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Top Reasons Business Owners Seek An M&A Strategy

What is an M&A Strategy?
A strategy for a merger or acquisition is the rationale behind the transaction. Your objective should determine the type of deal that is right for your company. Maybe there is even more than one objective. Commonly, these goals are focused on boosting financial performance and mitigating risk.

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What Is A Sustainable Growth Rate?

As a business owner, it is important to have a solid understanding of what a sustainable growth rate (SGR) is, and why it matters to the valuation of your company. 

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How Can M&A Help My Business Recover From Covid?

The COVID-19 pandemic taught us quite a few lessons for keeping a business surviving and thriving in unchartered territories. Now is the time to be forward-thinking. There are ways that you, as a business owner, can utilize mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as an effective strategy to accelerate your company’s recovery from the lingering impacts of the pandemic from both a defensive and offensive perspective.

OFFENSE:


Accelerate Your Business Model

Inorganic Growth
Emerging from a pandemic is not the time for organic growth strategies for most businesses. This is especially true for sectors that have experienced irreparable impacts, such as retail, hospitality, tourism, and live entertainment. However, M&A can accelerate growth within a business model is otherwise not feasible or accessible ways. Whether it’s accessing new supply chains or acquiring a competitor’s talent, M&A is an effective tool that can open up several possibilities for growth and success.

Disruptive M&A
Technology and innovation have become more imperative than ever because of the need for rapid digitalization during the pandemic. When remote working and online conferencing became the norm, disruptive tech was put on an epic fast track. Everyone wants what is hot, and they want it ASAP. Otherwise, they risk falling behind the competition. As a result, these technologies offer significant M&A opportunities for companies in many sectors, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Boosting Supply Chains
Supply chains have taken a significant hit due to the pandemic, with some sectors experiencing worse disruptions than others (such as automotive, energy, and manufacturing). As a result, these sectors are being forced to reboot and find ways to alter their supply chains to get what they need. This is where M&A can be a real game-changer, helping companies gain access to alternative supply chains and keeping operations on track.

Alliances and Joint Ventures
Because of the pandemic, consumer behaviors and spending patterns have changed. Welcome to the new normal. This means that businesses will need to look to new strategic alliances to be more agile in catering to new customer habits, and M&A can help make these joint ventures a reality.

DEFENSE:


Protect Your Future

Integration and Value Creation
Now more than ever, many companies need to cut costs, free up working capital, and do it quickly. M&A is one of the more timely ways to make this happen. Also, planning on ways to create value today can protect your business in the future. By turning to M&A, you can both integrate and develop.

Divestitures and Separations
As economic pressures persist, many businesses need to divest non-essential assets. At the same time, they may also need to unload any highly sought-after assets for financial reasons. There are also opportunities due to sustainable investing becoming much more popular. In addition, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives lead to rebalancing portfolios, which could mean actionable assets for divestiture. In any case, sellers should enlist professional M&A advisement to ensure that they avoid getting into asset fire sales. Learn more about the value of hiring an M&A advisor here.

End-to-End Distressed M&A
2021 was a record year for M&A, and a great deal of opportunity still exists. Many types of investors, including private equity, activist, and corporate investors, have strong balance sheets. They are sitting on plenty of cash and are in the position to move quickly on acquisitions of distressed businesses.

Let’s Get Started
If you think M&A strategies could benefit your company, our experts at Benchmark International would love to hear from you so that we can discuss your options and help you make the most of your success.

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Eight Truths about The Current Market for Selling Your Business

For more than ten years, business owners have enjoyed a sellers’ market in the lower and middle markets. But the tide is turning. Here’s the headline: Multiples are not trending downward, buyers are slower, more cautious, and cockier, and deals are taking longer. 

 

The best analogy is that we have been on a roller coaster, and we no longer hear the clicking sound as we go up, but we’ve also not started to feel anything in our stomachs. It’s almost as if we are paused, and we feel certain that we know what is coming next. Buyers feel as if they’ve been bullied for the last decade by aspirational sellers and their agents. They have pent-up resentment. Some of it is starting to show. 

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What Is The Difference Between An M&A Advisor And A Business Broker?

When you are about to sell a business, you have a few options regarding how to do it, and whose expertise to enlist. Many people confuse M&A advisors with business brokers. While there are some similarities, they are not one and the same. There is actually more than one significant difference between an M&A advisor and a business broker. It is important for any business owner to understand these differences, so that it can be determined which is the best way to go about the sale of a company.

