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Key Insights in Selling an Architecture Business

Mergers and acquisitions in each industry have their own oddities, and architecture is no different from any other in that regard. However, the following similarities always seem to rise to the top when selling a firm.

Lead Architects are the Key to the Business’ Value.

At the end of the day, like all professional services businesses, the most valuable asset walks out the door every day – and – there is nothing you can do to force them to come back the next day. Acquirers are very aware of this, and when buying architecture firms, they will take extreme measures to ensure that they will return not only the day after the deal closes but for years to come. As a result, almost every deal in this space involves broadening corporate ownership to include, typically, the most senior/valuable 10% of the firm, covering the rainmakers, the client managers, the project managers, and the most brilliant experienced architects. If the owner falls into one or more of these categories, they should expect to retain some equity and sign a multi-year employment agreement.

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Surge in Private Equity Deal Activity 2021

Private equity transactions on a global scale returned to form in 2021 following the challenges posed by the pandemic, with private equity firms deploying record amounts of dry powder held as they looked to invest cash accumulated during the pandemic.

According to Mergermarket, a record was set for the percentage of M&A deals that involved private equity, with buyouts comprising 27% of global activity in 2021. This totalled 8,548 deals worth $2.1tn, nearly doubling the previous record set in 2007. Deal volume was also staggering, showing a 60% increase year-on-year.

Looking to 2022, it appears that global private equity deals might continue in the same vein, as private equity houses still have approximately $2.3tn of cash reserves. This, coupled with increasingly positive economic conditions such as a brightening global economic outlook, seller-favourable valuations, and low interest rates, are instilling confidence in the market.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

At Benchmark International, the Transactions Teams stay abreast of industry trends to ensure the best and most suitable deals are completed for clients. As a result, throughout 2021, Benchmark International in the UK and Ireland has completed 18 transactions involving a private equity buyer. These include:

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How Potential Tax Changes Could Impact M&A

There are several changes to tax policy on the table in the United States under the Biden administration. The administration has discussed tax increases on high-income earners at some point in the future, while the timing is yet to be determined. If you are a business owner considering the sale of your company in the next few years, you may want to speed up your timeline because waiting could mean you have to pay higher taxes if laws do change.

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Supply Chain Issues Are Fueling M&A Transactions

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normalcy in several aspects of the world as we knew it, and one of the things hit especially hard has been the global supply chain. These supply chain problems have impacted nearly every industry and business, both large and small. Because of so much continued uncertainty in supply chains—uncertainty that is expected to last for years—business owners and executive leaders are reassessing operations and seeking paths to gain more control.

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Benchmark International’s Gregory Jackson Named International CEO Of The Year (Corporate Finance)

Gregory Jackson, Benchmark International’s CEO, was named International CEO of the Year (Corporate Finance) by the Gamechangers™ 2022 Global Awards, adding to his growing and impressive list of accolades.

Gamechangers™ is a leading corporate news publication, serving the finance sector since 2003. They provide a global audience of more than 245,000 senior executive-level subscribers with valuable information.

The Gamechangers™ Global Awards are the largest program of their kind in the market, celebrating achievement, innovation, and brilliance in the industry. They have a legitimately independent nomination process, and the industry itself chooses the winners. They rely on reader insight and experience for the nominations and look for exemplary businesses that are the benchmark of achievement in their field on a global level. Firms of all sizes are recognized, and the awards represent an endorsement of outstanding work. In addition, the awards are the only industry honors awarded purely on the basis of voter participation.

Steven Keane, Executive Chairman of Benchmark International, said, “I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award. Greg inspires our team to raise their game every single day, and his dedication combined with their talent is why we earn such high esteem and respect from our industry peers.”

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Acquiring A New 401(k) Plan In An M&A Transaction

There are basically four possible outcomes for retirement plans in an M&A deal: 

  • The plans of both companies are merged.
  • The plan at the acquired company is terminated.
  • Both plans from both companies are maintained.
  • The plan from the acquired company is frozen.

So, what do you need to know if these circumstances apply to a deal that you are involved in?

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Shift Traffic Events Limited and Chevron Traffic Management Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Scunthorpe-headquartered Shift Traffic Events to Oxfordshire-based Chevron Traffic Management.

