M&A and External Growth

External growth, partnering with an outside organization, sometimes is the fastest way to grow your company. Explore multiple pathways including acquisition, strategic alliance, joint venture, minority interest, and more!

The year is closing out and it’s budget season again, a time to look ahead to 2009. Despite the chilly economic climate, there are plenty of companies doing pretty nicely thank you. At Capstone we have a number of successful clients who have their current operations nailed down. Products are selling, customers are loyal and […]

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Dark times on Wall Street and gloom in the real economy… but for companies seeking external growth there are gleams of hope from distant quarters. Funds continue to pour into the US from abroad. I just spent time with an economic development group hosting a contingent of matchmakers from China — entrepreneurial types looking for […]

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I was asked the other day what can be learned from the possible merger of GM and Chrysler. Specifically, what might this union of giants teach the M&A market lower down the food chain? As I’ve said elsewhere, this is a time when corporate mergers can appeal to those struggling with a hostile economic climate. […]

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Writing this post on November 5th, one is bound to be thinking about the outlook for M&A under a new Democratic government. The people I do business with are looking at two major unknowns: tax and regulation. Both are cause for concern as the political map gets redrawn, and both may have a depressing effect […]

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Watch out for one defensive M&A strategy in times of financial stress. Instead of selling, weaker companies under threat may seek mergers with other victims of the crisis. Expect to see quiet talks between struggling competitors, looking for ways to wring out the costs and create a new, stronger entity.

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A short while ago, banks were pressuring struggling companies and seemed only too eager to move them into the “distressed” category, or effectively force them to sell. Recently, there’s been a dramatic reversal of attitude. The last things banks want on their hands is a host of collapsing companies. So you’ll find a very liberal […]

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I’ve noticed some company buyers willfully slowing down the acquisition process at this time. Why? They smell bankruptcy in the air. The longer they can string out the negotiations, the more desperate the seller’s condition and the lower the price. It’s tough for sellers to defend themselves in this environment. I’ve noticed some company buyers willfully slowing […]

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What I called “the wedge” in my post, The Wedge: M&A from $1B – $10B, is the natural hunting ground of private equity. And this is where we can expect the least activity during a crisis of credit. These buyers hate to put in 100% equity. They like a good measure of debt in the […]

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In every crisis there are winners as well as losers. Today companies seeking growth through acquisition can pick up bargains — if they have the cash. Small, over-leveraged companies are choosing to sell rather than go to the wall. As for the publicly traded corporations, they are under pressure from shareholders to get out of […]

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A common error in the M&A game is to over-delegate the process to the financial team. I had a highly successful client who put an entire acquisition in the hands of his CFO. Like many (but not all) of his kind, this financial executive could only see or understand spreadsheets. He had zero patience for […]

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There is an old way and a new way to go about the M&A process, and it’s essential to know the difference. I had a client that perfectly exemplified the old way. She would be regularly approached by investment bankers hawking “the book” on a company they had for sale. She would listen to the […]

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The right acquisition can dramatically accelerate your company’s growth. Sadly, great opportunities are widely missed, especially in the mid-market. Many companies shy away because the whole field of M&A seems too intimidating. There are others who attempt acquisitions and are disappointed by the outcome, often because they try to follow a rote system overly focused […]

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Much of the buildup that’s been happening over recent years in the residential mortgage market is similar to what has been going on in the commercial market. It’s all about financial engineering. Typically, the financial investor looks at an acquisition and says: “Let’s restructure the balance sheet so that the company doesn’t fundamentally change. We […]

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When the smoke clears and the dust settles, what does the Wall Street meltdown mean? We’re back to cash is king. The Golden Rule has been restored: he who has the gold, makes the rules. It’s a return to old-fashioned investing. Companies with strong balance sheets and lots of cash are moving in to make […]

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It’s been a dramatic time for investment banking, and many people are anxious. We probably haven’t seen the bottom yet, but there’s no cause for panic. In fact, good things may come from this latest turmoil. Take Lehman, the smallest of the four majors. They had tremendous exposure to real estate and their balance sheet […]

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There’s some confusion around about the direction of the M&A market, and it comes from seeing the market as an undifferentiated whole. For example, a recent article in the New York Sun predicts a comeback in M&A activity after a year in the doldrums.  The article is generally correct and I do see a strong […]

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If you look at the divide in the M&A market, the growth you will see is in strategic acquisitions — either very large or very small. Where we can expect the least amount of activity is what I call the wedge: $1B to $10B transactions. This market sector is inherently ripe for private equity. It […]

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