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M&A Trends In The Lower And Middle Markets

In the first quarter of 2022, global middle-market M&A activity maintained the momentum that we saw in 2021. Last year, lower and middle-market companies played major roles in deal-making activity. Companies of all sizes enjoyed significant buyer interest in sectors ranging from tech, transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics.

 A notable imbalance in supply and demand in the lower and middle markets has been driving up the valuations of healthy companies in hot sectors. This trend is expected to continue through 2022 for strong companies in the lower and middle markets, especially in sectors such as healthcare, cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and niche manufacturing.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction of Access Plus (Scotland) Ltd and TrainingPlus.com Ltd TO Briggs Equipment UK Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of both Access Plus and TrainingPlus to Briggs Equipment.

Operating from three sites in Scotland – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Irvine – Access Plus has delivered high quality powered access solutions to customers throughout the UK since 1998. The company manages approximately 700 powered access assets, which will help bolster Briggs Equipment’s comprehensive fleet of access equipment and increase coverage in Scotland.

Briggs Equipment is the exclusive national distributor in the UK for the Hyster and Yale ranges of forklift trucks and other materials handling equipment.

According to Pete Jones, Briggs Equipment’s managing director, the group has significantly increased its access equipment capability across the UK and Ireland with the acquisition, enabling the company to accelerate its powered access strategy and deliver a broader proposition to its customers. With the addition of TrainingPlus, the company has the opportunity to expand its existing training services.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

George Marriott, Access Plus and TrainingPlus managing director, commented: “We are extremely pleased to be a part of the Briggs Equipment Group following confirmation of the acquisition. Our team can’t wait to get started and continue the ongoing development of our businesses in a strategic and progressive manner. The culture and values of Briggs aligns perfectly with us and we could not have picked a better parent company.

“Throughout the acquisition process the team at Briggs have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner and we are looking forward to working closely as part of the group moving forward. We are determined to maximise the potential of our business, whilst still delivering a great service to our customers and this acquisition will help us deliver on that ambition.”

Commenting on working with Benchmark International, Mr Marriot added: “I was guided to a successful conclusion with a world class expert, James Robinson, at Benchmark. My frustration with due diligence he took ownership of, his attention to detail was faultless and my experience was certainly exceptional. This was my first sale and "my baby" was comfortably delivered into caring hands. James managed the purchaser, my legal team, the accountants, my team and myself with a caring and surety - allowing me to understand the complexities of the deal, which helped me make better decisions along the journey.”

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Seller Handover In A Business Sale

Handover Process

After completing the sale of your business, there is typically a handover process between the seller and the buyer. One of a buyer’s most significant concerns when taking over a business is that the company’s performance continues as it was before the sale. When a seller is willing to stay on for a handover process post-closing, the buyer has increased trust in the business, resulting in the business selling more quickly and at a higher valuation. Therefore, it will be beneficial to both parties to plan this part of the process well and in advance of the time that the handover will take place. The length, compensation, etc., of the Handover period will be worked through during the Purchase Agreement negotiations. If there is a failure to recognize and offer an acceptable handover period for the business, it could cause a deal to fall apart while it is in due diligence.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Stages Of A Business Handover

The typical stages of a business handover are the Training Stage, Handover Stage, and Assistance Stage. Immediately following the sale, the seller will usually continue to run 100% of the business. During this time, the new owner will take some time to familiarize themselves with the business. Then, as the Training stage begins, the seller will slowly reduce their involvement while the buyer continues to increase theirs. In the Training stage, the seller must create a checklist of items that he can run through with the new owner. Mark each item as complete once it’s finished, and keep this for your records if you run into any issues down the road. It is a good idea to observe how a day in the life of your business typically goes. Take note of every payroll task you complete, every person you communicate with, any supplier or contractor documentation, provide copies of all budgets, information about cash flow, etc. Continue with this process until you feel that you have been able to document all of the particulars that the new owner will need to know in order to keep the business operating smoothly. As the seller trains the new owner, the seller will slowly start to reduce their involvement while the buyer continues to increase theirs. This sequence will continue until the complete handover is achieved.

