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A Commitment to Consistency: How Generational Group Pursues M&A Excellence

By Ryan Binkley

Refinitiv M&A Rankings 2020

Each year, the Refinitiv M&A Rankings shine a spotlight on the most active M&A leaders in the industry from a deal making perspective. It identifies the organizations that have closed the greatest number of deals in the previous 12 months at different value levels, and is something myself and our team at Generational Group keep a close eye on.

When the 2020 rankings were released recently, I was as excited as ever to see that our firm achieved excellent positions among our peers:

  • #1 for transactions valued up to $10 million
  • #1 for transactions valued up to $25 million
  • #2 for transactions valued up to $50 million
  • #2 for transactions valued up to $100 million
  • #8 for transactions valued up to $500 million
  • #11 for transactions valued up to $1 billion

These rankings are exceptional in their own right, and I’m hugely proud of the remarkable grit and determination of our associates for helping us to achieve them, especially given the very trying times 2020 presented us with.

But for me, beyond this, is what they represent for the longevity of our success. The 2020 Refinitiv Rankings mark an unprecedented 11th consecutive year we have ranked #1 for deals closed up to $25 million, and the 6th straight year ranked #2 for deals closed up to $100 million.

In each of the past 4 years we have broken our previous record for the number of closed transactions. It is this consistent pattern of excellence that satisfies me the most, as it reassures me that what we do works, and it is helping hard-working business owners maximize the potential of their exit plans with us by their side.

Because, as the celebrated author, speaker and Pastor John C. Maxwell once said:

“Reaching the top is a monumental achievement, but remaining there might be the most spectacular feat of all.”

How we always strive for continued success

Accomplishments like these stellar positions on Refinitiv’s prestigious M&A rankings are a testament to the commitment and dedication of our entire team. There’s no secret formula or special ingredient – just talented, enthusiastic people doing what they do best, in an environment that enables them to do so effectively.

Of course, the incredible efforts of our team are underpinned by GUIDE – the core values that are at the heart of everything we do at Generational Group:

  • Golden Rule: Showing the same level of respect and responsible stewardship to our clients that we would expect from professionals in our position.
  • Unity: Working in harmony, both within our teams and alongside our clients, towards achieving a single goal.
  • Integrity: Rigidly sticking to a strong, moral code of ethics to guide every decision that impacts our associates and clients.
  • Diligence: Always earnest and persistent in pursuing our clients’ ambitions and helping them achieve the best possible results.
  • Excellence: Making the extra effort necessary to be outstanding in all our dealings, both professional and personal.

The devotion of our associates to each of these core values is a fundamental reason why we continue to maintain our position at the forefront of middle market M&A in North America. It is why we have been able to forge strong relationships with both clients and buyers in this industry. It is why I have a smile on my face whenever I think about our firm’s future.

Another example of this in action is our results at both the 19th Annual M&A Advisor Awards and the 12th Annual International M&A Awards. These marked the third time that Generational Group was named Valuation Firm of the Year since 2014 – another hat-trick to go alongside the 3 consecutive years the firm was named Investment Banking Firm of the Year (2016, 2017 and 2018).

These highlight how long we have maintained our standards for excellence, something I’m especially grateful to have played a part in guiding. This is complemented by the several transaction-based awards we received for 2020:

These are among the dozens of deals we concluded in 2020 and, while the accolades are fantastic, I never lose sight of the fact that each represents a business owner and family we have successfully helped to achieve their financial dreams.

At the end of the day, that is the true value of our commitment to consistency – these awards just reaffirm to me that we are continuing to deliver the best possible service and results for people on the journey to exiting their business, even in the face of challenging circumstances.

Overcoming the challenges of 2020

2020 was certainly a remarkable year.  Hopefully, we will never witness another year like it.  It posed unprecedented challenges for both individuals and businesses, and forced all of us to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

At Generational Group this was no different. We activated our contingency plans for the circumstances so we could continue to meet the needs of our clients without any break in quality of service. I was always confident we would continue to thrive in this environment, and the recognition we received at the end of the year was testament to that.

Even amid the disruption to M&A activity in the spring and early summer of 2020, we put ourselves in an ideal position to push when deal making activity ramped back up in the second half of the year – a trend that, as I noted in my previous article, has persisted into 2021.

The fact that we were not only able to maintain our levels of deal making activity of recent years, but actually surpass them on the way to another record-breaking year for Generational Group, was all the assurance I needed over the quality of our team and the robustness of our process.

Looking towards the future

There are numerous factors I can point to as to how we have maintained our levels of excellence and progressed as a firm, especially in recent years.

The investment in our M&A Buyer Marketing Group. The expansion of our offices from 5 to 14 since 2018. The recent growth of our group to incorporate both Generational Wealth Advisors and Generational Consulting Group.

But, two factors stand out from the crowd:

  1. The extraordinary efforts of our entire team of professionals
  2. The loyalty and support of our clients

With these two qualities at the heart of everything we do as an organization, I have no doubts we will continue our current trend in 2021 to yet another record-setting year of deal making activity.

And, subsequently, we will continue to help company owners across North America unlock the full potential of their exit strategies, and set them up perfectly for a comfortable, fulfilling life after business.

If this has piqued your interest, you can learn more about Generational Group’s accomplishments in the Awards section of the website. You can also get in touch to learn more about our team’s approach and how it could benefit you on your path to exit.