Shift Traffic Events specialises in traffic management within the events and utilities sectors, including high profile events such as the London Marathon. The company employs over 150 people and has depots in Scunthorpe and Essex.

Chevron Traffic Management provides physical and digital traffic controls for organisations working within utilities, rail, high-speed network, local authorities and events which need to disrupt normal traffic flow. It has 30 depots across the UK, including one in Scotland which operates as Class One Traffic Management. The company has been owned by Triton, an international investment firm, since 2018.

Chevron Traffic Management is part of the Chevron Group of companies, which includes Chevron Green Services, Chevron Green Consultancy, Class One Traffic Management and Highway Resource Solutions (HRS).

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

The acquisition is part of the company’s buy and build strategy and will help Chevron Traffic Management to expand their existing capabilities in traffic management within the events and utilities sectors, alongside other specialisms like digital services and arboriculture.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Classic Emporium, LLC And Champion Xpress Car Wash

Benchmark International’s client Classic Emporium, DBA Rain Tunnel Car Spa, a New Mexico-based company providing vehicle wash, detailing and quick lube services, has sold to Champion Xpress Car Wash, a family-owned and operated business with multiple locations across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Iowa.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Perfusion.com, Inc. and Epic Healthcare Travel Staffing, Inc.

Perfusion.com (PDC) is the leading provider of staffing services to the U.S. perfusion industry. The company’s core perfusion staffing services include autotransfusion, blood management and biologics services, the sale of disposables, capital equipment leasing, training and education services and patient transportation. The company is headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Englander Enterprises Inc. And ESAM, Inc.

Englander Enterprises, Inc. (EEI), of Clearwater, Florida, provides mission-critical electronic and electromechanical solutions for aerospace, defense, and homeland security applications. Founded in 1993, EEI’s clients include an elite list of Tier-1 defense prime contractors and government customers, with solutions integrated into a broad array of the country’s highest-priority defense platforms and programs.

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

Benchmark International has been named the International Mid-Market Corporate Finance Advisory of the Year by Acquisition International’s ACQ Global Awards.

Acquisition International is a growing publication, currently having a circulation of 108,000 readers in more than 170 countries.

Each year, Acquisition International highlights some of the most renowned and innovative professionals around the world through these awards. According to the publication, their “dedicated team ensures that the awards are allocated only to the individuals and firms that truly deserve them and have demonstrated excellence within their respective fields.” This includes the largest international corporations and smaller firms and individuals in the business. In addition, they select the award recipients based on achievements, endeavors, and efforts made over the previous year rather than getting votes from companies, individuals, or other third parties.

Award winners are chosen through an internal process of research, analysis, shortlisting, and selection. First, an in-house team uses publicly available sources such as local and national press, industry journals, client recommendations, press releases, and other published works to find candidates based entirely on merit. Then, each is carefully scrutinized to narrow down a shortlist that is then followed by a final list.

Throughout the process, factors taken into consideration include sector expertise, experience, industry recognition, innovation, client testimonials, reputation, firm performance, leadership, and extracurricular activities. They aim to showcase the industry’s very best and serve as a trusted guide for those seeking trusted experts.

The Benchmark team is proud of this honor and looks forward to continuing to be pioneers on the global financial advisory stage.

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Proposed Changes to U.S. Section 1202 Tax Reform: What You Need to Know

WHAT IS SECTION 1202?
In the United States, Section 1202 is known as the Small Business Stock Gains Exclusion. It is a section of the IRS code that allows capital gains from Qualified Small Business (QSB) stock to be exempt from federal taxes when selling. But not all small business stocks qualify:

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Benchmark International Awarded International Gamechanger Of The Year

Benchmark International was named International Gamechanger of the Year for 2018 by the Gamechangers™ACQ Global Awards.

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Benchmark International Wins International Advisory Expert Award

Benchmark International was named International Advisory Experts by the Global Advisory Experts Awards. 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between CorEnergy Limited and Sureserve Group plc

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Manchester-based CorEnergy by Kent-based Sureserve in a £7.5m deal.