During the Handover stage, the new owner runs 75%-100% of the business with the seller still on hand to help answer questions and ensure that processes are running smoothly. If you have had a successful Training stage, the new owner will have increased confidence in successfully running the business. This may matter to the seller as well, particularly if there are any deferred payments or earnouts that have been agreed to in the structure of the sale. It is imperative to train the buyer and put them in a position to be successful, as both parties benefit from doing so. The new owner will now be in charge of making crucial decisions and bringing innovative ideas and future plans for the business to the table. Customer and employee relationships with the new owner should be solidly in place at this point, and the seller should have very limited involvement in the day-to-day activities of the business.

Once the new owner is running 100% of the business, it is common to enter the Assistance stage, where both parties have made an agreement to remain in contact for a set period of time in case there are any questions that come up. While the seller is no longer directly engaged with the daily runnings of the company, it is best for them to make themselves available to answer any questions that the new owner might have. Many times the majority of this communication can be handled through email and phone conversations. An essential item to have established for this stage is the amount of time the new owner can expect to receive help from the seller, paying particular care to have the expectations and limitations outlined.

A properly planned Handover period can help the seller and the new owner is mentally prepared for the seller’s exit and help prepare the business, customers, and employees for the handover. Once the handover is complete and the seller exits fully, they can know that the business is in good hands. It is time for them to recover from and reflect on the ownership handover period and identify their next goal to get excited about.

 

  Author
  Amy Alonso
  Transaction Director
  Benchmark International

  T: 512 861 3301
  E: Alonso@benchmarkintl.com 

 

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What Is A 338(H)(10) Election And Why It Is Important To Me?

Knowing the structure of a transaction you are involved in is key to optimizing the composition of a deal. If you enter a proposed transaction thinking you understand the offer, you may be blindsided by various structures that may affect your net cash position. A critical aspect of a transaction is understanding the structure and what it means for you as a buyer or seller. Clients often believe that they agree to accept a stock transaction only to find out that the transaction will include an election that may affect their tax bill. A 338(H)(10) election is one of the more popular tax elections, but there are others.

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2022 Food & Beverage Industry Report

The global food & beverage services market is forecast to grow from $3,232.94 billion in 2021 to $3,678.61 billion in 2022. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%. Growth is primarily due to companies rearranging operations amid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in so many challenges for the industry. By 2026, the market is expected to surge to $5,235.52 billion at a CAGR of 9.2%.

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Will Individual Investors Replace Institutional Investors’ Pending Retreat from Private Equity?

Dry powder, the amount of money private equity has at its disposal to make future investments, has gone up and up over the last ten years. The most obvious reason was the desire for institutions, which most famously include insurance companies, pension funds, and university endowments, to find yield on their troves of cash during a time when their traditional vehicle, bonds, were providing essentially zero yields.

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2022 Fintech Industry Report

The global fintech market was valued at $6.5 trillion in 2021 and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9% between 2022 and 2028 to reach $16.65 trillion.

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Applying EBITDA Multiples To Your Company Valuation

If you are considering selling your business, you undoubtedly need to understand its value. Unfortunately, arriving at that answer can entail many different methodologies, and it often involves the familiar valuation formula of applying a multiple of Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBTIDA).

For example, if a company boasts EBITDA of $1 million, and a five times EBITDA multiple is applied, the company’s estimated value is $5 million. But how do we know what multiple applies to your business? And how do we know if the EBITDA number is even accurate? After all, EBITDA will not be the same for every business.

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How Can A Buyer Claw Back Purchase Price?

Sellers often focus on the purchase price when considering a sale. Most sellers aim to maximize the proceeds realized through the sale of their business. This mindset makes total sense. They are monetizing their life’s work. Many have lived frugally, diverting money into rather than out of business. As such, the sale of the company truly is the time to monetize a lifetime of effort.

Feeling unfulfilled? Explore your options...

Buyers who have been stretched to a valuation beyond their comfort level may be motivated to recapture some of that “excess purchase price” during the deal. Their approach to minimizing their outlay can take on several forms. In this article, I will cover a few of the most common methods used by buyers to “normalize” their outlay.

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2022 Digital Healthcare Industry Report

The global overall healthcare industry value is projected to reach $665.37 billion by 2028. Focusing on the global digital healthcare segment of the market, it was valued at $145.57 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach $430.52 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9%.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant shifts in the healthcare sector, as there was an urgent need to adapt and embrace new ways of operating. Many of these changes ushered in the latest in digital healthcare technology and are here to stay. The digital health segment applies software, hardware, and other tech services to the healthcare sector. The space is comprised of categories such as: 
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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between LaddersFree Ltd and REACT Group PLC

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Topsham-based LaddersFree and AIM listed REACT, in a deal worth up to £8.5m.

