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M&A Outlook for Tennessee Business Owners

The state of Tennessee is expected to see sustained economic growth in 2019. The state has a record-low unemployment rate, with nearly 43,000 new jobs projected for Tennesseans this year. The state’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product is also expected to rise. The transportation and utilities sectors are predicted to see positive gains and the healthcare and real estate markets are expected to remain strong.

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A Healthcare Hub

Since 2017, the U.S. state of Tennessee has experienced a surge in M&A activity. The healthcare and technology industries are major drivers behind the increased action, especially in the city of Nashville. In 2018, the private equity firm KKR purchased Envision Healthcare Corp. for $9.9 billion. Apollo Global Management acquired LifePoint Health for $5.6 billion. LifePoint Health then merged with RCCH HealthCare Partners. This momentum is expected to continue through 2019, with much optimism surrounding the healthcare market in particular.

According to Mergermarket, Nashville ranks fifth in the U.S. in terms of the overall value of healthcare M&A deals closed since 2015, with $30 billion in transactions. The upswing in activity is largely due to new technological and data opportunities in the healthcare sector.

In the early part of 2019, we have already seen major M&A ventures surrounding Nashville healthcare businesses. Maryland’s Omega Healthcare acquired Nashville’s MedEquities Realty Trust, Inc. for $600 million. HealthStream, Inc. purchased healthcare-training company Providigm for $18 million. HCA Healthcare, Inc. purchased North Carolina-based Mission Health for $1.5 billion. HCA now owns and operates more than 170 hospitals in 20 states across the country.  

It is important to note that Nashville is home to the headquarters of almost 20 publicly traded healthcare companies and an overall industry that creates more than $92 billion in annual revenue. These healthcare companies employ more than 570,000 people worldwide. The area is anticipated to continue to shape the industry landscape in what is an increasingly inviting market. Strategic buyers and private equity investors will be keeping a close watch on the growing opportunities in this region as the year progresses.

The Real Estate Market

Another industry that is forecast to have a strong year in Tennessee is real estate, specifically in Nashville, which is home to more than 600,000 people. The city’s real estate market has continued to grow over the past decade. Home values increased 8.2% last year and are expected to go up 8% this year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nashville ranks as the nation's fifth-surest investment bet for 2019. This real estate market is positively impacted by several factors, such as ample redevelopment opportunities, low mortgage rates, high demand for housing, a large student population, and plenty of young families. Because Nashville is also known as the Music City and boasts a major tourism industry, there is also a large market for tourism-related rentals.

The attractive quality of life is also a big draw. Last year, Nashville was ranked 11th out of the 100 best cities to live by U.S. News & World Report, up from 13th the year before. We will have to wait and see if it climbs even higher on the list in 2019. 

In addition to the city of Nashville, the Memphis and Knoxville areas also offer attractive real estate markets for investors. This is due to affordable housing and high quality-of-life benefits.

Make a Move

If you are a business owner looking to create value, whether it’s in the state of Tennessee or on the other side of the world, contact Benchmark International to craft a strategy that best suits your company and your aspirations. 

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of HiWAaY Information Services to 1stPoint Communications

Information Services. Since 1995 HiWAAY has provided hosting and email services, data center colocation, internet access and private network services to subscribers from its facilities in Alabama.

"The acquisition of HiWAAY’s assets builds on the success we have had with the acquisition of WebSite Source,” said Erik Levitt, 1stPoint’s CEO. “Access to retail subscribers is a very important part of our business plan. The HiWAAY name is well known in the local market and will provide us the building blocks that we need to service the marketplace in the southeastern United States, which we see as strategically important.”

1stPoint will continue to operate the HiWAAY facility in Homewood and will add the facility to its MPLS network, adding a number of private networking resources to HiWAAY’s existing products. The new services offered to HiWAAY clients will include 1stPoint’s line of collaboration tools, business texting, and more advanced hosting offerings including its virtual desktop environment. HiWAAY services, including email spam protection, will be added to other 1stPoint product offerings.

“This is a great outcome for the customers, employees, and the owners of HiWAAY,” said Jason Mohprasit, one of HiWAAY’s two owners. Mr. Mohprasit and Mr. Chris Campbell grew HiWAAY from 2010 to 2018, migrating the business from a dial-up and DSL provider into an advanced hosting provider. “We are very excited to see 1stPoint’s team take the business to the next level,” added Mr. Campbell.

Benchmark International represented HiWAAY in the transaction and was responsible for the introduction to 1stPoint.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this transaction” said Robert West, Senior Associate at Benchmark. “The transaction went smoothly and we hope that we can work with Benchmark on future projects,” added Levitt. Benchmark provides growth and exit strategies to businesses interested in creating transformative events.

“We welcome the HiWAAY team and look forward to working with the clients and expanding our relationship with them,” added Kristen Vasicek, the Director of Marketing for 1stPoint, who was involved in the acquisition. “HiWAAY’s reputation as being an outstanding service provider with a nationwide capability but a local touch will help us continue to establish our New Way to Work strategy.”

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Something's Brewing in M&A: Craft Beer Gives New Perspective to the Industry

Who doesn’t love microbrews? The explosion of the craft-beer revolution has spread across the country.

Western cities, such as Portland, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, and Los Angeles are seeing a large increase in new jobs and establishments in small-scale breweries. This trend is spreading nationwide, and how do we explain this craft-beer boom? It’s relatively simple, the American breweries lack of distinct, indigenous brewing traditions in the past has been conducive to the rise of craft brewing. The small, independent, and traditional brewery adds to the eclectic style and diversity consumers are demanding. The niche styles of beer, particularly hoppy IPA’s, pale ales, infused blends, and specialty brews are leading the way. This changing landscape has created multiple opportunities for the M&A industry.

So, what does this craft beer boom mean to Benchmark International and the M&A industry? The sustained success of craft beer and the changing demographics of brewery ownership has led to more mergers and acquisitions and transactions than ever before. Since 2014, there has been more than one transaction per month. Global players, such as SAMMiller and InBev, are leading the way in the direct M/As of craft beers. What is more interesting in this recent trend of mergers, is the allowance of once previous competitors to combine styles and taste with new hosts to release new and creative craft beers. The rising popularity of craft beers has fueled industry growth and increased valuation multiples towards all-time highs over the last few years.

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Benchmark International expands in Tennessee

Benchmark International is delighted to announce our expansion into Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville has become a hotbed of mergers and acquisitions activity, and it is one of the fastest growing cities in the US.

Additionally, Benchmark International is growing exponentially, with four new regional offices opened domestically and internationally. So, it was only logical for Benchmark International to expand to this territory and be a part of this growing business culture.

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