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PitchBook Says: Most Companies Sold Are Lower Middle-Market

By Generational Equity

PitchBook Says Most Companies Sold Lower Middle Market

One of the most compelling pieces of exit planning research that we present in our M&A seminars is the fact that year after year, the vast majority of closed M&A transactions are with companies from the lower middle-market, which is loosely defined as those valued below $100 million. This assertion is supported by PitchBook’s recently released 2nd Quarter 2016 M&A Report:

As you can see, in the last quarter, about 70% of all deals closed were valued below $100 million. This percentage is pretty constant from Q1 2013 through YTD 2016, fluctuating from a high of nearly 80% in Q1 2013 to a low of around 70%.

When we present this type of data in our seminars, we usually surprise most attendees because they have the opposite assumption, namely that most deals closed are very large because this is what gets all the press. In fact, research also shows that of the 70% below $100 million, a near majority is valued below $25 million, indicating that smaller deals are very popular with professional buyers.

The Attraction of Smaller Businesses

Why is this, you may wonder? If the huge deals get all the press, what is the benefit of acquiring a smaller target?

As we mentioned recently in another post, the answer is simple: Professional buyers have learned the hard way that it is easier to acquire and integrate a smaller player than it is to try and do the same with a billion-dollar transaction. And this makes sense. If you are a corporate strategic doing $100 million in revenue and are on an acquisition expansion program, it will be far easier to locate and acquire/integrate four $25 million revenue companies over several years rather than do so with one $100 million business of similar size.

In addition, the really exciting factor is that acquiring four businesses introduces four different management teams and business models, each with new ideas, strengths, and ways of doing things. This can be a huge incentive for the acquiring company.

So the facts are clear: Smaller deals are attractive.

If this is news to you, and you own a privately held company, then you really need to set aside time to attend a Generational Equity M&A Seminar. We hold these throughout North America and they are complimentary and no-obligation; we have designed them to aid business owners who have little or no experience, through the entire exit planning process. Our M&A professionals have designed an educational system that is intended to give you 100% more info after you leave than you had before you attended.

To learn if your company qualifies to attend, please reach out to us at:

Carl Doerksen is the Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.

© 2021 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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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
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.
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
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
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
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 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
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
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.
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
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
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
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
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.
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.
Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
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
Generational Equity educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.
Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
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
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Robert Evans, President and CEO of Mealtracker Dietary Software
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
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
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
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
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JoAnn Ellis, Owner of Fondren 5 Star Kennels
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Rick Nowak, President/CEO, Kurz Electric Solutions, Inc.
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.
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
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