Established for 20 years, LaddersFree is a commercial window cleaning business serving independent, regional, and national customers across the UK. With an established network of over 300 approved service partners, LaddersFree utilises local window cleaning companies to offer its services to all areas of mainland UK.

Since its inception, LaddersFree has grown organically. Unaudited financials for the year to 30 November 2021 show that it generated revenue of c£3m and a pre-tax profit of c£1.4m.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

REACT is an industry leader in the provision of specialist cleaning, working in challenging environments such as hotels, prisons, crime scenes, and cruise ships.

This is REACT Group’s second acquisition and represents a further step in the company’s ambition to achieve its stated growth strategy. The transaction provides REACT with the opportunity to diversify its service offering through expansion into complementary markets, and to leverage existing resources to accelerate growth.

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You Haven’t Missed Out On The Ideal Seller’s Market

2021 was a strong market for business owners looking to sell their companies. The market remains ideal and will do so as we move into the first quarter of 2022. As we are in the middle of this year, there is no better time to consider putting your business on the market.

2021 Recap
M&A activity was moving at a record pace in 2021, thanks to economic recovery, a strong stock market, low-interest rates, rapid digitalization, more SPACs, confident boardrooms, and available debt. The U.S. had reported more than $2 trillion in M&A activity in 2021, with the year on pace to be the most active in history. Not to mention that the second quarter of 2021 was the third straight, with total global M&A value surpassing $1 trillion. That is the first time this has ever happened in three consecutive quarters. So even in the middle of the year, when things typically slow down, we are still seeing a great deal of investment, and the market is still flooded with capital.

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2022 Marketing Consulting, Branding & PR Industry Report

The Global Marketing Consulting Market

The global marketing consulting market is expected to grow by $3.83 billion between 2022 and 2026, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.75%.

Market growth is being driven by various factors, including continued education, the rising need for improved customer digital experiences, and the providing of custom-made solutions.

Because the global marketing consulting market is rather fragmented, we are seeing vendors trying to remain competitive by deploying growth strategies such as forming strategic partnerships. Over the next four years, 35% of the global market’s growth will originate from North America. 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Air Projects Limited and EA-RS Fire Group

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Leicester-based Air Projects to Witham-based EA-RS.

Air Projects is a specialist ventilation engineer working on healthcare and commercial projects from basic extraction systems to hospital theatres and laboratories. Air Projects also provides expert advice on an array of services in ventilation, fume extraction, fire damper testing and healthcare compliance.

EA-RS is a provider of intelligent, sustainable, and compliant fire and security systems in the UK. The company installs and maintains a broad range of systems covering critical infrastructures such as data centres and healthcare facilities and serves several other markets such as commercial property, education and social housing.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

EA-RS has been backed by Rockpool Investments since 2021, and Air Projects is the seventh company EA-RS Group have acquired since last year.

This acquisition supports the group’s strategy to further broaden its geographic reach and to present new opportunities throughout the UK. Additionally, the transaction will expand both organisations range of services to their respective client bases, including fire damper testing for EA-RS' clients, facilitating growth and enabling synergies between all businesses within the group.

Shaun Sutton, managing director of Air Projects, said this about working with Benchmark International: “Many thanks to James, Charlotte and Roger for their expert advice and professional approach to the whole acquisition process for us. From initial marketing through the negotiations and final due diligence stages, James and Roger have remained flexible, knowledgeable and most of all calm and collected in their manner, which has made the whole process less stressful than it could have been.”

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What Are SPACs?

A SPAC  (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) is a company with no business operations that is formed solely to raise capital through an IPO to purchase another existing company. It does not produce any product or service, and it does not sell anything. Although SPACs have exploded in popularity in the past few years, they have been around since the early 1990s. Formerly, they were often seen as a last resort for businesses that couldn’t raise money on open markets. 
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Benchmark International is Pleased to Announce it is Sponsoring DEALSOURCING 2022

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that it will be sponsoring DEALSOURCING 2022 on 13th September at the Dorint Hotel Frankfurt/Oberursel.

Dealsourcing is a key event in Germany for M&A professionals, hosting hundreds of participants including private equity firms, funding platforms, restructuring advisors, M&A advisors, and due diligence professionals, to name a few.

