as a leader in the future.
Autonomous vehicles also present the possibility of major ramifications for other industries.
- Law enforcement: With self-driving cars programmed to obey traffic laws, fewer police resources may be needed on roads and less local revenue could be earned from citations.
- Insurance: With fewer accidents come fewer insurance claims, reducing the cost of insurance premiums.
- Healthcare: Ideally, fewer traffic accidents can reduce reliance on emergency services.
- Air & rail: Using autonomous vehicles for long-distance travel can mean fewer passengers on airplanes and trains.
- Advertising: Withdrivers turned into passengers, their attention can be shifted from audio to visual, and advertising could be targeted by location.
Many companies around the world have demonstrated enthusiasm over the prospect of disrupting public transportation as we know it, and have been eager to invest in companies that are focused on bringing autonomous vehicles into this realm. This includes robotic taxis, driverless shuttles, electric car ride services, and taxis that are not equipped with steering wheels or pedals.
Countries leading the way in the development of autonomous driving technology include Norway, Singapore, the United States, Germany and Israel.
Many challenges exist before the proliferation of autonomous vehicles on roads everywhere is a real possibility. While careful planning and programming goes into the technology that makes these vehicles both operational and safe, there are unexpected scenarios that are not easy to predict or take into account. These situations include other drivers’ errors such as going the wrong direction or making illegal maneuvers that can confuse the technology that a self-driving car relies upon. Essentially, the radar and high-resolution cameras in autonomous vehicles are able to detect and identify objects (such as a bicycle or pedestrian), but it cannot predict what those objects might do next.
These types of uncertainties, along with the strict regulatory environments surrounding self-driving vehicles, can also make the M&A market in this sector more complicated to navigate. It is prudent to consult with M&A experts regarding the opportunities in this area.
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The global leisure industry is comprised of restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos, sports facilities, travel agencies, tour operators and other customer-focused business segments. This industry is subject to some very specific influential factors such as geopolitics, weather conditions, natural catastrophes, fuel costs, and changing consumer habits and demands. Technology also plays a key role in how people plan their activities and choose to experience them. This presents new opportunities for growth, and at the same time, new challenges.
M&A can be used as an effective solution for vertical integration to fill gaps across the value chain and to offer more efficient global platforms in the leisure industry
and its subsectors.
Opportunities and Challenges
The impacts of new technologies can be beneficial to businesses, but they also present new obstacles. The good news is that people are never going to stop wanting to enjoy themselves. It’s just a matter of how they go about it that faces significant changes.
- Sports Venues: With large and complicated physical infrastructures, sports facilities aim to attract more fans, fill more seats, and maximize returns. Technology aids in getting fans to engage more and spend more money both in person and from their devices. The Internet offers viewers immediate access to scores, stats and updates. While this can enhance sports venues’ offerings, there is also the challenge of competing with home entertainment systems that allow consumers to create their own fan experience in the comfort of their own homes.
- Travel Agencies and Online Booking: There was a time when booking a vacation meant picking up the phone and calling your travel agent. But today, people turn to travel booking websites and apps to plan their trips, leading to overhauled business models. Online travel agents are looking to expand, increase their geographic reach, and be more integral to their customers’ experiences. Additionally, in the world of platforms such as Expedia, Kayak and Priceline, there remains little differentiation among brands, keeping the segment ripe for consolidation.
- The Gaming Industry: The loosening of sports-betting regulations is driving change in the gaming industry. People are increasingly able to gamble online in various capacities, and while casinos are adopting strategies to capitalize on these opportunities, there is still the prospect of less foot traffic that would have transferred to more money spent on in-house dining and other in-person gambling options. This sector is prime for consolidations and partnerships.
- Restaurants: Once a very brick-and-mortar focused sector, new technologies allow customers to opt for food delivery companies and apps to bring dinner to them rather than dining out at a physical restaurant location.
- The Cruise Industry: Cybersecurity is an important concern within this sector, as more people spend more time on their connected devices while they enjoy their cruise vacation. Personalized data-driven technology improves the passenger experience, but it also requires more integration so that more systems can share more information.
- Hotels: Web platforms such as airbnb have changed how people lodge on their vacations, moving tourism traffic from concentrated urban areas to more residential neighborhoods.
- Amusement Parks: Consumers seek out unique and immersive experiences through their tech. Theme parks are creating new partnerships to cater to these demands, and seeking out novel ways to tap into new markets. These partnerships can be less capital intensive and give businesses flexibility to adapt to changing trends.
Cross-Border M&A Considerations
Cross-border M&A transactions can involve several issues as political, cultural and economic environments evolve and regulations change. Certain due diligence factors should always be considered for these types of deals are expected to result in success stories.
- Transaction framework: This involves careful evaluation of pricing (maximized value), timing, and certainty (public reputation and proof of funds)
- Regulatory compliance: Focus on cybersecurity, foreign investment laws, national security laws, fraud, sanction violations, and money laundering
- Antitrust and competition: This includes overlaps between brands, overlaps between operations, market concentration, and specific clearances
- Technology and intellectual property: Thoroughly assess trademarks, domain names, IP rights, third-party licensing, existing claims, infrastructure, loyalty programs, data privacy laws, and databases
As with M&A transactions in any industry, there are several other areas that must be considered for due diligence and company valuation, including management agreements, financing, tax structures, employment issues, and other operational risks.
If you are thinking about selling your company, or would like to start exit planning, contact our M&A specialists at Benchmark International to start the process. We can help you understand your options and key factors for consideration, and get you on your way to a deal that works best for your vision of the future.READ MORE >>
The New Media World
The media industry has undergone several major transformations in the Internet age. Magazines and newspapers have been disrupted by digital publications. News consumption has been significantly altered by the existence of social media. Broadcast radio is now challenged by satellite radio, podcasting, and both free and fee-based music-streaming services. Television continues to undergo sweeping changes that come with more and more people cutting the cord, smart TVs, and the inundation of subscription streaming platforms on a variety of scales. And all of these sector trends affect how advertising dollars are being spent and how audiences are being targeted. 2020 proves to be no different, as these trends will continue to reshape the industry.
Companies and TV networks are faced with the task of inventing new offerings for delivering content in ways that facilitate direct relationships with consumers. New bundling and tiered options will be more in demand as viewers grow frustrated with having to manage various streaming options amid a crowded sea of subscription services that go beyond Netflix and Amazon Prime. Individual TV networks are offering their own on-demand services (such as HBO Now), and big industry players are getting in the game with their own digital networks such as Disney+. And the availability of tiered streaming platforms such as BritBox and Sling TV continues to grow. The major streaming networks will be faced with how to leverage an influx of competition. These options will also need to address how advertising is delivered regarding ad-free options and ad-supported video.
There are currently more than 700,000 active podcasts, and research shows that the consumer appetite for podcasts continues to thrive. Podcasts are going to be seen as a new vehicle for content and will garner more advertising money, with predictions that the spending amount will surpass $1 billion by the end of 2020.
For the Love of Data
As media companies compete for more audiences, data will become more imperative to achieving the goals of these companies. This means that the data platforms used by media companies and advertising agencies are going to become paramount. The gathering and processing of the third-party data needed to create more meaningful and personalized experiences and services for consumers will be essential to the ability to remain competitive.
In today’s social-media-driven world, users are able to generate their own content through various mobile applications such as SnapChat and TikTok. As more of these types of platforms emerge, larger parent companies (such as the Facebooks and Googles of the world) may be inclined to acquire them to diversify their offerings and expand their user bases.
As media companies continue to need more diverse content and content delivery options, it creates significant opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. This M&A activity is expected to be on smaller scales than the megadeals that occurred in the last couple of years. This is because there are fewer opportunities for the major networks to consolidate, especially as there is a growing over-supply of third-party streaming applications and the content rights are being withdrawn.
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The global Information Technology industry encompasses the sectors of hardware, software and services, telecom, and emerging tech including ‘as-a-service’ solutions under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT) and automating technologies.
The global IT industry is projected to reach $5.2 trillion in 2020, with global spending growing 3.7%
As the world continues to be more digitally connected and industries become more automated, technology will remain a massively growing market in the beginning of the new decade, especially as companies focus less on cost reduction and more on innovation.
The United States is the world’s largest tech market, accounting for one-third of the total market, and exceeding the gross domestic product of most other industries. Although the US market is so large, the lion’s share of tech spending actually happens outside of the US (68%) and is made by enterprise or government entities. Western Europe is a major contributor in the global tech market, and China is also a significant player with focuses in robotics, infrastructure, software, and services.
Forecasted IT Spending
In 2020, IT spending budgets will be largely driven by the needs to upgrade outdated infrastructure, address security issues, and accommodate growth. The amount of spending and the mix of services will vary by company size.
- Smaller businesses are expected to spend more on hardware such as servers and laptops.
- Mid-size companies will be spending more on mobile devices.
- Larger corporations will spend more on managed infrastructure IT services such as power and climate solutions.
For software spending specifically, small businesses will focus their spending on operating systems. Mid-size companies will have a larger budget for productivity software and business support applications. Large enterprises will be spending more of their money on virtualization, database management, and communications software. Cloud services and recovery software will represent major budget allocations in the coming year and cloud spend will vary by company size.