CorEnergy was established in 2014 to capitalise on market growth in LED lighting and renewables. Focused on providing sustainable energy services for public and private sector organisations, the company provides cost analysis, design, supply, installation and commissioning of LED lighting and controls, solar photovoltaics, electrical vehicle charging, battery storage, and renewable heating solutions.

It is expected to achieve revenues in excess of £6m and EBITA of £1m for the year to 31 December 2021.

AIM-listed Sureserve, currently valued at £148m and employing over 2,100 people, is a compliance and energy services group. The bolt-on deal expands Sureserve’s range of energy services, with CorEnergy providing the firm with new expertise in solar power and electric vehicles.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

The maximum total consideration payable for CorEnergy by Sureserve is £7.5m, with an initial £5.9m payable on completion, including £2.9m in cash and the issue of 3,281,879 new ordinary shares of 10p each. Further deferred consideration of up to £1.6m may be payable, split equally between cash and shares, depending on CorEnergy's full-year results to December 2021.

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Benchmark International Awarded M&A Deal of The Year (100M - 250M)

At the 20th Annual M&A Advisor Awards, Benchmark International was awarded M&A Deal of the Year (100M-250M) for the acquisition of PBK Architects by DC Capital Partners.

As the 23rd largest US-based architecture firm, PBK, based in Houston, Texas, and its subsidiaries in California, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, employ more than 500 architects, engineers, and related professionals.

In addition to its Top 25 status, in 2019, PBK was ranked as the “#1 Education Design Firm” by Engineering News-Record (“ENR”), widely regarded as the engineering and design industry’s premier publication. Specializing in K-12 projects and, in particular, large public high schools, PBK has long been the go-to firm for sustainable design and next-gen integrations in particular. The company also focuses on two related building types—higher education and sports facilities.

This transaction followed closely on the heels of 11 other deals that Benchmark International closed in the architecture, engineering & construction (AEC) space in the first half of 2020.

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Benchmark International Named Investment Banking Firm of The Year

At the 20th Annual M&A Advisor Awards—known as the Oscars of the M&A world— Benchmark International was awarded Investment Banking Firm of the Year. The awards are presented by The M&A Advisor, and the winners were announced at the Gala Ceremony live event held in New York City on November 17, 2021.

Benchmark International beat out the other nominees, which included Capstone Partners, Clearsight Advisors, DC Advisory, Drake Star Partners, Generational Group, Leonis Partners, and Raymond James.

These awards serve as the industry benchmark for dealmaking excellence, recognizing the leading M&A transactions, restructurings, deal financings, products/services, firms, and professionals.

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

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

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

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

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

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U.S. Private Equity in Middle Market Continues at Record Levels

Middle-market private equity (PE) dealmaking in the United States didn’t lose its record momentum in the second quarter of 2021, some of which carried over into Q3, thanks to sustained economic recovery, ample debt, and plenty of available capital, according to data from Pitchbook. U.S. GDP grew at an annualized 6.5% in Q2 but slowed to 2% in Q3, mainly due to global supply chain issues. 

PE fundraising is also holding strong, with the 87 U.S. middle-market funds raised so far this year on course to set a new record. Additionally, the $68.4 billion in capital raised in 2021 is on track to be the second-highest annual total since 2010.

Most deal activities were put on hold for several months after March of 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 2021 and early 2022 may be the right time to sell. The following factors are affecting the viewpoint of sellers of privately-owned companies: 

  • Some owners are now more heedful of another crisis and how it could affect their businesses. 
  • Many owners no longer wish to sustain efforts and risks that come with their businesses. 
  • Owners who worked remotely during the pandemic got accustomed to more flexible schedules and free time. 
  • Numerous owners nearing retirement are worried about the possibility of higher corporate, personal income, capital gains, and dividend taxes. 
  • Because wealth built up in private companies is not easily converted to cash, some owners have focused on the fact that after-tax proceeds from a sale will last for a long period of time.

So far this year, the largest share of PE deals has taken place in the lower to middle markets, with deals of less than $1 billion making up nearly 70% of all deals. 2021 remains on pace to easily surpass the prior annual record from 2019. At the end of the year, numbers are expected to be even more impressive as investors may hurry to close deals before the year comes to a close. 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

According to the Golub Middle Market Index, U.S. middle-market companies registered 21% revenue growth in the third quarter of this year. In addition, direct lending funds account for most middle-market LBO financing and reached record fundraising levels in the second quarter. 