As the most efficient networking event of the German corporate banking and finance community, DEALSOURCING provides Benchmark International with the prime opportunity to meet the right contacts for its sell-side mandates, providing us with a unique opportunity to showcase the opportunities we represent.

Interested in your company being featured? 

As well as networking opportunities, the event also include 30 innovative workshops to enhance our opportunities to connect with the best buyers for our clients.

Do you want to be featured and showcased in front of leading dealmakers? Naturally, we present only a select number of companies for each event, so we would encourage you to contact us now to ensure your business is included.

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2022 Professional Services & Management Consulting Industry Report

The Professional Services Market
In 2022, the global professional services market is forecast to grow to $6697.56 billion, up from $6040.91 billion in 2021. That is at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9%. This growth is mainly due to companies’ urgent need to reorganize operations while recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to operational challenges because of lockdowns and restrictions. As a result, the global professional services market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 9.6% to reach $9651.77 billion in 2026. 
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I missed the market!

We have been in an unprecedented bull market. I use the phrase here broadly as the public markets have been flying for over a decade, and the M&A market has seen similar levels of growth. Spurred on by aggressive monetary and fiscal policies and a relaxed regulatory environment, the S&P 500 has grown 15.47% as of the time of this writing from the bottom on March 9, 2009. Similarly, the DJIA (The Dow 30) has grown at an annual clip of 13.64% over the course of this thirteen-year bull market. Remember what the rule of 72 demonstrates- that money doubles every 6 years at 12% and in less than five years at 15%. This is a remarkable rate of growth when you consider this market has spanned nearly 1/7th of a century.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

But bull markets must end. Markets do work in cycles. Much like our natural habitats require destructive fires to seed future growth and a healthy ecosystem, so too does the market. I’m not referencing the concrete jungles we find ourselves in today, but rather our natural environments. Bear markets reintroduce a rational approach to investing that had long been sidelined in favor of momentum and emotion-based investment “theses."

 

Further, bear markets tend to focus investments toward the highest quality of companies, known as a flight to quality. This clearing of the playing field, separating the wheat from the chaff, will often spur innovation and future growth. So a bear market is as natural to the market dynamic as is a bull market. These countervailing forces are required for regeneration.

 

The bull market created trillions of dollars of dry powder for buyers to deploy in the coming years. The balance sheets of corporations, large and small, are replete with cash there to deploy in pursuit of their stated strategic goals. The best of markets tends to flood the M&A market with excess buyers, many of which lack the track record, experience, credibility, and true access to funding required to transact successfully. Bear markets tend to weed away many of these less credible buyers creating a similar flight to quality detailed in the above discussion about the public markets. And while the cost of debt will tick up and valuations may similarly tick down, the likelihood of actually consummating a transaction increase as there is a much better chance that the buyer selected can get a deal done.

 

I tend to view my decisions in life through a very specific lens- my expected value lens. If one were to look at an M&A transaction through that lens, we would likely find the expected value of the proceeds from a transaction as being higher, even if valuations tick down, because the likelihood of closing is greatly increased.   And frankly, while the cost of capital on senior debt will rise over the course of the year, given the aforementioned stores of cash in their coffers, buyers will have the ability to utilize more equity to bridge any gaps in the capital stack. Private Equity funds have more than $2 Trillion of dry power. They also have a mandate to put capital to work regardless of the cost of debt lest they face aggressive headwinds during their next fund raise. Their Limited Partners, known as LPs, require that they put the money to work. Deals will continue to happen and we may in fact see more deals in the next eighteen months or more as buyers finally draw down on the excess stores of cash build-up that resulted from inflated valuations and bidding wars with less credible buyers.

 

Sellers must consider several factors when considering a sale. Of course, valuation and a healthy economic environment are among those factors but they don't have to be the determining one. We are often faced with life changes of which we have no control. Some of us simply reach a stage where we no longer wish to carry the burden that invariably comes with owning and running a business. Or, God forbid, we encounter health challenges personally or in our family that requires that we focus our attention elsewhere. Perhaps we come to the realization that we are no longer the right caretaker for the business? That the business has reached a level where our skills no longer map to what is required to successfully steer. Whatever the reason to sell your company, we can only control the controllables.

