The New York Stock Exchange ended 2009 up nearly 30% over 2008.  That makes a lot of individuals feel better about the economy because they “feel” wealthier. Companies are no different.  With an up market we expect M&A activity to increase, generally as a laggard to the equities market.  Think about it:  a company’s stock […]

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According to the Wall Street Journal,  November 2009 was the biggest month in over a year for deals involving consumer products and food and drinks firms, with $12.54 billion in acquisitions.  And it doesn’t look like this momentum will be stopped.  Kettle Chips, Just for Men and Grecian Formula hair-coloring products, Aqua Velva cologne, Brylcreem hair […]

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Our buy-side clients at Capstone are seeing the same trend that a recent Reuters article reported: “Companies are making moves to divest assets that are not essential to their operations, while stronger firms, nudged on by their boards and shareholders, are looking to grow and position themselves for the recovery.”  This leads to numerous “orphan” non-core product […]

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A recent round table of corporate dealmakers at a conference sponsored by The Deal offered some interesting insights into the strategy mindset of some of the largest corporations in America.  All of the panelists expressed a “commitment to external growth.” Two observations stood out to me. First, Sean Murphy of Abbott Labs said they are […]

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The next time you visit your local (i.e. NOT Starbucks) coffee shop, pay attention to whether they touting that they are exclusively brewing a particular brand of coffee. If they are, there is an increasing likelihood that it is Illy, a premium Italian coffee brand.  Instead of opening dozens of new coffee houses, or acquiring […]

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These are tough times for the legal profession.  Here in Washington, DC, one of the lawyer-capitals of the world,  it’s difficult to go a block without running into a recently graduated law student who’s looking for a job.  In these tough times, many law firms, large and small, are looking for a way to grow […]

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Over and over on this blog, I have strongly advocated external growth to complement organic growth.  Today the largest 500 non-financial American firms have nearly $1 Trillion in cash and short-term investments on their balance sheets.  That’s Trillion with a ‘T’! This represents roughly 9.8% of their assets.  What does that tell me?  Companies are […]

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As the Wall Street Journal pointed out last week, many Mom-and-Pop operations lack formal crisis plans – and are shutting down as a result of the current economy.  In our experience, this lack of planning is not limited to family enterprises.  It is disturbing how many firms – small, medium and even large – lack […]

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The M&A statistics for the third quarter of 2009 are in and show the vast majority of the deals getting done are strategic.  The economic crisis and concerns over deal financing continued to significantly hold down the number and value of deals when compared to the same period last year.  Today, a Wall Street Journal […]

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A story in the news last week caught my eye – U.S. antitrust enforcers are planning to revamp merger guidelines.  This isn’t surprising news – there have been expectations for quite awhile that the Obama administration was going to take a closer look at large corporate mergers.  It also won’t affect the vast majority of […]

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Three recent deals are being heralded as “the revival” of the M&A market.  Although the linked article captures some of the larger buy-side deals (for example Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Marvel) that are now beginning to emerge, we here at Capstone are seeing a similar trend in the area of the market where we […]

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A recent study confirms what we’ve been saying for months: companies that are bold in these troubled economic times will reap the benefits of their actions.  As the study’s authors state: “Companies with M&A in mind should be emboldened by our analysis: fortune favors the brave. Fears that M&A is riskier post-Lehman seem to be […]

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Back in December, I noted (and agreed with) one author’s proclamation that in the current economy, the balance of power in M&A has shifted from sellers to buyers.  The main reason:  With the credit market in a crunch, cash is king, and cash-rich companies hold a distinct advantage. As these survey results show, this trend […]

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I recently appeared on Jacobson & Katz: Inside Maine Business to discuss the current state of the mergers and acquisitions market, as well as the Capstone approach to the M&A process. You can view Part One here: And Part Two, here: To see other episodes of Jacobson & Katz: Inside Maine Business, visit www.insidemainebusiness.tv

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Recent news indicates that the federal government will “prop up” the major banks if they continue to falter.  This has some worried that these large financial institutions will be “nationalized”.  The government says that this is not the case: The strong presumption of the Capital Assistance Program is that the banks should remain in private […]

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I recently read an article through DealBook indicating that the Obama administration will increase antitrust enforcement during its tenure, raising the anxieties of many on Wall Street. In the big picture, I don’t think this increased oversight will have much impact on middle-market deals – after all, it’s usually only the really big deals that […]

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Why do stock market investors sell when prices collapse and buy when prices soar? Why do real estate owners display the same irrational behavior? The math is hardly difficult. It’s better to buy when valuations are low and sell when they are high. Yet human nature seems to require that we run with the market […]

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Officially, there’s been a drop of some 27% in M&A deals in the past year. In reality, this number is skewed by the large deals. In the markets where Capstone plays — mostly deals under $1 billion — there is a drop in activity but not to this catastrophic degree. There are still plenty of […]

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In my last post I commented on the opportunity that has risen in the mid-market with the concentration of investment banking focus on major deals. There’s a chance for third-party advisors like Capstone to do more than fill the vacuum recent events have created. However, it’s important to understand what the gap really is — […]

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The short answer is: they got bought up by massive banks. The rapid consolidation of the investment banking industry is one of the most dramatic developments amidst the recent financial turmoil. The independence of the old IB firms has vanished, consumed by monolithic multi-function institutions like Bank of America. The real question is, what does […]

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