With the increasing popularity of cloud-based software and services and hybrid cloud solutions comes the increasing concern regarding cloud security. This is further reinforced by an ongoing rise in cyber attacks and data breaches. Cloud-based security solutions will remain a growing need across several sectors, especially in highly regulated ones such as finance and government. The global cloud security market was anticipated to garner $8.9 billion by the start of 2020. This need will create more opportunities for companies, entrepreneurs and investors.
The Year of 5G
The highly anticipated 5G technology will see a much more momentous rollout in 2020, in contrast to the lackluster emergence in 2019. Hundreds of millions of 5G-enabled smartphones are expected to ship in 2020. 5G will deliver significantly high speeds and remarkable data capacity to expand the financial possibilities for businesses. It is able to support billions of connected devices across sectors, allow new innovation for the IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality. It will also enable a new world of autonomous vehicles and smart cities through a fully connected society, shattering boundaries to create a scalable global marketplace through unified technologies. Businesses will need to be prepared with how this new technology is going to dramatically alter the possibilities of the cloud and the need for virtualization-based networks as opposed to fixed-function equipment. While it is not going to happen overnight, 5G technology will grow increasingly more available throughout 2020, changing the availability of certain devices and transforming industrial possibilities.
Edge computing is not a new concept, as it has existed for years. However, the value opportunity that it represents across industries is enormous. 2020 is anticipated to be a highly emergent year for edge computing due to the availability of faster networking technologies such as 5G and analytic capabilities in smaller devices.
Edge computing allows data processing to be done physically closer to where the data is generated (the edge of the network) rather than at a massive data processing center, which in turn reduces latency and processes the data much faster. This opens up countless new opportunities. Additionally, this technology offers several benefits for businesses, such as reduced costs, improved energy efficiencies, predictive maintenance, increased reliability, smart manufacturing, and security enhancements.
Let’s Talk Soon
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The transportation industry on a whole has seen major opportunities for investment thanks to a myriad of technological advancements such as self-driving cars, ride sharing and alternative fuels. As technology permeates all global industries, the aviation industry has its own unique circumstances, and must turn to acquisitions and market share to create competitive advantages in the 21st century.
Major areas of focus include aerospace, defense, supersonic travel, artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, surveillance, and communications. The idea of space exploration has become more privatized. It is not just about commercial astronauts anymore, but about making it possible for everyday people to engage in space travel. Also, urban on-demand air transportation is redefining the possibilities for how people commute to work. This technological advancement is proposed to use three-dimensional airspace to ease traffic on the ground, save commuters time and money, and provide a safer yet still relatively quiet travel option.
Aerospace and Defense (A&D)
As global A&D spending increases, so does the opportunity for M&A activity. In our digitized world, threat and risk mitigation continue to take on more importance, resulting in more mergers and acquisitions within IT, cybersecurity, and space companies.
Commercial aerospace firms are stretching their aftermarket capabilities to gain repair revenue over the lifespan of an aircraft fleet and benefit from improvements within the areas of electronics and avionics.
Private equity investors are also becoming more attracted to this sector, looking to sink capital into targets that have high growth prospects and high margins.
Aircraft Backlogs and the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Market
Commercial aircraft order backlogs also drive M&A activity in the middle market, as equipment manufacturers within the supply chain must respond to the demand, and are sitting on a tall stack of orders. Over the next 20 years, around 40,000 new aircrafts are slotted for production. Major airlines have a tendency to prefer larger suppliers, so consolidation to create more efficient and reliable MROs is a tactic that ensures the orders can stay on pace without major delays. As this consolidation occurs, it becomes more difficult for smaller, independent MROs to compete, causing them to team up with larger original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in order to meet demand and avert delays.
There is an existing and growing pilot shortage that presents a major challenge for all airlines around the world. According to Boeing, it is estimated that 800,000 new pilots will be needed over the next 20 years. More pilots are reaching the mandatory retirement age at the same time that an increasing number of people around the world are booking flights. Plus, military expansion means a reduction in the pool of military pilots that are typically sourced by commercial aviation. These factors all combine to create new opportunities in M&A in the global aviation industry through the need for pilot training and the creation of new, more efficient flight simulators, as well as the development of autonomous piloting technologies.
A New Era of M&A
M&A activity is crucial to the many new types of developments in the global aviation industry. Private equity and venture capital are needed to keep the innovations coming, alongside the pursuance of new growth strategies and market retention by existing industry players. M&A in the aviation industry has become very much about bringing new services to new markets. This changes the way competitive companies must view each other, calling for more collaboration in order to drive innovation and create value.
It is strongly advised that anyone entering into the complex world of aviation M&A obtains an advisor that has the appropriate experience to conduct proper due diligence, navigate the intricacies of the industry, create the right connections, and be familiar with the industry-specific regulatory environments.
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Mergers and acquisitions in the global insurance industry carry their share of unique challenges. There is always the potential for increased regulation, and ever-changing technologies and infrastructures can make it expensive and difficult for companies to keep pace. When it comes to cross-border M&A, cultural integration is often overlooked. These factors make the world of M&A in the insurance sector complicated to navigate.
Key Drivers of M&A in the Insurance Industry
M&A activity in the global insurance sector becomes more dynamic as a result of several contributing factors and strategic objectives.
- Companies acknowledge the need for economies of scale and seek to expand by moving into global markets.
- Lower policy rates push industry players to consolidate to maintain profitability and find ways to remain competitive by uniting two synergistic companies and gain more value through scale efficiencies.
- Stagnant domestic markets result in cross-border targets.
- Organic growth cannot be relied upon to meet company goals.
- Heightened interest comes from a broad range of backers, from hedge funds to international investors.
- Low profitability results in low investment yields.
- Insurers need ways to spend large cash reserves.
- They need to integrate new technologies (such as mobile apps and big data) to revitalize flat business models, improve internal capabilities, reach customers, or gain market insights.
As with all M&A transactions, meticulous due diligence in the insurance industry is critical to a successful deal. While many due diligence topics for an insurance company overlap with that of all types of M&A transactions (property, tax records, employee issues, etc.), the insurance industry is subject to some unique scrutiny, such as:
- Regulatory issues (licensing, permitted practices, regulatory filings, and interactions with government agencies)
- Assessment and adequacy of reserves
- Structure of investment portfolio
- Underwriting and claims administration
- Market conduct and producers
- Reinsurance collectability
- Intercompany agreements
- Data security
- Compliance with privacy laws
Crafting of the purchase agreement in insurance M&A transactions is also an important part of the process. If done correctly, it will address both the unique nature of insurance companies and the regulatory environment in which they operate.
Indemnification provisions within insurance M&A agreements are similar to that of other industries, with exception of a few differences. An M&A transaction can call for unlimited indemnity protection for specific circumstances in which the buyer asks the seller to assume the risk. Common areas for specific indemnities include:
- Policyholder claims for extra-contractual obligations or claims that exceed policy limits
- Litigation specific to the insurance industry (i.e., class action policyholder lawsuits or regulatory actions for improper business conduct)
Cultural Integration in M&A
Global insurance executives have reported that overcoming cultural and organizational differences following a deal has been a significant challenge.
In order for cross-border M&A to be successful, leaders must look beyond financial motivations and consider how cultural integration can result in improved synergy and innovation. This can happen in several ways:
- The acquirer can completely assimilate the culture of the target company.
- The acquired company can maintain its own identity and independence.
- The two can meld, creating an entirely new culture.
The route a company chooses to take depends on the size of the two companies, the post-deal organizational structure, and the advantages generated by different cultural traits.
When companies carefully take culture into account, they can greatly benefit from the positive outcomes and lower the risk of failure in M&A. A cultural assessment should be conducted alongside due diligence far before the deal nears completion. This assessment should study the geographic locations, management styles, work habits, and attitudes of both companies. Successfully uniting employees from diverse backgrounds calls for a customized process that should not be rushed and includes clear and honest communication.
Steps for Success
When insurance companies are considering M&A for financial growth, geographic expansion, and bolstered competitiveness, there are certain steps that leadership should take to find the right type of deal and ensure a positive outcome.
- Assess the future of the industry, the trajectory of the business, and where the two align.
- Plan for different scenarios that could trigger economic changes in the next one to two years.
- Craft an M&A strategy that aligns with ownership’s goals.
- Choose target companies consistent with leadership’s overall strategy and long-term goals. What seems like a good idea today may not make sense for five to ten years down the road.
- Remain cognizant of the changing tax and regulatory environments.
- Evaluate in-house corporate development and overall integration abilities.
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The chemical manufacturing industry converts raw materials such as gasses and oils into chemicals such as ethylene, propylene, methanol, benzene, chlorine, and paraxylene. These chemicals are feedstocks for value chains that produce a wide array of intermediates, plastics, and performance materials that are used to create more than 70,000 registered productsaround the world. It is an extremely diverse and complicated industry. Because many of the industry’s products are intermediates, the customers of chemical companies are often other chemical companies.
Among the many factors that influence multi-billion dollar investment decisions include energy market trends, global economic growth, and regional trade dynamics. Investors seek sustainable competitive advantages regarding the costs of energy and feedstock, technology and scale, proximity to markets, and degree of integration.
Mergers and acquisitions have been a long-time tactic used among chemical companies to create growth, change strategic course, and consolidate segments. In an industry that has seen major expansion, certain factors can complicate M&A. This includes the substantial size of some transactions and merger-of-equals deals that are more complex to carry out.