 

Just like in the public markets, if we try to time it perfectly, we will invariably fail because the objective was unattainable. Selling one's business is a life-altering decision. Selling a business can be both liberating and gutting. Sellers are at once monetizing their life's work and entrusting someone else with its care. The stakes are high. When making that determination, it is critical that sellers consider all of the critical variables. While valuation, market conditions and timing are among the variables worthy of consideration, they are merely inputs to a multivariate equation. Often, upon careful consideration, sellers determine that the qualitative elements are more important than are the quantitative ones.

 

  Author
  Dara Shareef
  Managing Partner
  Benchmark International

  T: 813 898 2350
  E: Shareef@benchmarkintl.com 

 

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Benchmark International Unveils its New Düsseldorf Office

Benchmark International is delighted to announce it has officially opened its new offices in Germany.

Taking residence on the eighth floor of the Sky Office in Düsseldorf, the large and modern offices opened in 2009. With an aesthetically pleasing design both inside and out, the building creates an inspiring working environment in a first-class location.

In close proximity to Düsseldorf International Airport and near the city centre of Düsseldorf, the building is very well positioned from a logistical standpoint.

A perfect fit for Benchmark International, the Sky Office will be a great representation of the Benchmark brand in Germany.

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The Pros & Cons Of Buying An Established Franchise

The franchise business model can offer a great way to own your own business without the risks that are proven to come with start-ups. But owning an existing franchise can undoubtedly come with its share of challenges. So before jumping into a franchise ownership, be sure to consider all the good and bad that you could face before deciding if it’s the right opportunity for you. 
 
The Pros 
 
An existing franchise comes with a history that you can use to assess its financial data to know whether it is a good business. In addition, you can see all the books to make your determination of possible future performance. 
 
It can be easier to obtain financing for a business with an existing history of financial performance because lenders have something concrete to go by and, therefore, more confidence. 
 
You get to skip the time-consuming start-up phases of owning a business, such as creating a business plan, creating a product, doing market research and testing, and figuring out how to scale. With a franchise, this work has already been done for you. Next, you have to make sure it succeeds. 
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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Fuse Rail Limited and John Sisk & Son Ltd

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Kent-based Fuse Rail by international construction and civil engineering group, John Sisk & Son (Sisk Rail).

Fuse Rail services electrification and plant requirements within the rail industry. Working on behalf of Network Rail, recent projects have included a new electric distribution cable at a supply cable in Lydden, installation of a new conductor rail on the Sevenoaks tunnel refurbishment, and new reactive DC cabling for the Eastbourne substation.

With a 160-year history, Sisk Rail is an international construction and civil engineering business undertaking structural remediation, buildings refurbishment, mechanical and electrical planned maintenance, litter clearance, earthworks, fencing, drainage clearance and repairs on behalf of Network Rail and other train operating companies. The company has offices throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe, specifically the Benelux, DACH and Nordic regions.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

The acquired company will continue to operate under its current branding and management team.

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Benchmark International Ranked in Mergermarket’s Global League Tables Q1 2022

Benchmark International is pleased to announce that it has been ranked in the top 10 by Mergermarket for the number of deals it has conducted in Ireland.

Bank of America, PwC and JPMorgan are amongst the companies to also rank in the top 10.

An Acuris company, Mergermarket delivers M&A intelligence, data and research. To qualify in its league tables, transactions must be over 5m USD in value and publicly available.

Looking for a Corporate Finance Adviser? 

James Thornton, COO at Benchmark International, commented: “We are delighted to have been ranked in Mergermarket’s Global & Regional League Tables for the first quarter of 2022. To be ranked in these league tables is further acknowledgement of the hard work and effort our teams put into every transaction.

“Having only established an office in Ireland less than five years ago, it is great to see that we are growing our footprint and have established ourselves as a distinguished institution in this location by conducting a number of deals over 5m USD, competing with M&A industry giants.

“Over the course of the last year, Benchmark International has expanded its international reach further, establishing an office in Germany, and I’m looking forward to seeing what our new team will achieve, and seeing Benchmark International on the German league tables as well very soon!”

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Real Regulatory Limited and Transcrip Partners LLP

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Dublin-based Real Regulatory by private equity-backed tranScrip.

Real Regulatory is a consultancy firm specialising in European regulatory affairs, quality systems and compliance for products including medicines, medical devices, and drug device combinations. Headquartered in Dublin, the company also has offices in Cambridgeshire and Malta.