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Greetings Mike. Thank you for the captivating and compelling presentation you made at the Phoenix presentation last week. Over many years in business yours was the most informative and well-presented presentation, on any subject, that I have ever attended! Your energy and enthusiasm combined with your concise and captivating support of your positions with easily understood examples and data was compelling.
Pete L.
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.
Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
Michael worked tirelessly, He followed every lead meticulously and urgently to make sure nothing was missed.
Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
The professionals at Generational Equity then helped develop a roadmap for enhancing the value of the firm and an evaluation report. This was completed by June 14, 2021. We then developed the Confidential Information Memorandum and put Taylor Studios, Inc. on the market by July.
Generational Equity’s professional staff helped me every step of the way. Their network and professionals are the only reason I sold my company this quickly. For me this is a once in a lifetime sale and I was unfamiliar with the process. I was able to lean on them with questions and concerns.
Betty L. Brennan, President, Taylor Studios
Thanks to you, the entire GE team and especially Michael Goss for driving a great valuation, coaching me and driving the process across the finish line. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support GE going forward. P.S. Given my experience with GE I felt comfortable enough to sign up with Generation Wealth Advisors!
Tom Currier, Former President & CEO, Rackmount Solutions
We were happy to see the interest in our company and what we cherished has not just a valuable company but an important company to the communities we served in.
Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
We were represented by Michael Goss with Generational. The due diligence was grueling and exhausting, but Michael propped us up and kept us motivated throughout the process. Debi and I continued to ask each other how we could possibly make it through this process without the assistance of Michael. Michael's professionalism and knowledge is absolutely amazing, and we are so blessed to have had him by our side as we made our future dreams come true.
Bob and Debi Lee, Owners of BL Technology, Inc and BL Tl Services, LLC
We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.
Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
I need to say an immense thank you to Don Ho for his stellar work ethic, attention to detail, and tireless effort. Also thank you to the whole crew at GE! Without you, Don could not do such a phenomenal job. We were shooting for closing and funding before the end of 2020, due to the uncertainty of the political landscape and taxes. I am happy to report we closed last week and will be funding tomorrow.
Dr. Caty J. Catron PhD, RN, VA-BC – Owner, Vic The Picc, LLC
Through the sale process, Generational brought in several interested buyers and we closed in about 6 months. I am so glad I accepted that invitation to the conference and could not be happier with the whole process. The team at Generational coupled with their knowledge and guidance was so valuable that in the end, I know I could never have done this on my own!
JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.
Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
I decided to attend the conference and hopefully receive some guidance on how to structure an exit plan of my business. Upon arriving at the conference, I was so impressed with the presentation given by Generational Equity that I set a future appointment that week to discuss the possibility of selling my business with their Senior Managing Director David Robinson.
JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
We knew it would be a difficult task to have someone really understand our business and our market, prior to researching a possible buyer, so it was imperative that we found someone of your caliber, with definite proven experience in this area.
Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
Thank you again for all your guidance and support. Any company will achieve what they intend, if they have you on their team!
Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
After attending a conference with GE, I decided that the value they bring would be worth the expense and as soon as I started working with them, I realized that was the right decision. When we started to get LOIs, Fred Zweifel took the lead on the communication and supported negotiations throughout the process, which got tricky as we moved forward. I learned that it can be common for companies to make a great offer then work to erode that price with their discoveries, but Fred and the GE team kept that from happening.
Caroline Connelly, CEO, OptoTest
I quickly recognized that Don was working for Sharpe Mixers above all else, and held our interests above others.
Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
The help you provided us during each step of this process made us feel very comfortable and confident we were selecting the right approach to transition our Company.
Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
I must say that I have never worked with a more driven, competent and focused individual as Don Ho.
Jay Dinnison, Owner of Sharpe Mixers
The most important contribution I think Ahmad made was with his personality and work ethic. He is sincere, efficient, and very hard working. He was available to me at all times, whether it was for specific detail of the negotiation or just to talk through the bigger picture. He listened, advised, and recommended, but never forced his idea or opinions. In the time we worked together, he became a valued colleague and also a friend.
Salvo Stoch, Founder and CEO of Sleeping Partners
T.D., thank you so much! You are a great leader! I love how you are using your gifts and talents to better others. You are clearly a GREAT COACH! This 3 day session undoubtedly changed the future of our business, and very well may have been the sole catalyst to save my company, my health and my marriage! A genuine “thank you” from the bottom of my heart.
Bryan D. Horn, Owner, Over Under Clothing
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
I wanted to write you a quick letter to express our appreciation and our delight on the outcome of helping us through the process of our recent sale. We are very happy with the end result, and are very happy to be able to move forward with all of our future growth plans.
Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
The process was much more involved than I expected and your help, experience and advice was a big factor in making the negotiations go as smoothly as possible.
Terry D. Wickman, President, Keytroller
I am pleased that I was able to work with Andrew Byrd throughout this experience. From the first meeting we had in Minneapolis I felt that I was in good hands. His knowledge and expertise is second to none. He guided the process consistently throughout. I feel lucky that I was pared with Andrew and could not be happier that I chose Generational Equity to handle this major life event. Thank you Andrew and GenEq for everything!
Eric Erlandson, Owner, Action Fastenings, Inc.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for us. Not only did you take care of all the aspects of the sale but took extra care to make sure we knew what it looked like every step of the way. I will definitely recommend your company to anyone that is in a position to or looking to exit their business.
Shane and Johanna Kline, Owners of Vision Upfitters
We had the pleasure of working with Mr. Ahmad Behjati Managing Director, M&A, for Generational Equity during our acquisition of Papa's Dodge in late 2021. Generational Equity and Mr. Behjati represented and marketed Papa’s Dodge. As our primary contact, Mr. Behjati was professional in every facet of this acquisition process, conveying valuable advice most times and assisting us in every step of the process.
Rick Greene of Dobbs Equity Partners LLC
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
I couldn’t have asked for a better team than Michael and Deborah. We couldn’t have done it without them.
Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software