Key drivers of M&A in the chemical manufacturing industry include:
- The pace of organic sales growthin sub-segments
- Consolidation driven by a need for innovation and fewer opportunities to differentiate from competitors in high-value and specialty-chemical areas
- The state of capital-markets returns and a campaign for higher valuations
- An abundance of capital and private equity interest and access to low-cost finance
Digitization & Optimization
Technology continues to transform all industries in the modern world, and the chemical manufacturing industry is no different. Data management through advanced analytics is enabling plant optimization across sites, improved supply chains, and infrastructure synergies. Digital solutions reduce downtime and costs as a result of maintenance and repairs. Sensors monitor plant and warehousing conditions, improving logistics. Also, a vast amount of field operator workload can be transferred to automation and robotics, allocating people resources elsewhere in the business and creating more opportunities for up-skilling. Implementation of these technologies results in revenue improvements.
The Circular Economy of Plastic Waste Recycling
Plastics production accounts for more than one third of the chemical industry’s manufacturing activities. But only a small percentage of these plastics are being recycled, resulting in resources that are lost forever into landfills. Global plastics waste volumes are expected to reach 460 million tons per year by 2030. Public outcry for sustainability is rising and raw material supplies are growing tighter, forcing the chemical industry to adapt on this issue. New plastic recycling methods offer new opportunities for value-creating growth for petrochemicals companies. Instead of focusing on the problem that plastic waste creates, companies are starting to recognize the billion-dollar profit pool it represents through new types of businesses, resulting in an entirely new landscape for M&A activity.
Additionally, activist investors are playing a larger part in the chemicals sector. Activist investors attempt to create change within a company by purchasing a large number of shares or board seats. These players are emerging influencers of M&A activity and they have an ever-increasing role in the chemical industry through restructuring initiatives. This creates new challenges for industry executives because long-term strategic planning is not a typical priority of activist investors. Although activist investors are capable of delivering solutions that add value, they usually are more interested in shorter-term, higher valuations and results. This often results in cost-cutting measures, shareholder buybacks, and the splitting off of company divisions.
Successful Chemical Industry M&A
Deals that employ proven M&A best practices will yield higher total returns to shareholders. Capturing the full value potential of a deal requires specific industry knowledge and expertise. To craft a successful deal in the chemical sector, sellers should enlist the advice and methodologies of dedicated M&A experts such as those at Benchmark International. They should also:
- Monitor the field to identify potential opportunities
- Review their portfolios to ensure current assets fit their core business
- Look for gaps that may need to be filled for fast action when opportunities arise
- Prepare non-core businesses in order to maximize value from a deal
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“Big data” has revolutionized the once traditional methods of analyzing data, making it possible to source more data at a much faster rate and with a great deal of variables. Companies that curate these massive databases do so to help businesses across all industries make more carefully calculated business decisions.
Big data sources revenue from software, hardware and professional services. It encompasses security, storage, infrastructure, networking, discovery tools, applications, and analytics, just to name a few.
The power of big data has grown with the widespread use of smartphones, social media and apps, and its technology continues to grow into edge environments, such as network nodes and industrial machines. Data is flowing between organizations of all sizes to help save time, save money, improve relationships, provide valuable insights, and advance technology. Big data is a major player in automation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the Internet of things—innovations that are impacting virtually every industry in the world.
In an increasingly digitized society, everyone is looking to get a piece of the data pie. Technology companies are built on and around data. Advertising agencies look to acquire data companies in order to gain a competitive edge when it comes to understanding consumer behavior and targeting ads to audiences. Healthcare companies are spending billions on data companies to transform everything from precision medicine to medical records. In education, teaching and learning methodologies are being transformed by the use of big data. Mergers and acquisitions firms are using big data to improve target company searches and results. Essentially, there is no industry that is not somehow touched by the use of big data, and that results in sweeping opportunities for M&A transactions.
Big Data’s Impact on M&A
While individuals, companies and governments across many different business sectors are using big data more frequently, new techniques are making it possible to analyze big data more effectively. This can have a significant effect on certain areas of M&A, such as strategy, business model validation, and valuation.
- M&A strategies include value creation, operational synergies, risk arbitrage, and company turnaround. An M&A strategy is defined by the goals of the company, the skillsets of the M&A team members, and market factors that determine timing and viability. These factors are becoming more data driven in the making of strategic choices.
- Big data is greatly improving M&A target searches and screening processes. Better screening can lead to better matching of buyers and sellers, leading to a higher percentage of successful deal closings.
- Big data is making it possible to get a more detailed analysis of a company’s core business model regarding growth, market patterns, customer preferences, and market reaction to products.
- Combining big data with market-based valuation techniques will make it possible to extract multiples from much wider market databases. It will also make it faster and more reliable to compare a target company and the company’s valuation reference set.
Regulatory and Privacy Issues
While big data offers major benefits for companies of all industries—with benefits that are passed on to customers through a heightened understanding of their needs—there can be certain challenges when it comes to legal issues that concern privacy, government regulations, international access, and increased scrutiny of information collection practices.
A prime example of what big data must contend with is the changing privacy laws in Europe. In 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)replaced an older law from 1995, creating a new regulation for privacy that affects organizations within the E.U., as well as organizations outside of the E.U. that offer goods and services to residents of the E.U. In addition to requiring clear privacy notices for users, the law also requires that organizations give 72-hours notice of a data breach. Users must also be given certain information about how their data will be used and are allowed to request deletion of their content.
The GDPR law is limited in that it only regulates data pertaining to individuals and not organizations, but it does have the potential to limit the type of data gathered. With such a rapidly growing industry that affects so many people and industries, it can be expected that other countries will take similar actions to regulate the use of big data, especially in the United States.
We do things differently. Please reach out to our M&A specialists at Benchmark International if you are thinking of selling a company in the middle and lower middle markets. We will formulate a partnership that works in your best interests, using our unique databases to thoroughly identify every possible option until we find the perfect solution for you and your business.READ MORE >>
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.
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:READ MORE >>
Common drivers of mergers and acquisitions in the global health and life insurance industry include the entry into new markets, access to new technologies, valuation trends, and reaction to regulatory changes. With growth strategies leading the charge, market expansion is often made possible through the acquisition of target companies that optimize product portfolios and customer bases, especially those that provide relatively easy yet quite valuable add-on opportunities, as organic growth does not come easily in the insurance space.READ MORE >>
The trillion dollar advertising space is a rapidly changing industry with most of the action happening on the digital marketing side. As the world’s digital advertising revenues increase, there is a global demand for more online content. Lead generation, advertising, search engine optimization, and affiliate partnerships are major drivers of income in the 21st century marketing industry. This demand drives up the value of content-related businesses and digital marketing agencies in an era where everyone is glued to their connected devices. All of this screen time has caused traditional advertisers (print, TV, outdoor, radio) to shift their largest spends to digital marketing tactics and mobile internet advertising, even outspending television ads.
Worldwide digital advertising spending is predicted to reach $517 billion by the end of the year 2023.
The robust growth, sheer size, and high fragmentation of the digital marketing sector has led to healthy mergers and acquisitions activity involving digital agencies. Everyone from traditional advertising agencies to private equity investors is seeking target companies that offer growth benefits.
The establishment of digital capabilities and relationships has become a major priority for traditional ad agencies and their large holding companies as they look to grow their digital revenue and expand their portfolios. As conventional media continues to be displaced by digital marketing, the percentage of media spend on digital marketing on behalf of traditional ad agencies will continue to grow.
In the digital marketing industry, there is also growing popularity of technologies that offer individualized features and more in-depth experiences. Brands are being pushed to invest and acquire these types of technologies while post-sales marketing has become a more prominent element along the customer journey.
- The use of chatbots and personalized messaging is enhancing customer experiences.
- Audio queries made possible by smart devices and digital assistants are driving voice search.
- Online video advertising is a quickly growing segment.
- Artificial intelligence analytics are helping to better target marketing strategies based off of real-time data. This data leads to meaningful insights that are used to improve customer interaction, and optimize media budgets and marketing strategies.
- Social search is changing e-commerce and vehicles for product reviews and recommendations.
This industry is sure to see more and more future technologies that have yet to be developed, continuing to drive rapid change and growth, and create opportunities for M&A.
Large User Platforms
Giant platform companies such as Google and Facebook provide free digital products and services but are still able to profit because they reach such massive audiences.
The larger the platform, the more consumer data is collected. The more a consumer uses the platform, the more information is gleaned about them. And with more data, the platform can better tailor the content consumers see, and keep them on the platform longer. This results in improved customer experiences and more advertising capacity, which means better understanding of consumers, heightened influence, and more revenue from targeted advertising.
Affiliate partnerships use affiliate websites to promote products or services that belong to another company. The valuation of an affiliate website depends on the specific terms of the affiliate program. These factors include longevity, product category and seasonality, commission tiers, high caliber content, and the link portfolio. Websites that fulfill these attributes often have the better earnings, margins and lifecycle, which are attractive to investors. For valuation purposes, advertising agencies are similar to affiliate businesses because they are dependent upon content and end-user action to produce revenue.
These types of partnerships that monetize content also apply to offline businesses that need new and better ways to generate access to audiences. Investors also tend to be drawn to this segment based on existing relationships that can be used to an advantage.
Some digital marketing agencies are being established with the goal of selling in mind. There are extremely low entry barriers when it comes to creating a digital marketing firm, but there are also limited benefits to growth. Some brands do not wish to work with a huge firm. And low employee tenure means lower retained corporate knowledge in an industry where talent retention is already incredibly challenging.
