Insights & Info

Insights > Selling Your Business? The Private Equity Option

Selling Your Business? The Private Equity Option

By Generational Equity

Private Equity Option

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.]

An image

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.

Should you consider the “Private Equity Option” when you sell?

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.

Is time running out to take advantage of record Private Equity activity?

So, if you own a business, you have two choices:

  1. Hang on and hope the seller’s market continues for another year or two (although keep in mind that we are in the fifth year of this current cycle which already makes it one of the longest on record).
  2. Start the exit process today by finding out how much your company is worth in today’s market.

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.

Make an informed decision

The best decisions in life are informed decisions. We release educational business insights like this every week. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the latest news, views and analysis.


Success, you have been added to our list.

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
We are extremely pleased with the way Generational Equity handled the sale of our company. Your associates, Tom and Chris, did an outstanding job of getting us (me) through the process.
Michael J Polarek, President, Paragon Packaging
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
Generational Equity’s assistance was invaluable in compiling and marketing our business.
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
Thanks again Phil and feel free to have a future client call me if they would like a referral. You are a true professional!
Andy Graham, Vice President, Modern Heating & Plumbing
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.
Your wisdom and experience were invaluable to me during this once-in-a-lifetime transaction.
Ralph Noblin, President of Noblin & Associates
We thank you Eric and Generational Equity making our dream come true.
Larry Moore, Owner, A Company Portable Restrooms
Bruce and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Generational Equity for assigning Musa Jagne to our transaction. In Bruce’s words, “Musa did one hell of a job for us!”
Karen S. Williams, CFO, BW Manufacturing
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.
Dear Chris and Andre, I just wanted to say thanks for all your help. Even though this process was not an easy one, it was comforting to know that I had a capable team standing beside me. You made me feel like we were almost your only client or at least the most important one. Thanks again, and I will recommend your service in the future.
Shenille Engelhart, Owner – CLS Technology
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 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.
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
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
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.
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 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
Tom Staszak is one of the most professional people I have dealt with in my last forty years of business. You’ve got a great group of people and you have built a truly professional organization.
Michael J Polarek, President, Paragon Packaging
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
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 would like to thank you and your firm, Generational Equity, for being our valued advisors in our journey.
Bil MacLeslie, CEO, ipHouse
We will highly recommend Generational Equity and Musa Jagne to any business owner about to embark on the same process.
Karen S. Williams, CFO, BW Manufacturing
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
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.