Add-ons increased as a share of PE deals. Middle-market firms looked to add mid-sized aggregators and sought out M&A deals to expand platforms, diversify the value chain, and embrace ESG principles. 

There was also robust exit activity in the middle market, as valuations were desirable and investor confidence was high. So far this year, the market hosted an estimated 430 exits with a combined value of $87.3 billion. Soaring valuations mean that many GPs meet their investment goals earlier than expected, driving many to cash in on investments ahead of schedule. 

Smaller, strategic exits are dwindling in the hospitality and travel sectors for expected reasons after the pandemic impacts. Middle-market sponsors are holding onto investments in these pandemic-stricken sectors. In the second quarter of 2021, there were almost zero exits of hotels, in-person dining, travel providers, or other related companies. 

Secondary buyouts are also following an upward trend. So far this year, SBOs account for nearly 62% of all middle-market exits. Buyout firms are taking advantage of limited partners’ healthy appetite for private market exposure as well as the record deal activity that enabled firms to fundraise at a very fast pace. While first-time funds and emerging managers put up positive numbers in 2021, some bigger LPs put less investment into large multi-strategy firms or shifted it to new products offered by those with whom they already had a relationship. 

Even amid all this positive activity, middle-market firms in the U.S. are still facing other challenges. While unemployment rates have improved from 2020, there is still a record number of unfilled jobs, causing major labor shortages in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality. These circumstances are causing firms to focus more on deals that acquire key talent and automated technologies that help with employee management and retention. The sector of senior care has been hit particularly hard by labor shortages, which is likely to result in increased consolidation by home care platforms. Additionally, insurance brokerages, wealth management firms, and registered investment advisors (RIAs) all witnessed record M&A activity in the first half of this year. 

PE firms are also pursuing more intricate opportunities to expand lines of business, end-market exposures, and product value chains. Such game-changing add-on acquisitions can be especially effective for vertical software deals because complementary products can be woven into multi-capability platforms to create all-in-one solutions that are good for customer retention.

Deal activity is also being driven by environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) initiatives. ESG has moved into the forefront for businesses this year. Transactions in the renewables market represent middle-market opportunities to grow a platform into a sector leader because of the market’s highly fragmented nature. Firms in the middle market are also pursuing add-on acquisitions to better align their portfolio companies with sustainability initiatives, whether to meet changing consumer sentiment or lower capital costs by lowering carbon emissions.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Coastal Retreats Limited & The Original Cottage Company Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the acquisition of Northumberland-based Coastal Retreats to Norwich-based Original Cottages.

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Benchmark International Named Among The 50 Best Workplaces Of The Year

Benchmark International has been named as one of the 50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2021 by The Silicon Review. The list is handpicked from different areas and recognizes businesses that attract both talent and clientele and stand out with regards to unique and positive company culture.  

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The Benefits of an Effective Seller Transition Period

A very important part of selling your business occurs after the business has been sold. The transition period, also known as the handover period, begins when the exiting owner remains with business for a period of time to assist the new owner with taking control of the company. The transition period should be carefully planned and thought through in order to ensure that it is well executed when the time comes. It can make a great deal of sense to begin working on these details early on in the sale process.

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Benchmark International Wins Several M&A Advisor Awards: Investment Banking Firm Of The Year, M&A Deal Of The Year ($100M-$250M), Professional Services (B2B) Deal Of The Year

Benchmark International won three prestigious awards at the 20th Annual M&A Advisor Awards, presented by The M&A Advisor. The winners were announced at the Gala Ceremony live event held in New York City on November 17, 2021. The awards won by Benchmark International included:

 Investment Banking Firm of the Year

M&A Deal of the Year ($100MM to $250MM)

Professional Services (B2B) Deal of the Year


These awards are known as the Oscars of the M&A world, serving as the industry benchmark for dealmaking excellence, recognizing the leading M&A transactions, restructurings, deal financings, products/services, firms, and professionals. Benchmark International took top billing over other well-known firms such as Raymond James, Goldman Sachs, and KPMG.