Founder and managing director, Karen Real, who has more than 35 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, will remain with the business moving forward.

tranScrip is a fast-growing contract drug development organisation which supports the development and lifecycle of medicines. It is backed by private equity firm, Palatine, and the deal is the first acquisition made by the company since securing Palatine’s investment in 2021 via its dedicated Impact Fund.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

The strategic acquisition significantly expands tranScrip’s regulatory affairs capabilities, strengthening its ability to provide comprehensive support to its customers.

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Growing Opportunities In Remote And Cloud-based Businesses Post-covid

Digital tools have been advancing in business operations for years, but today they have become essential for most companies, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis forced businesses to find ways to connect their employees to each other and their customers without being in person. This storyline became so prevalent that, in the first year of the pandemic, 60% of businesses moved their workforces to the cloud. Two years later, this number continues to increase.

Such demand for rapid digitalization has become a key driver of M&A deals, and continues to create more opportunities for growth and transactions. As a result, many organizations are also adopting tools to facilitate the M&A process on more digital terms. These tools include data and analytics during due diligence, platforms that support fast-moving transactions, and cloud-based services. You can take a deeper dive into the facets of post-COVID due diligence here.

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2022 Real Estate Industry Report

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted nearly every industry in some way, but real estate underwent its own very unique transformation. Many office buildings have sat empty and seem almost obsolete while most workplaces shifted to work-from-home models, and many plan to stay that way or create hybrid workforce plans. Throw in the global supply chain issues, labor shortages, and inflation, and there are certainly economic risks for the sector. But the economy has steadily been recovering while the most serious times of the pandemic appear to be subsiding. 
 
GDP in the United States has fully bounced back from the 2020 pandemic-induced recession. This is good news for the real estate sector’s recovery. Coupled with low interest rates, strong economic growth will be very encouraging for commercial real estate. GDP is expected to grow by a strong 4.6% in 2022. 
 
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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction of O’Flynn Medical Limited and O’Flynn Innovation Limited to Healthcare 21 Ltd

Benchmark International has advised on the transaction of Irish headquartered O’Flynn Medical and O’Flynn Innovation, to Healthcare 21. O’Flynn will become part of the Healthcare 21 Group, which AddLife acquired in 2021.

Established in 2000, O’Flynn Medical is a leading provider of medical equipment and PPE to Ireland’s care home and domestic markets offering the sale, rental, and associated services and maintenance for a range of specialised products.

O’Flynn Innovation was later established in 2011 for the distribution of automated garment dispensing control systems. Together, the group has become a trusted distributor of medical equipment to the care home and domestic markets.

Established in 2003, Healthcare 21 is an independent medical device distributor offering sales, marketing and technical solutions for many of the world’s leading healthcare equipment manufacturers. The group has an annual revenue exceeding €159 million and more than 450 employees across four European countries.

The acquisition provides Healthcare 21 with the opportunity to expand its portfolio into the rental market segment, to become the leading provider in Ireland. The acquisition also provides entry for Healthcare 21 into the bariatric market segment.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

O’Flynn Medical will continue to trade under its existing name and remain headquartered in Macroom, Cork.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Velopi Limited and Educate 360, LLC

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of County Cork-based Velopi by Boston-based Educate 360.

Established in 2007 and headquartered in Kinsale, Ireland, Velopi provides training and consultancy services, specialising in the niche of project management. The firm has a list of renowned clients that includes Abbott and Pfizer.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Educate 360 is a professional training partner that designs training, coaching, and consulting solutions to improve efficiency, increase cross-functional alignment, and drive results. The acquisition enables Educate 360 to have a greater reach into the European market and the ability to build upon Velopi’s existing clientele.

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The New Reality and What it Means for Valuation

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

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

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between 7 Elements Limited and Redcentric plc

Benchmark International has successfully advised on the sale of Edinburgh-based 7 Elements to Harrogate-based Redcentric.

7 Elements is a CREST accredited and award-winning technical assurance services company providing industry-leading security testing, incident response, and bespoke consultancy services.

Established in 1997, AIM-listed Redcentric is a managed service provider. The company operates across five locations and has over 500 employees.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

This acquisition expands upon the cyber security skills, capabilities, and services of Redcentric, complementing a growing portfolio, while addressing increasing market demand and customer requirements for security products and support.

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How to Avoid Seller's Remorse

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

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

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Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Company

What’s Your Competitive Advantage on the Market?

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

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Dispelling Myths about Private Equity Buyers

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

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

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

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

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

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

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

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

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Strategies for Retaining Talent During a Merger or Acquisition

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

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

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