An agency with strong historical growth and projected growth of more than 20% can lead to strong multiples. The purchase of smaller agencies offers opportunities for growth for the large advertising agency groups and an easy way to cash out for the leadership of the smaller agencies.
Please feel free to contact our M&A advisors at Benchmark International to discuss your next move. Our industry expertise and global connections are true game changers when it comes to selling or growing a company, and forming an exit plan.READ MORE >>
Manufacturers in the global packaging industry produce items such as bags, films, air pillows, bubble cushioning, heavy plastics, aluminum foil, paperboard, and corrugated materials.
In a segment that is greatly influenced by transportation and logistics costs, strategic buyers look for options that offer attractive margin profiles, cost-savings manufacturing advantages, shareholder growth options, and deals that broaden industry presence and consolidate business lines. Private equity buyers are inclined to focus on niche opportunities that leverage unique and proprietary capabilities and offer strong returns.
In this particular sector, lenders tend to show willingness to finance deals among packaging companies, which boosts healthy valuations. This is because packaging manufacturers are able to generate strong cash flow and are not overly vulnerable to economic downturns.
Growth from E-commerce
As long as e-commerce continues to thrive and the world demands sustainable and cost-efficient packaging solutions, the demand for packaging products will persist, driving mergers and acquisitions activity in this highly fragmented industry.
Protective packaging solutions are naturally of significant interest to e-commerce companies, as is machinery that uses automation to improve packaging processes. There is a demand for packaging companies that can offer innovative and attractive packing solutions that are protective but lightweight and focused on reducing package footprint size.
Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
The FMCG segment involves high-volume, low-cost products that move quickly off the shelves of stores, such as paper products, cosmetics, medicines, detergents, and plastic goods. Packaging is top priority in the FMCG market because of how it directly affects brand positioning, differentiation, and high visibility through the use of graphics and product information. It plays a major role in consumers’ purchase decisions in a very competitive environment.
FMCG packaging makes up a large share of the costs involved in product manufacturing. Companies must look to innovation in packaging to reduce operational costs.
Increasing populations, technological advancements, and a demand for eco-friendly packaging are all key drivers of growth in the FMCG sector. Food and beverage is the largest market for investment from packaging companies.
On the supply side, the FMCG packaging market is highly fragmented with fewer companies having a substantial share in the overall market, leading to fewer barriers to entry. Additionally, the challenges for growth in this sector include issues surrounding skilled labor, equipment and machinery.
Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
Medical plastics are a major driver of high valuations in the packaging sector. The healthcare industry is subject to significant regulatory and technical requirements and there is a need for companies that can fulfill their specific and complex packaging needs, which include thermoforming and injection molding techniques. The injection-molding sector is especially fragmented and highly competitive with steadily growing revenues and opportunities for consolidation.
There is also a demand for smart packaging technologies that help to combat the counterfeiting of medicines.
Packaging companies that serve medical device and component companies tend to enjoy stronger customer relationships, steadier revenue, better pricing power, and higher valuations. M&A activity in this area is highly focused on technology and expansion of capabilities.
Sustainability is an important factor in the packaging industry at every step of the value chain, as consumers and regulators apply pressure regarding environmental impacts of packaging applications. In addition to functionality and convenience, it is a key criterion in purchasing decisions. This demand for novel solutions and green technologies creates a noteworthy opportunity for industry players.
Plastics are cost-efficient, convenient, and have useful characteristics in packaging, so their use remains in demand. However, there is a sweeping campaign to reduce the use of plastic in packaging materials.
Airless packaging systems are a growing market. They are designed to limit waste and contamination while improving product shelf life. These packaging products include bags, pouches, bottles, jars, and tubes.
As there is a growing need for packaging companies to lessen the environmental effects of their products, those that stay ahead of the curve by incorporating these solutions will benefit from substantial growth opportunities and will draw plenty of attention for M&A activity.
If you feel the time has come to enter into a merger or acquisition, reach out to our specialists at Benchmark International to get the ball rolling. Our customized solutions, global buyer network, and proprietary methodologies have the power to execute deals that are designed to always exceed seller expectations.READ MORE >>
The construction materials industry is comprised of suppliers of the raw materials used by builders in both commercial and residential construction. This wide array of materials are both natural and man-made:
- Limestone, granite, sand, clay, gypsum
- Cement, gravel and crushed stone
- Bricks, mortar, concrete, asphalt, and other materials
- Wood, timber, plywood and veneer
- Glass, plastics, ceramics and foam
- Steel, copper and aluminum
Mergers and acquisitions in this space are highly dependent on market predictability. This particular sector is susceptible to various factors that dictate its economic health and prosperity. These include:
- GDP growth
- Trade and tariff issues
- Interest rates
- The strength of the housing markets
- Labor shortages
- The cyclical demand imposed by seasonality and the weather
The top three global markets that lead the way and have the most potential for growth in the building materials industry are Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and the United States. Population growth and sprawling urbanization increase the demand for construction, and therefore increases the demand for construction materials.
The construction materials sector is quite fragmented with relatively low concentrations of market share, low barriers to entry, and high availability of alternate manufacturing capabilities (such as in hardware and cabinetry). As industry leaders typically concentrate on high-demand markets, access to substitutes creates opportunities for smaller players, allowing them to serve niche and lower-demand markets.
In contrast, some sub-sectors are more integrated because they depend greatly on one or a few key materials, so industry leaders often occupy a major portion of the market (such as insulation or countertops).
Key Drivers of M&A
In the construction materials industry, key drivers for M&A activity include:
- Large project backlogs with healthy margins
- A need for revenue growth in a sector where organic growth is challenging to achieve
- The availability of low-cost debt financing
- Improved supply channels
- The level of demand for housing
Strategic buyers seek acquisitions in this space in order to:
- Strengthen their market positions by adding competitors and niche companies
- Develop a technological advantage and build a stronger brand
- Expand globally and take advantage of established distribution networks
- Fuel growth and improve margins through economies of scale
- Integrate customer bases and create barriers to entry
An Untapped Opportunity
The global construction materials industry is one of the least digitized industries in the modern world. It already faces plenty of inherent challenges, and paperwork slows down processes. New operational tools can offer better ways to evaluate performance and allow real-time views into inventory, transit, and fleet operations.
There is an opportunity for all stakeholders to benefit substantially from digitization and automation within this particular industry. These improvements include better productivity, greater cost savings, enhanced customer service, and a powerful competitive edge. Adaptation of new technologies in this industry can also unlock new opportunities for M&A transactions as companies look for easier paths to accessing innovation.
The Advent of New Materials
Technology is changing more than the way construction material companies do business. It is also changing the materials themselves. As the world looks to more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction projects, builders will look to new materials, and the suppliers of construction materials must be prepared to keep pace. New innovations in materials include:
- The recycling of plastic to build roads
- Carbon dioxide-infused concrete to improve durability
- Self-healing concrete
- 3D-printed materials
- Translucent wood as a low cost resource
- Hydroceramics (temperature-reducing bricks)
- Light-generating cement
- Modular bamboo
- Aluminum foam
- Bricks that absorb pollution and filter air
- Algae-infused energy-producing wall panels
The construction industry serves almost every other industry, and is the single largest worldwide consumer of resources and raw materials. It is also a massive generator of waste due to demolition. There can be great value in exploring changes in the way buildings are constructed and the materials that are used. Even small changes have the ability to produce substantial benefits for society simply because of the sheer magnitude of the industry. Project owners and investors can play an important part in propelling the industry forward.
At Benchmark International, our M&A specialists are on standby, just waiting for you to enlist their partnership in selling your business or growing your company. Let us put our exceptional strategies, proprietary technologies and global connections to work for you.READ MORE >>
Globalization of healthcare contributes to a continually developing global medical services industry that encompasses hospital, physician and clinical, nursing and continuing care facilities, home healthcare, surgical facilities, emergency services, laboratories and other providers.
An industry that was once about volume-based care has strategically shifted to value-based care. Because this requires improvements in facility efficiencies and quality, it also calls for more specialized external service providers. One tactic that medical services companies are using to gain competitive advantage is to keep their core caregiver and third-party caregiver groups under the same roof. As medical services must now deliver on value-based care, there is an increased need for integration of care and management of financial constraints.
As populations increase, especially aging populations, and chronic diseases remain prevalent, the demand for medical services increases, and so does the demand for specialized medical caregivers.
By the year 2030, it is estimated that the global demand for health workers will reach 80 million workers, while the supply of health workers is only expected to reach 65 million over the same period. This will result in a worldwide shortage of 15 million health workers.
When regulatory burdens on healthcare companies are reduced, technological advancement escalates, creating opportunities for medical technology companies including mobile and wireless providers. Also, advancements in surgical techniques result in less invasive treatments and shorter recovery times, altering the traditional hospital model. Additionally, third-party lab providers and research companies grow in demand along with the need for more complex clinical tests and services.
M&A Due Diligence
Mergers and acquisitions in the medical services industry require especially savvy due diligence in order to obtain a completely accurate assessment and valuation. Deals can be particularly complicated between hospitals and health systems.
As a seller, it can be extremely important to have sell-side due diligence conducted. Getting ahead in the process months in advance can be well worth the costs. When it comes to the medical services industry, billing and coding issues can trigger major delays in any M&A transaction.