Gregory Jackson, CEO of Benchmark International, stated, "We are immensely proud of our team for such honorable achievements. We will continue to pursue only the highest of standards for our clients and to maintain our role as a leader in the world of mergers and acquisitions."

"These awards speak volumes about how much Benchmark International has become game-changers in the middle market. Congratulations to every member of the Benchmark International family who works tirelessly to make sure we shine every day," said Steven Keane, Chairman.

Also weighing in is Dara Shareef, Managing Partner, who said, "This fantastic news is a true testament to the vision, talent, and commitment of everyone at Benchmark International who always goes above and beyond to look out for the best interests of our clients."

Clinton Johnston, Managing Director, also expressed his pride in a statement: "We are delighted with this recognition that demonstrates how highly regarded we are in the M&A space. Our team's hard work and impressive accomplishments deserve to be celebrated."

The M&A Advisor was founded in 1998 with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, and today is the leading organization that recognizes excellence and achievement among the world's leading dealmakers.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Elkay Laboratory Products (UK) Limited and Calibre Scientific, Inc.

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the acquisition of Basingstoke-based Elkay Laboratory Products to Los Angeles-based Calibre Scientific.

Elkay Laboratory Products is a premier distributor of products including liquid handling, specimen collection, storage, biobanking, test tubes, caps and vials, filtration and centrifugation, multi-well plates, and calibration services to a range of domestic and international institutions and organisations. The company’s diversified customer base spans a variety of end markets including clinical, academic, industrial and environmental applications.

Calibre Scientific is a diversified global provider of life science reagents, tools, instruments, and other consumables to the lab research, diagnostics, industrial, and biopharmaceutical communities. Calibre Scientific owns a portfolio of twenty-one life science and diagnostic companies with its global reach extending to over 175 countries. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, the company continues to expand its product offering and global footprint to laboratories across a wide array of verticals and geographies.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

With this acquisition, Calibre Scientific further enhances its overall product offering in the laboratory supplies market and adds a scalable distribution operation to the portfolio.

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Benchmark International Awarded Company Sales Specialists Of The Year

Benchmark International was awarded Company Sales Specialists of the Year in the National Finance & Banking Awards by the Global Advisory Experts.

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Benchmark International Among 50 Most Powerful M&A Firms In The World

UpSlide has named Benchmark International among the 50 Most Powerful M&A Firms in the World.

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Benchmark International Given Acquisition Excellence Award

Benchmark International was given the Acquisition Excellence Award by the esteemed publication Acquisition International.

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Reps and Warranties Insurance is Now Key for Strategic Buyers

Reps and warranties insurance is a policy secured for corporate transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. In recent years, the amount of this type of insurance sold has increased significantly. It covers the indemnification for certain breaches of the representations and warranties in transaction agreements, either partially or in full. Reps and warranties insurance usually doesn’t cover losses for breaches of covenants (other than pre-closing tax indemnification) or purchase price adjustments. 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Swedex UK Limited and Abracs Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of Doncaster-based Swedex UK to York-based Abracs Ltd.

Established in 2003, Swedex UK is a distributor of carbide tipped circular saw blades, sold to other distributors and sawmills throughout the UK. It has an exclusive supplier agreement with Swedex AB, which was founded in 1983 in Mjölby, Sweden, and is a manufacturer of circular saw blades.

Established in 1989, Abracs Ltd are one of the UK’s leading brands of abrasives and power tool accessories. The company holds the UK’s most extensive cross section of PTA products which enables it to cater for virtually all industrial markets. The acquisition of Swedex UK and its exclusive access to Swedex AB’s products will be an excellent addition to complement Abracs' existing product portfolio.

Speaking about working with Benchmark International, ex-Shareholder and Finance Director at Swedex UK, Carol Neal, commented: “Regarding the sale of our company, Benchmark were fantastic! Andrew helped us through the process, advised and assisted us through the maze of legislation and was on hand with any queries we had. Selling our company was never going to be easy, but I dread to think how much more difficult it would have been without Benchmark at our side. Benchmark kept us informed of all potential buyers and the best one with a good offer was found within a short period of time. From the first contact, through advertising and then on to completion everything went smoothly. I would definitely recommend Benchmark to assist you in the sale of your business or company.”

