There is a common question we receive quite often at our exit planning conferences from business owners: Does private equity invest in companies like mine?
They ask this when our conference leaders share real stories about the various types of deals buyers of middle market businesses make, including private equity firms. The answer? Several hundred PE firms in the U.S. alone focus solely on smaller acquisitions.
In fact, according to PitchBook, this year is shaping up to be a record year for PE activity in the middle market:
There are many themes in the US PE middle market worth discussing, but one trend we can't ignore is its consistent strength over the years. In fact, 2018 is on pace for yet another record year for both deal counts and transaction value, coming on the heels of a blockbuster 2017. Both figures were ahead of those in 1H 2017—the 1,358 deals worth a combined $178.5 billion from 1H 2018 were 16% and 5% increases, respectively, over the same period last year. [See chart below for details.]
Keep in mind that the second half of most years are much stronger than the first half, so 2018 has a good chance of being a second record year in a row.
One thing to ponder is this: Look at the impact the last recession had on private equity activity in the middle market, which you can see in the 2009 of the chart above. In the midst of the recession PE invested in only 744 businesses worth at total of $75.2 billion, less than half the total deal value through the first six months of this year alone! And the recovery year’s totals, in 2010, were nearly the same for the first six months of this year.
This clearly points out the danger of waiting too long during this current seller’s market to make a move with your company. As PitchBook points out there are a few storm clouds on the horizon:
Two macro developments should also be considered going forward: the ongoing tariff situation that will affect broad swaths of the middle market, and the steady increase in interest rates coming from the Fed. Interest rates in particular are worth noting, as higher interest payments can have an outsized impact on cashflows over time.
Keep in mind that most private equity transactions have some component of financing included in the transaction. Rising interest rates (or even the fear of rising interest rates) can cause PE firms to revalue their perspective on acquisitions. This not only drives down business valuations, but also causes some deals to be scuttled all together when the numbers do not add up to a sufficient ROI.
So, if you own a business, you have two choices:
If you are like most business owners, a significant portion (if not all) of your net worth is tied up in a highly illiquid asset: The business. Finding out your company’s market value is an important first step in managing your wealth and financial future.
To learn more about your exit planning options and how to begin the process, contact one of our exit planning professionals at 972-232-1121 or visit our website, provide us with your contact info, and we will be in touch.
By Carl Doerksen, Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.
© 2021 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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 educated and informed us – so that we could be on the upside of a good decision (to sell).Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
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.Betty L. Brennan, President, Taylor Studios
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.
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
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.
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
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.
I would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.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
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
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
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.
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
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
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
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