Other benefits of sell-side due diligence include:
- Enhanced credibility and positive reputation of the seller on the market
- The increased possibility of higher bids
- Adequate preparation for management and employees so that there is minimal disruption in workplace operations
- The potential of a shorter due diligence cycle on the buyer’s side
- A decrease in the chances of surprises that can derail a deal, which can increase the likelihood of the transaction being a successful one
Medical Services M&A Drivers
Among the key drivers of M&A activity in the global medical services industry, the top reasons include:
- The goal of increased market share to broaden networks and patient access
- Improved integration across the continuum of care
- Keeping pace with increasing prevalence of consumerism, which includes more convenient, non-traditional care settings
- Gaining access to capital for investment in staff, new technologies, medical equipment, and improved operations
- A way to improve efficiencies and enhance patient satisfaction
- Reaction to rising consolidation among insurance payers
- A growing need for alternative payment models, which reimburse providers based on value rather than volume of services
Traits of High-value Targets
In this sector, the attributes of high-value M&A transactions can vary greatly, however certain characteristics can be found to be consistent across most successful deals:
- A defined operating model with strategic vision and revenue-growth and cost-reduction strategies
- Transparency in communications regarding culture and organizational goals
- Focused integration planning that aligns with the deal’s rationale
M&A in Diagnostics
Diagnostics present unique circumstances for M&A activity apart from the medical services industry. Clinical laboratories in the medical services industry vary in size, business model, areas of concentration, R&D capabilities, as well as in their relationships with providers and payers. With countless labs in operation, acquiring the right one can be challenging. Large public labs tend to focus on deal volume, while other buyers are interested in the laboratory testing market, and private equity leans towards companies with attractive cash flow yields. In many cases, because diagnostic manufacturers, life-science companies, and big pharma all need access to patient and pathology samples for research and development, labs are strategically acquired by non-laboratory healthcare companies.
If you are looking for exit and growth strategies, Benchmark International offers unique ways to identify the perfect buyer, take your company to the next level, and create dream exits. We look forward to working with you.READ MORE >>
Information Technology (IT) services encapsulate maintenance and security with regard toonsite and remote tech support,infrastructure, computers, servers, networks, workstations,firewalls, cloud services, web development, systems integration, telecom, patch management, software updates, big data, and virus and malware prevention.READ MORE >>
Facility services providers deliver a wide array of outsourced support functions to commercial, industrial, multifamily and residential facilities, including:
- Janitorial, sanitation, and general maintenance and repair
- Mechanical, electrical, HVAC and plumbing
- Fire and safety
- Disaster recovery
- Sign and lighting
- Parking lot maintenance, lighting, and snow management
- Pest control
Driving the Demand
This several-hundred-billion-dollar global market is largely driven by commercial construction projects, a focus on reducing building operating costs, and outsourced facility management operations.
Heightened commercial construction activity galvanizes the necessity for facility support services because commercial premises require constant upkeep, repair, surveillance and cleaning. Increases in these construction and renovation projects are stimulated by:
- Strong levels of consumer and business confidence
- The need for rebuilding following natural disasters
- Increased corporate investment in capital expenditures
- Low interest rates
Any sustained action within these types of projects creates a favorable M&A environment for facility services providers.
Regulatory organizations also prompt the need for outsourcing of facility support services, as companies must deal with pressure regarding workplace health and safety protections and environmental regulations. These particular liabilities are why some facility services providers also offer value-added services such as risk management and labor law supervision.
The facility services sector has a history of drawing the attention of private equity, as investors seek asset-light business models with recurring revenue and add-on acquisitions. Additionally, large public companies continue to drive consolidation in their end markets. Because this industry is so fragmented, there is ample opportunity for strategic and cross-border acquisitions that lead to expanded geographic presences and broader product offerings.
In this particular commercial services industry, there has been a tendency for certain acquirers to buy up several companies over the course of a shorter timeframe, most often in the testing, inspection, and certification segment. It has not been uncommon for one company to acquire more than five companies within one year. These types of serial buyers have developed a very streamlined approach to the M&A process, from evaluation to integration. Because of this, investors see these strategies as a steady source of growth, prompting companies to actively seek numerous incremental acquisitions.
Due Diligence and Acquisition Platforms
Because the M&A environment in the facility services market is very competitive and there is a prevalence of serial acquisitions, up-front due diligence is key to seeing a deal through to success. Aggressive buyers are able to gain an edge by conducting more of their due diligence prior to the formal launch of the deal process. This also aids in speeding up the endeavor.
An important element of the due diligence process for serious buyers in the facility services industry is the viability of the target company to serve as a platform for subsequent acquisitions. Many buyers view this ability as a mandatory feature of a deal. The prospect of future add-on acquisitions allows buyers to lower the overall acquisition multiple and get a better return on capital. This makes it a critical part of the due diligence process.
As the Internet of Things prompts transformation within all industries, the facility services sector has seen a shift towards software-based technologies.
- Digital facility maintenance platforms have improved the efficiency of processing work orders and enable more effective cross-organizational communication.
- Innovative technologies are being implemented to reduce maintenance costs, avoid expensive failures, and extend the life of equipment.
- The use of data systems enables providers to help clients reduce costs and energy consumption.
- Online systems make labor markets more flexible, improving productivity through on-demand workforces.
- Digitization enhances compliance with regulations regarding safety, zoning codes and financial transparency.
As interest in facility software platforms and support solutions continues to grow, so does investor interest.
Is your company ready for the next step? Set up a chat with one of our M&A experts at Benchmark International and we can discuss growth strategies, exit planning, or the partial or complete sale of your business. Our exclusive processes and global connections make our approach to M&A unique, which is why our clients love working with us.READ MORE >>
The segment of the trillion-dollar construction industry that includes building and maintenance offers opportunities for growth in both residential and nonresidential building construction. Buildings are becoming more intricate as owners and residents expect more from their homes, workplaces and other structures. There are major opportunities for construction and service providers due to the required maintenance of new systems, and the need to upgrade or replace existing systems. This is a great driver of mergers and acquisitions interest and activity in the sector.
Another significant driver of M&A in this industry is the need for vertical integration between companies including equipment manufacturers and building technology providers. These businesses seek to grow their service capabilities through the convergence of innovation and traditional mechanical and electrical building services. Target companies that draw the most attention from buyers are often specialty contractors that have proven success in working within the ever-changing technology landscape in the industry. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing companies that are willing to adopt building information modeling, prefabrication capabilities, and data center knowledge are more likely to draw attention from interested acquirers in this sector.
Construction project delivery methods are also a driver of vertical integration and M&A activity. In addition to the traditional design-bid-build delivery method is:
- Construction manager at risk (CMAR): The owner selects a construction manager (CM) to be responsible for the project using criteria such as construction cost, quality, track record, project approach and deadline-meeting ability. The design and construction are contracted separately, and the CM offers input on the budget, cost estimation, scheduling, and review of design drawings to ascertain issues and potential savings. Construction pricing is started early in the design process and refined as it progresses, giving a final guaranteed maximum price (GMP) to the owner prior to construction. GMPs are often comprised of a cost-plus-fixed-fee structure, where the actual project costs for labor and materials are passed through to the owner, and the CM charges a fixed fee on top of that amount.
- Design-build (DB): The owner hires a crew under a single contract to deliver the construction project from start to finish, for both the design and the construction components. Pricing changes are kept to a minimum, and usually only occur when unknown conditions or owner requests increase the cost.
- Integrated project delivery (IPD):The owner chooses an architect/engineer and CM prior to the start of the design. All three sign a joint contract after agreeing upon all objectives. Increased collaboration is thought to reduce overall risk.
- Public-private partnership (3P): Under this model, a contract is established between a government entity and a private corporation to fund, construct, renovate, operate and maintain public infrastructure. The private entity gets back income generated from the project in order to pay off and eventually profit from the investment.
As integrated delivery methods gain popularity across more and more markets, contractors look to M&A to add in-house design services through strategic partnerships that give them a competitive advantage.
Additionally, some companies are taking vertical integration in the building sector to the next level. In order to cut down on time and reduce costs in a building construction project, they are vertically integrating the model of design, material supply, manufacturing, logistics, and assembly.
As in most industries, the acquisition of technological solutions is an inevitable driver of M&A in the building and maintenance industry. Technology provides a vehicle for differentiation for companies operating in this sector. Construction technology startups are on the rise, offering new software solutions and innovating the way buildings are constructed.
- Building information modeling (BIM) uses 3D models to streamline collaboration.
- Mobile technology enables real-time data collection and communication between job sites and project managers.
- Cloud-based solutions allow job-site employees to perform tasks such as submitting timesheets and expense reports, and accessing work records.
- Artificial intelligence is transforming data and predicting future outcomes for projects.
- Virtual reality is being used in training and to improve worker safety.
- Wearable technology is also being used to enhance job-site safety.
- Autonomous heavy equipment is allowing companies to do the same amount of work with a smaller number of workers.
- Robots are being used to monitor construction progress and drones are being used to photograph sites.
- Site sensors monitor environmental conditions such as noise, temperature and other factors.
Bringing all types of new technology in-house is a key competitive advantage for companies in this space. The growing role of technology in the construction sector results in revised strategies for some companies, which impacts acquisition strategies.READ MORE >>
The engineering services sector is made up of Engineering Services Outsourcing (ESO) firms or Engineering Service Providers (ESPs) that specialize in planning, design, and technical work at each stage of a product lifecycle. ESO is commonly used by industries such as construction, automotive, telecom, energy, transportation, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. Among the services offered by ESO that are consistently in high demand are structural, architectural, civil, and electrical engineering.