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Benchmark International is Delighted to announce its Market Entry into Germany

Benchmark International is delighted to exclusively reveal the location of its new European office and introduce Managing Director, Martin Franz.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between H4 Aerospace (UK) Limited and Eirtech Aviation Services Ltd

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Hemel-Hempstead-based H4 Aerospace (UK) (H4A) and Shannon-based Eirtech Aviation Services (Eirtech).

H4A is a UK CAA DOA, enabling it to undertake the engineering design and certification of modifications to commercial aircrafts, which range from main cabin reconfigurations with new seats and monuments, to cockpit avionic system upgrades. With its head office and main design office based in Hemel Hempstead, the company is within easy reach of all the main airports in and around the M25 area.

Since 2009, Eirtech has been providing a range of cost-effective professional aviation services and bespoke solution packages to airlines and airline leasing companies such as tailor-made engineering services, advanced composite repair services, and asset management solutions, ensuring regulatory compliance. Headquartered in Shannon, Ireland, the company also has engineering facilities in Dublin, Belfast, Great Britain, and Singapore.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

The acquisition of H4A is in line with the continued global expansion plans of Eirtech and brings to the company both CAA P21 J approval and EASA P 21 J approval capability under one roof.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Nortech Solutions Group Ltd and Nijhuis Saur Industries B.V.

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Nortech Solutions Group (Nortech) and Nijhuis Saur Industries (NSI).

Nortech is a multidiscipline engineering, design, and project management organisation, operating across multiple sectors including upstream and downstream oil & gas, petrochemical, chemical, energy, nuclear, water, and iron & steel.

NSI delivers solid and adaptive solutions for sustainable water use, energy, and resource recovery. With its headquarters in the Netherlands, NSI operates in 130 countries globally, employing over 350 specialists in Dubai, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Germany, Poland, Russia & CIS, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA.

The deal will enable NSI to expand its engineering capabilities in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, paving the way for further investment and growth.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Menno M. Holterman, President and CEO of NSI, commented: "Nortech adds a wealth of engineering and industry knowledge to the NSI group, which will support the group’s mission to ‘Stand For Water’. Nortech also has a specialist staffing recruitment division, which will help NSI to scale up its global workforce quickly to execute major projects like some of the recently won mega projects in the biofuel and refinery upgrading market in Europe and the Middle East.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Sixth Sense Trading Ltd and MCG Group Holdings Ltd

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the transaction between East Kilbride-based Sixth Sense and Watford-based MCG.

Established in 2009, Sixth Sense is a national training provider of IT and digital apprenticeships, providing SVQ accredited courses to 140 learners through a direct contract with Skills Development Scotland.

MCG is a recruitment, consultancy and project-based solutions company within aerospace & aviation, construction, education, healthcare, and technology. The company works with, supplies and employs people both in the UK and internationally.

The acquisition is the third by MCG in 12 months, as part of a five-year growth strategy.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Grant Henderson, COO of MCG, said: “The acquisition of Sixth Sense fulfils both a business and personal ambition in increasing our training capability for our internal staff, as well as externally to our valued customers.”

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Benchmark International Awarded Corporate Strategy Of The Year For Fingerprint Process

Benchmark International was awarded Corporate Strategy of the Year in the M&A Advisor’s M&A Awards for our proprietary Fingerprint process.

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The Impact of U.S. Infrastructure Investment on M&A

The U.S. Senate recently passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), to improve the country’s roads, bridges, and utilities. The bill does face an uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where its support is more limited. Still, the Democratic Party could use the reconciliation process to get the bill passed into law. 

The bill includes:

  • $73 billion for electric grid and power infrastructure
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $65 billion for broadband investments
  • $55 billion for water systems and infrastructure
  • $50 billion for Western water storage 
  • $39 billion for public transit 
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation projects 
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways
  • $15 billion for electric vehicles
  • $11 billion for road safety

So, what might this all mean for M&A? 

