Dealmakers logged record levels of merger and acquisition activity in the middle market (deal values between $10 million and $500 million) in 2021. In this post, we highlight a few of the trends that bore themselves out in middle market M&A activity in 2021 that family business owners and directors should keep in mind when evaluating potential transactions in 2022.
In this post, we offer a unique perspective from Atticus Frank, CFA who worked in his family’s business for nearly three years prior to returning to Mercer Capital and joining the team’s Family Business Advisory Group. This post focuses on the wisdom, or lack thereof, of transactions. M&A decisions shouldn’t be undertaken without understanding the meaning of the family business to the family (Is the family business a growth engine, a store of value, a wealth accumulation vehicle, or a lifestyle vehicle). Atticus tackles the topic with a story about his family business.
For family business directors, 2021 should be an opportune time to consider making an acquisition. General indications on valuation suggest that the private company M&A market has not been priced-up at anywhere near what has been seen in the public markets. While this difference may be caused by a public market over-valuation issue that is “corrected” in the short-term, it suggests that there could be positive momentum in private company valuations as the economy continues to move through subsequent stages of the post-pandemic recovery. A good M&A deal can be made even better with favorable financing, which should be available to many borrowers in the current environment. We can’t predict the future, but those who take a buyer’s view of the M&A market now might be rewarded with enhanced returns. With pent up demand and a high availability of capital, we anticipate a rise in M&A activity over the next year with the best valuations and financing deals likely favoring the early bidders.
In last week’s post, we explored how to respond to unsolicited acquisition offers. This week’s to-do list is about being prepared for such offers if and when they come.
Successful businesses don’t have to go looking for potential acquirers—potential acquirers are likely to come looking for them. Most of our family business clients have no intention of selling in the near-term, and yet they often receive a steady stream of unsolicited offers from eager suitors. Many of these offers can be quickly dismissed as uninformed or bottom-fishing, but serious inquiries from legitimate buyers of capacity occasionally appear that require a response.
Stewarding a multi-generation family business is a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities, and each family business faces a unique set of challenges at any given time. For some, shareholder engagement is not currently an issue, but establishing a workable management accountability program is. For others, dividend policy is easy, while next gen development weighs heavily. Through our family business advisory services practice, we work with successful families facing issues like these every day.
Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses
This is the inaugural post for our Family Business Director blog. By way of introduction, we thought we would anticipate a few questions that you might have.