Industry Growth Drivers
Growth in the engineering services industry is stimulated by circumstances that include:
- Increasing technical complexities regarding product development and manufacturing
- A need to reduce costs
- Shorter product lifecycles
- Demand for innovation
- Increasing tie-ups between ESPs and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
The Demand for ESO
As clients demand more complex solutions and shorter product lifecycles, there is a growing need for the use of subcontractors through ESO. Shorter duration solutions result in renewed managed service contracts, helping ESO businesses to do well. Additionally, some engineering companies opt to use ESO as an extension of their own capabilities.
Other reasons that companies choose to use ESO include:
- Access to more cutting-edge technologies and more complex engineering services
- The ability to focus time and resources on other critical tasks such as marketing
- Need for less office space and lower office equipment costs
- Faster project turnaround that can result in improved client satisfaction
- Access to services on an as-needed basis
- Around the clock support services
ESO demand is also affected by the specific needs of individual industry sectors.
- ESO in consumer electronics is driven by consumer demand for enhanced mobility and entertainment, and the better exchange of information between devices for data and media.
- Both onshore and offshore ESO is used in the automotive segment in developing countries due to their high demand for passenger vehicles and economical cars. Demands in developed countries include car connectivity, advanced driver assistance, Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication.
- Tech companies, OEMs and semiconductor companies look to ESO for assistance in developing next-generation smart devices. These businesses also employ ESO to stay competitive by focusing on product localization needs, new features, and industry best practices.
- The telecom industry accounts for a major share of ESO revenue as global telecom companies continue to expand their market presence around the world.
Adapting to the Tech Era
In today’s digital world, engineering services companies must adapt their business models to focus on emerging technologies and their integration with manufacturing and engineering services. This adaptation is crucial to realize the full potential of these growth opportunities. These technologies include data, sensors, the Internet of Things, embedded electronics, Machine-to-Machine adoption, and other digital transformative solutions.
The Need for M&A
As delivery methods for engineering services continue to change, engineering firms must either look to acquire new technologies, or diversify into higher value advisory services and focus on forming strong client relationships. Mergers and acquisitions are a resourceful path to establishing these services in a highly competitive market.
M&A strategies are also vital to creating growth and uncovering new strategic pathways. Larger companies look to acquire smaller companies in order to remain relevant, close talent gaps, expand to new regions, and strengthen their portfolio of offerings. This increased consolidation results in the prevalence of more one-stop service providers.
Because larger engineering services firms have more developed infrastructure and economies of scale, they are able to easily outbid smaller firms. This makes it problematic for the smaller firms that are trying to keep up and stay profitable. As a result of such challenges, many small engineering services companies are forced to rethink their options and consider partnership with larger firms through acquisitions.
M&A as a Succession Solution
Additionally, private engineering services companies may face succession issues because they typically have one or two founders who eventually plan to retire. When these particular business owners choose to exit the company, in many cases the next generation either cannot afford to buy out its departing leaders or is unwilling to do so. In these situations, M&A transactions are an ideal way for middle-market leadership to solve succession-planning issues, form a strong exit strategy, and set up the future trajectory for the company.
Please reach out to our cross-border M&A specialists at Benchmark International to start the conversation about selling your business or devising your exit strategy. We can offer unique perspectives, services and tools that work in concert to arrange a deal that delivers on your every aspiration. We think you will like what we bring to the table.READ MORE >>
The modern manufacturing industry on a whole is continually undergoing somewhat of a seismic shift in operations thanks to rapidly changing technologies, globalization, rising wages, and demands for higher quality standards, shorter timelines, and more customization. These factors reshape strategic imperatives and decision making, largely in part to emerging disruptive technologies in the machinery and equipment manufacturing industries.
Technology Driving M&A
As is the case with most industries in the 21stcentury, the availability of new technologies is driving major opportunities for mergers and acquisitions in the industrial-equipment manufacturing sector. Some of these game-changing technologies include:
- Data Centers: As the use of data centers becomes more and more prevalent in the machinery and equipment manufacturing industry, there is an increasing demand for mass power generation and back-up power generating systems. Because data centers consume a tremendous amount of energy, there is also a need for growth within the market of energy-efficient industrial solutions that have the capability to reduce operational costs. The data center construction market is forecasted to reach $45 billion by 2023.
- Sensors and Control Systems: Wireless sensor networks offer a cost-effective way for data center operators to implement system changes that reduce energy consumption. Sensors detect and log specific operating conditions such as temperature, pressure, torque, load, and lighting. Control systems ensure proper workflow and identify potential problems and hazards. The addition of these technologies expedites digital strategies and creates a solid platform for connected solutions in safety and maintenance. By the year 2022, the sensor market is expected reach $27.4 billion and the control systems market is projected to reach $50 billion.
- High-performance Computing (HPC): HPC is the practice of aggregating computing power in a manner that enables performance that is far beyond what is capable of typical desktop computers. It uses parallel processing to run advanced applications quickly and efficiently. Companies in the equipment-manufacturing sector are using HPC throughout the entire product lifecycle.
- Automation: Industrial companies are increasingly using automation and predictive analytics to overhaul processes, improve capabilities and rectify previous operational inefficiencies. Specifically, automation is playing a major role in the use of industrial machinery in the food and beverage sector, driving M&A transactions. The global factory automation market is expected to reach $368.4 million by 2025.
- The Internet of Things (IoT): The implementation of all of these technological advancements has led to a need for IoT networks that connect them across operational platforms. These networks enable machinery and equipment to communicate for the purpose of recording data, merging systems, and rooting out costly disruptions. The access to such knowledge gives companies the power to improve their manufacturing processes and the entire supply chain. The global industrial IoT market is expected to reach $933.6 billion by 2025.
Driving Acquisitions and Competition
Because it is simply easier for large industrial companies to buy smaller niche companies that offer specialized technological capabilities rather than attempting to develop them in-house, acquisitions in this sector are a favorable tactic. Additionally, the ability of a buyer to leverage new technology within its own operations and distribution channels gives strategic acquirers far better synergistic potential. Even in light of this fact, there remains growing interest on behalf on private equity investors, creating a competitive M&A environment in the machinery and equipment industry.
Target Company Attributes
Regarding M&A activity in the global machinery and equipment manufacturing industry, target companies that possess the following characteristics typically garner higher multiples:
- Predictable revenue stream
- Stable contracts with well-capitalized customers
- Long-term customer relationships
- Demonstrated sales diversification strategies
- Business lines that can withstand cycles and recessions
- Opportunities for growth
- New end-markets and geographical locations
- Cross-selling to existing customers
- Bolt-on acquisitions
- Growth-supporting infrastructure
- Ability to maintain projected revenues
- Long-term control over facilities
- Proper maintenance of equipment
- Technical product differentiation
- Strong and stable management
- Depth and continuity
- Cohesive culture
- Technology investments
- Strong finance management
- Post-enterprise resource implementation
- Dependable, quality data
It is strongly advised that business owners who are seeking M&A strategies partner with an experienced M&A advisory firm that understands the intricacies of the industry and has the kind of global connections and prowess that maximizes value.
Is it time to make a move? Our experts at Benchmark International are standing by, eager to partner with you on M&A strategies that can achieve all of your objectives for the sale or growth of your business. Please contact us at your convenience.READ MORE >>
The provision of healthcare to patients is the delivery of interventions within an organizational or home setting, including medical services, devices, health insurance, pharmaceuticals, and facilities.
Healthcare Around the World
The provision of public healthcare was not a priority until the last 100 years. Prior to World War I, public healthcare expenditure on healthcare was less than 1% of all national incomes worldwide. Today, the countries with the highest levels of public healthcare spending commit nearly 10% of their national revenue to it.
Wealthier nations spend more per person on healthcare and, not surprisingly, they have longer rates of life expectancy.
In most countries, government is heavily involved in healthcare markets. And in most wealthy countries, such as in Europe and Canada, the government runs the healthcare system. Universal healthcare is achieved in these nations through:
- Government tax-funded systems
- Privately run but government funded systems
- Private insurance but with regulation and subsidies to ensure universal coverage and non-discrimination based on pre-existing conditions
The United States is the only industrialized nation with no universal healthcare option, where big pharmaceutical companies and insurance giants wield heavy influence on the industry.
Many developing countries make an effort to provide universal healthcare but face challenges associate with poverty, corruption, and inequality. There is also reliance on foreign aid.
A major difference between government-funded and market-based healthcare lies in the realm of medical innovation and advancement in new, effective treatments. Under government-financed systems, price and budgetary limits and other restrictions reduce investment in medical research.
Healthcare provision is extremely complex and is also subject to cultural, political, social, and economic conditions. This makes the sector very different from other business markets that operate based on supply and demand, especially when governments ensure that healthcare provisions are distributed in adherence with certain policies.
A New Era in Healthcare Provision
Healthcare spending makes up a growing share of the world economy. As the 21stcentury progresses, the provision of healthcare to patients is undergoing changes to the overall landscape. People are living longer and spending more on healthcare. Evolving technologies are changing every aspect of healthcare. Chronic diseases remain a burden on healthcare systems. And more integration is needed for the continued improvement of the provision of healthcare to patients.
New technologies, such as fitness monitors for example, are empowering people to take more control over their own health. There is an opportunity to further help patients play a larger role in symptom disease management and their overall health through continued innovation in the healthcare sector.