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Open Learning Holdings (PTY) LTD and Kagiso Capital (PTY) LTD

Benchmark International is pleased to have advised Open Learning Holdings on the sale of their wholly-owned subsidiary, the Open Learning Group (Pty) Ltd, to Kagiso Capital (Pty) Ltd.

Open Learning Group (Pty) Ltd (OLG) is a private Higher Education institution specialising in distance learning educational programmes. Considered as the most affordable, effective , and flexible vehicle to achieve further education, distance learning opportunities are in high demand by both students and corporates wishing to upskill their staff. Higher Education and Training (HET) programmes offered by OLG range from NQF Level 2 to NQF Level 7, providing an extensive pipeline of programmes for students committed to bettering themselves and their career opportunities.

OLG and their subsidiary Business School of Excellence (Pty) Ltd also offer Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) courses through learnerships, providing knowledge and skills for employment in a specific sector. These, together with Further Education and Training (FET) short learning certificate programmes, are offered in a blended approach, including distance learning, online learning, and contact sessions.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

Lebogang Mosiane, the Chairman of OLG, commented on the transaction, saying, “Kagiso Trust since 1985 has invested in education, primarily being driven by its mission to eradicate poverty. Acquiring Open learning group simply provides a higher education articulation path curated for the needs of those who need the necessary skills to be active in the economy ”, while Jan Kitshoff added: “The acquisition of OLG by Kagiso Capital will provide them with a solid platform to expand their value offering within the broader education landscape.”

Kagiso Capital (Pty) Ltd is an investment holding company wholly owned by Kagiso Trust. The primary purpose of Kagiso Capital is to ensure the longevity of the Kagiso Trust and to diversify the investment asset base of the Trust beyond its current investments in FirstRand Limited, MMH Limited, Discovery Limited and Kagiso Tiso Holdings (Pty) Ltd. Kagiso Capital drives a diversification strategy through meaningful investment in innovative and growing businesses that are committed to economic transformation.

Lebogang Mosiane, speaking on behalf of Kagiso Capital, said, “We would like Open learning group to be the preeminent education platform, where future industries will come recruit talent that will add value to their businesses. We hope this will narrow inequality and transform South African industries to be competitive globally.”

Andre Bresler, representing Benchmark International’s South African office, added, “It was a genuine privilege to be selected to advise the shareholders of Open Learning Holdings (which includes institutional shareholder Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (SA) Ltd) on this transaction, the professionalism and attention to detail was outstanding throughout the process. We are delighted with the outcome for all parties and wish continued success as they embark on this exciting new chapter.”

 

Schedule A Call

 

Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com

Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com

Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 / Lawrie@BenchmarkIntl.com

 

ABOUT BENCHMARK INTERNATIONAL

Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $7B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.

Website: http://www.benchmarkintl.com
Blog: http://blog.benchmarkcorporate.com

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between KeCo Limited and Sabert Corporation Europe

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the transaction between Cambridgeshire-based KeCo and Brussels-based Sabert Europe.

KeCo is a fast-growing UK manufacturer and provider of sustainable foodservice packaging made from paperboard and bagasse. The company has its own trademarked StrEAT® range, as well as owning Karrott, a unique AR app offering customers the opportunity to integrate digital and active marketing within packaging.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

A subsidiary of US-based Sabert Corporation, Sabert Europe offers high-quality and sustainable solutions for delivery, takeaway and catering. The acquisition enables Sabert to enter the UK market and increase renewable material manufacturing.

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The Latest Sales Trends Heading Into 2022

Every business owner should be keeping up with the top sales trends being used to boost companies’ bottom lines in today’s tech-driven economy. So what does the future hold? Use these sales trends insights to make sure you’re doing every last thing you can to take your business to the next level.

Social Selling
Over the last decade, selling has evolved immensely. More than 90% of consumers do online research before buying something these days. And that’s why social selling is becoming so integral to the sales process. Social media connects you with consumers already interested in what you do, so you already have the upper hand by simply having them as an audience. You are also able to build better relationships with them, which will translate to higher customer retention rates.

And don’t forget about the power of referrals. 70% of companies have reported that referrals convert faster than any other type of lead. If your consumers are happy with what you are doing, they will be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family—something that social media makes it easy to do in just a click or two.