There is a massive opportunity to improve patient outcomes through the engagement between clinicians and patients. Healthcare facilities are being reimagined so that they are designed around patient experiences rather than the need of the providers. They are also being digitally equipped with interfaces that streamline admission processes and recordkeeping, improve the continuity of care, and ultimately provide better patient care. New digital frameworks are allowing facilities to be updated rather than entirely rebuilt when technology undergoes drastic changes.
Integrated care is a growing focus in the healthcare provisions sector. How communities work with facilities is being reexamined to formulate the right platforms for patients and alleviate the demand for inpatient beds.
Healthcare Provision and M&A
Mergers and acquisitions in healthcare tend to always be a topic of debate, as they can have a serious impact on the patient experience. And as M&A healthcare deals become more frequent, concerns over monopolies arise. However, structure changes can be quite vital for some companies to survive in an ever-evolving industry. Additionally, M&A can actually help patients have better access to quality care and improve costs.
- According to the American Hospital Association, certain mergers can boost access to capital and other resources, lowering costs for patients.
- When small independent facilities are acquired by larger organizations, they can remain open and patients do not lose access to care.
- Under a merger, it is common to streamline protocols, which can lead to enhancements and new standards in quality care. This can also reduce the instances of patients undergoing surgical procedures at a facility with limited experience in that area.
Is it time to make a deal? At Benchmark International, our expert M&A advisors are looking forward to your call. Together we can do great things.READ MORE >>
The Role of Mining in the World
The global mining sector employs millions of people worldwide and its role in the global economy continues to significantly evolve. Standard functions in the mining industry include production of metals, and metals investing and trading. Additionally, there is a strong correlation between the global mining industry and other industries. For example, elements such as copper, nickel, and aluminum are core components used in the construction, aviation, automobile and other industries. In areas where mining is more concentrated, the industry plays a more important role in local economies.
According to the International Council on Mining and Metals, at least 70 countries are extremely dependent on the mining industry, and most low-income countries rely on it to survive. The same study shows that in many low-middle income countries, mining accounts for as much as 60-90% of total foreign direct investment.
Increased populations and urbanization drive the demand for growth in mining activities, as there is more demand for cars, buildings, and consumer products.
M&A Challenges and Considerations
Mergers and acquisitions can be intense in the global mining industry. They are heavily influenced by timing, fluctuating commodity prices, supply uncertainties, and come with many variables depending on transaction size, volatile markets, and the geo-location of the mine. There are certain considerations that are unique to the industry:
- Mining projects can have limited lifecycles depending on the availability of deposits.
- Mines cannot be relocated to areas that may be more beneficial economically or politically.
- Because there are great technological and geological constraints, mining companies are not able to adjust production to increase revenue.
- Funding is less readily available, access to bank financing is limited, and investors tend to be more cautious and selective.
- Countries may have greater government regulations, and indigenous mining agreements designed to mitigate negative effects and to share the benefits from commercial mining activity.
- In some parts of the world, there are human rights concerns, increased policing for corruption, and environmental impacts.
- Once the ore is extracted, mine closure procedures can take several years, in turn, expending money and labor for activities that are not yielding any profits during that time frame.
Gold Mining Sector
The gold mining industry is known for placing a high premium on growth. As of 2019, analysts reported that the leaders of gold mining companies say that they find mergers and acquisitions to be an easier path to growth than exploring for new untapped deposits underground. Modern M&A deals in the business of gold mining now focus more on capital efficiency and operational excellence, with heavy emphasis on evaluation of the management team.
Copper Mining Sector
Copper is an essential metal needed by industrial economies. Globally, the copper mining industry is one of the leading metal mining markets. The continued innovations in battery technology continue to attract investment into metals such as copper, which plays a critical component in the function of batteries.
Coal Mining Sector
Coal has been widely used to provide power since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. In the 21stcentury, coal mining faces new challenges alongside the pursuit and popularity of renewable energy sources. At the same time, innovation in the coal mining industry remains alive. New, state-of-the-art technologies are being developed. Sophisticated robotic mining machinery and computerized systems are being used to streamline mining and boost production to unprecedented levels. And industry leaders are looking into new uses for coal beyond its long-standing role in the energy sector. An example is the development of carbon fiber, currently used in the aerospace field, and potentially used in prosthetics, electrodes, 3D printers, and more.
Shared Buyer and Seller Risk
In the mining sector, both buyers and sellers alike face risks of deal failure, but are more likely to see success if a strategic plan is followed. Two of the most important factors are pricing efficiency and post-sale integration. Both buyers and sellers tend to be more cautious in this industry.
- Sellers should expect buyers to be on the lookout for the risk overpaying for your company, not being able to integrate the company as efficiently as possible, and dealing with issues such as uninsured legacy liabilities. Buyers may become interested in underperforming assets because they have more experience and access to financing that the existing owner, as well as better government relationships, a different risk profile, and the option of consolidation with existing mines or facilities.
- Sellers risk facing purchase price disputes and post-deal issues with warranty and indemnity claims. Plus, fluctuating markets, especially in mineral-rich regions such as Africa, can make valuation difficult.
If proper precautions are taken to understand and avoid these issues, overpayment or post-close surprises can be averted. Other benefits that come with proper preparation include improved sale and purchase agreements, smoother integration, and more efficient corporate governance. Enlisting experienced M&A advisors as early on in the process as possible can aid in significant mitigation of transactional risks.
Please feel free to call us at Benchmark International to set up a conversation with one of our M&A specialists if you are thinking about selling a business. We look forward to discussing how we can help you with growth strategies, exit planning, or any type of transaction advice you may need.READ MORE >>
The global information services (IS) industry employs integrated methods to gather, process, communicate and store different types of information for the purpose of improving efficiencies for society and organizations. IS data—which typically covers people, software, hardware and procedures—is used for study, analysis and better decision-making processes.
The IS landscape is comprised of companies that vary in size, including:
- Global multi-billion-dollar firms that cover several sectors
- Firms with hundreds of million of dollars in revenues and more concentrated areas of focus
- Smaller firms that focus on niche markets and specific geographic regions
M&A in the IS Industry
Many large IS companies use regular acquisitions to execute business strategies such as product enhancement, geographic expansion, keeping pace with changing marketplaces, and expansion into adjacent markets. Acquisitions in this sector can also serve as an alternative path to product development, allowing companies to purchase capabilities and content rather than create it themselves. IS companies typically look to acquire content that fits well within their existing offerings.
Synergy and Value
Value through M&A in this industry comes in the form of clear synergies and improved distribution capabilities. This is partially due to the fact that IS content can be used several times at no added cost. After a one-time integration of content and capabilities between the two companies, there is much versatility in how the content can be used. Synergies are especially important to M&A deals when they are part of a business owner’s exit strategy in order to maximize the value of the transaction and fulfill the business owner’s personal objectives and vision for the company.
Consolidation planning is key to company valuations. IS companies do not typically view acquisition targets as stand-alone enterprises, but rather as opportunities to consolidate acquired content into existing platforms, therefore gaining positive revenue, improved cost synergy, and reduced technology costs.IS transactions can happen at a higher price if earnings and product synergies can be pinpointed and their profitability is clearly identified.
Active IS Market Segments
In the IS industry, mergers and acquisitions activity tends to occur most in the following segments:
- Business Intelligence
- Financial Markets Information
- Legal, Tax & Regulatory Information
- Credit & Risk Management Information
- Marketing Information
Business Intelligence IS
The Business Intelligence segment of IS—defined as information on industries, products and services that help companies identify market opportunities, respond to competition, and plan new products—is a highly active area for M&A. These companies use acquisitions to increase their existing coverage and expand into adjacent markets.
Financial Markets IS
In the segment of Financial Market Information, acquisitions frequently focus on adding content and capabilities to their distribution platforms to serve large portions of rapidly changing financial markets. New data is always in demand and new types of analyses are needed. Companies seek innovation, new customers, and stronger financial market data versus that of their competition.
Legal, Tax & Regulatory IS
The area of Legal, Tax & Regulatory Information is subject to ever-changing laws and regulations around the world. Also, IS companies face added regulations with the expansion of cross-border trade. To adapt to the need for product changes, these firms turn to acquisitions to expand content and capabilities.
Credit & Risk Management IS
In this particular IS segment, it is most common to see specialized firms being active in M&A transactions, with their primary strategy being to obtain more individual credit content. Also, as new entrants emerge in this space, the major credit ratings agencies see buying them as a way to strengthen their existing credit rating models.
Marketing IS companies provide market research, audience management and other general marketing services. Companies in this diverse area use acquisitions for market consolidation, increased synergies, and the expanded mix of tools and information.
The Importance of Expert Guidance
As with any industry, it is recommended that business owners within the IS space engage the expertise of reputable M&A advisors to execute a deal in a sector that is subject to fast growth and high margins. These deals involve high levels of complexity and require the perspectives and resources of a partner that is committed to serving the best interests of the seller.
Choosing to sell your company is a big step. At Benchmark International, we understand what a life-changing decision it is. Our M&A experts are here to walk you through the process and provide the utmost peace of mind every step of the way. Give us a call so that we can embark on this exciting journey together.READ MORE >>
Various types of businesses and organizations engage the services of contract catering companies to provide daily or regular meal program services. The sectors that are the primary consumers in this growing industry include:
- Business & industry: Large corporations providing meals to their employees in the workplace (accounts for one third of the market)
- Education: Schools, universities and institutions
- Healthcare: Hospitals and senior care facilities
- Sports & Leisure: Public attractions such as sports venues and museums
- Travel: Inflight and airport lounge services
The global contract catering industry and food service contractor market is forecasted to surpass $601.9 billion by 2026.
In order to differentiate themselves and maintain a competitive advantage, the leading vendors in the global contract catering market commonly employ tactics such as the following offerings:
- Flexible service models that leverage on-demand online systems
- Limited-time menu offerings
- Value add-ons such as employee support, training, and guaranteed service-level agreements
- Use of predictive analytics to improve operational efficiencies and reduce waste
- Unique options that enhance experiences and provide “eatertainment”
- Innovative menus that cater to the evolving tastes of emerging middle-aged audiences
- Creative promotional items
Types of Contracts
Catering contracts are subject to a multitude of circumstances and can fall under one of several types, based on the level of the organization’s requirements, policies, financial risks, potential profits or losses, and other factors:
- Fee-based/cost plus/cost-plus guarantee
- Nil subsidy/cost
- Profit and loss
- Fixed price/cost/subsidy
- Fixed cost per head
Tech-Driven Meal Services: Home meal subscription and online food catering services have permeated all areas of the market. This includes manufacturers who have needed to adapt in order to offer fresh food subscription services. People want quick and healthy eating with the added perks of personalization, convenience, and unique choices of cuisines. Food operations need to be more flexible to serve these needs. Vendors need to seek logistics partners to accommodate delivery. As these services rise in popularity and increase in number, there is a growing opportunity for mergers and acquisitions in this space.Health Focus: Emphasis on health and wellbeing has created massive growth opportunities for the global catering sector, driven by the demands of businesses, hospitals, schools, and aging care facilities. These types of clients increasingly seek healthier choices and higher nutrient quality, and meals with certain characteristics such as low sugar or easy digestibility. This shift has reinvented the kinds of expectations placed on contract caterers.
Sustainability: A major factor playing into the dynamics of the catering market is a growing demand for sustainability. Contract caterers must find ways to accommodate clients who are becoming more and more concerned about sustainability and environmental issues. The availability of seasonal and local food, organic and vegetarian options, and fair trade are influencing the catering landscape. Creation of new endeavors that ensure ethical responsibility and resource management continue to drive growth in this market.
M&A Scenarios: Consolidation in this market is frequent as the dominant industry players continually seek to expand their brand and global presence, and diversify their services. This also raises the level of competition for M&A transactions. Key priorities include integration of facility services, and customization and personalization, all with the intent of attracting new clientele. There are also slews of contract catering businesses of all sizes around the world, and they are offering products and services that enhance their differentiation, and this creates a market brimming with choices for buyers in this industry.
Another scenario in this industry that can arise after a company is acquired is that some clients prefer having a relationship with a smaller, independent caterer. They do not wish to be “just another number” to a large catering firm. This creates great business opportunities for the niche players, especially as the other small boutique caterers are being bought up and disappearing. This particular environment also creates the potential for catering business leaders to exit their existing companies and create new independent ventures.
Entry Challenges: There are several barriers to market entry that caterers face when trying to establish a new business. These factors include the growing cost of operations due to food price inflation, regulation, rising labor costs, the need for more technology, and changing contractual relationships.
The M&A specialists at Benchmark International would love to discuss the sale of your company with you. At your convenience, set up a call with one of our analysts and we can talk about growth and exit strategy options that align with your plans for your future and retirement.
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Hotel and hospitality brands have an insatiable appetite for rapid growth and there is an endless ongoing battle for global share. Because the industry is highly fragmented and brand driven (the top hotel brands only account for a third of rooms worldwide), mergers and acquisitions are always on the table as a key growth strategy. Since 1985, there have been more than 13,800 deals in the hotel and lodging industry, valued at $809 billion.
Studies have shown that, on average, lodging M&A is unique versus those in other industries because both the target and acquirer are better off following a merger.
Hotel M&A Value Drivers
There are several value drivers when it comes to hotel brand M&A.
- Strategic value drivers include more customer offerings, the creation of new markets, and further reach into existing markets.
- Operational value drivers include factors such as expanded loyalty programs, consolidated corporate teams, and improved technologies and reservation systems.
- Additional key value drivers of a hotel brand include the integrity of its global trademark portfolio, and the value of both existing and potential management/franchise agreements and real estate portfolios.
Clearing Hurdles in Hospitality M&A
It is not uncommon for various issues to arise during M&A transactions between hospitality companies. However, taking the proper steps can alleviate these concerns.
Clarify intellectual property.
Portfolio expansion through the acquisition of additional brands is a major reason for many M&A transactions within the hotel sector. In these cases, the target company's ownership of its intellectual property is very important to buyers, so it is just important to sellers. This is where third-party ownership claims can arise as an issue in a transaction. If a hotel brand shares valuable restaurants or other brands with a third party, and there is any chance that the third party could claim ownership of any interest in the brand, it can significantly devalue the brand and the target company. Ownership agreements must be adequately and clearly documented before entering into an M&A transaction. It is going to be crucial to the accurate valuation of the company.
Protect your data.
Technology is integral to every step of the hotel booking process, which is why, as a seller, you can expect buyers in M&A transactions to heed the risks and liabilities surrounding the target company's data protection and cybersecurity practices, and its compliance with governmental regulations. There are web and mobile bookings, check-ins, complicated reservation systems, and even customer review websites to consider. Due diligence in regard to detailed data protection and cybersecurity at length is imperative. In order for a target company to maximize its value, management should thoroughly review its current compliance with existing regulations and take all precautions to ensure best practices are in place to minimize exposure to potential data breaches.
Minimize withdrawal liability.
Large hoteliers and hospitality companies typically have unionized employees covered by collective bargaining agreements that require contributions to one or more multi-employer plans. Withdrawal liability can occur when an employer has a significant reduction in union workforce, a complete union workforce reduction, or a withdrawal of all employees from a pension plan as a result ofthe event of a change in management or a sale of a hotel. Labor laws vary by country, but it should still be noted that there could be issues with determining whether the hotel owner or manager is the employer by legal definitions in that reason (for example, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 [ERISA], in the United States). Multiemployer plans have the ability to disagree with who is considered the employer, and assess withdrawal liability on the party it determines is the employer. To mitigate the risk of withdrawal liability, all parties should consider who is the employer for labor law purposes, and who bears the liability under the management agreement.
Working with an experienced M&A advisor is a game-changer in minimizing risk and closing a successful deal. We look forward to hearing from you about your interest in M&A as a seller of a company in any industry. Our global M&A experts are waiting for your call.READ MORE >>
The construction drilling industry is a very diverse market that handles various private and public contracts that include infrastructure expansion, excavation, road boring, poly piping, trench work, geotechnical drilling, and foundation drilling.
The key drivers for mergers and acquisitions in the construction drilling industry for most companies include:
- The objective to grow and diversify the businesses
- Expansion of services and capabilities
- The need to address qualified labor shortages in an industry where talent is increasingly difficult to find
At the same time, labor shortages can also be a reason that some drilling businesses may hesitate to make a major acquisition, as they do not have enough young leader talent to make it work in their favor.
The sectors that continue to be ripe for acquisition activity are civil infrastructure and industrial. Organic growth and access to labor is challenging for both of these areas.
Consolidation is also driven by a customer demand for large companies that offer integrated, single-source solutions. This includes the collaboration by design and construction firms looking to vertically integrate and expand their delivery capabilities. Additionally, strategies are about more than the creation of better solutions for clients in the construction drilling industry. They are also motivated to create a better platform for employees. In what is a very competitive labor environment, offering a solid growth platform is just as crucial to employee retention as it is to customer satisfaction and shareholder value. Employees can benefit from the advantages and growth possibilities that come with being part of a larger infrastructure company.
The interest of buyers in the drilling sector is partially driven by the need to remain competitive by adding capabilities and scale in a market where competitors are acquisitively expanding their own capabilities and scale. With a divide between large integrated firms and smaller niche providers, those that are not growing at the same rate as their competitors risk getting lost somewhere in the gap.
Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD)
Horizontal Directional Drilling is a trenchless procedure that is utilized to install underground pipes, cables and conduits along a pre-determined route by using a surface-launched drilling rig. It has gained great popularity in the industry because it causes minor damage to the topography of the adjacent areas.
The opportunities for growth in the HDD market are strong because of the high demand that comes from the telecommunications sector. As telecom companies take action to expand broadband service availability, it increases the demand for the installation of cellular towers. As digitization is steadfast in both developed and developing countries worldwide, cable, broadband and fiber companies are expanding networks to serve the growing demand. The growth of the HDD market is also heavily supported by the steady demand from utilities such as electric, water and natural gas distribution. Utilities account for more than half of the overall revenue in this market.
Some of the unique challenges this industry faces are related to a lack of contractor review for construction assessment prior to starting projects, and the hiring of unqualified engineers and consultants with no prior experience.
The HDD market sees significant activity in North America, with telecommunication and energy amassing a major share of the revenue. Other major markets that have a high demand for utility installations and broadband access include China, India, Australia, and Japan.
The world is full of opportunities and Benchmark International has the connections to help you effectively grow your business or sell your company whether it is domestically or across borders. Set up a call with one of our M&A experts and we can begin to delve into what how we can maximize your value and make the markets work for you.READ MORE >>