Social selling also comes with a few other added benefits. It increases your brand visibility by actively engaging with people online, and it also keeps your brand top of mind. This means you get higher-quality leads. And with high-quality leads, you can expect to see higher sales numbers.

Value-Based Selling
Customers are savvier than ever. They can see through gimmicks. Simply shoving deals in their faces doesn’t work so well anymore, especially in the B2B sector. This is where value-based selling comes in.

Data shows that 87% of high-growth companies use the value-based approach, and with good reason. By focusing more effort on showing customers the direct benefits or personal value they can enjoy from using their products or services, you’re more likely to close more deals.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI adoption for sales teams is projected to be at 139% for the next three years. This is because business leaders are realizing how it can make a massive impact on sales numbers by helping with processes and tasks. Did you know that AI is capable of performing 40% of sales tasks?

AI can help you gather valuable data on customers that you can use to craft marketing strategies to increase your sales. It can also provide value by offering suggestions to customers based on their recent transactions. But that’s not all. AI can also predict trends in your sector to help you stay ahead of the game, boost productivity by automating menial tasks, identify leads with a higher chance of conversion, and improve customer satisfaction.


Ready to explore your exit and growth options?
Personalized Customer Experience
When you give your customers a more personalized experience, they are more likely to do business with you. Research shows that nearly half of all buyers will make an impulse purchase after getting a personalized shopping experience. Because most customers appreciate a level of personalization, they are willing to give you their personal information or create online profiles. And this is really half the battle when it comes to building a solid customer base. Additionally, when customers feel more engaged on your website or app, they are more likely to do business with you. As long as you can offer them convenience, speed, helpfulness, and friendly service, getting personal can take you a long way.

Outsource Sales
80% of logistics leaders have reported that the matter of outsourcing is no longer a yes or no question—it’s just a question of how much needs to be outsourced. The global outsourcing market is projected to grow to $82.2 billion by 2022.

By outsourcing, you will have a dedicated sales team that is laser-focused on identifying leads, reaches different segments through different platforms, and converts potential customers. Meanwhile, your company saves money and gets the sales expertise needed for the job while you focus more on your business. Outsourcing can also help small businesses with scalability issues. If your company experiences rapid growth, an outsourced sales team is ready to handle it.

Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM)
91% of companies in North America have a functional CRM solution integrated into their system. And guess what else? 65% of sales reps using mobile CRM have a higher chance of meeting their quotas. CRM makes it easy for reps to see all the data they need in a centralized system. Because it also stores customer data, CRM can suggest products depending on their past purchases. It can also improve your relationships with your customers by giving you a complete understanding of their needs and preferences.

Omnichannel Sales
Selling today is all about unifying your sales channels and creating a single commerce experience. This gives customers the freedom to choose how they want to buy your product while expecting the same level of service no matter which they choose. 73% of shoppers look at different channels when searching for a product, such as websites, social media, and physical stores. By being visible across channels, your company has a better chance of being chosen by a customer. Omnichannel sales also make the buying experience more convenient. In fact, businesses using omnichannel sales retain 89% of their customers. Yet, 55% of companies do not have an omnichannel strategy in place. It’s simple. Get ahead of the competition by nailing down your omnichannel sales structure.

Target Millennials
Millennials live through technology. In the U.S. alone, 82.2 million Millennials use the Internet, spending about $600 billion every year. They are the most likely customer segment to try new technological features that you offer. And 68% of Millennials prefer a more integrated shopping experience. This is why having that omnichannel sales strategy is so important. Offer them a seamless shopping experience that focuses on technology.

Don’t Forget Generation Z
Generation Z now makes up 32% of the global population, and they have a collective $45 billion in spending power. They represent a huge chunk of the consumer population, and they are spending more and more. Gen Z-ers are digitally entrenched, with an affinity for content from sites like YouTube and Instagram. You should use these preferences to your advantage. And the best part of securing their brand loyalty is that they are poised to be customers for the coming decades because they have just recently come of age. That’s a massive sales opportunity you don’t want to overlook.

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Benchmark International Awarded Leading Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor Of The Year

Benchmark International was named Leading Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor of the Year by Acquisition International’s ACQ Awards.

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The Myth Behind Multiples: How Buyers Really Value a Business

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

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