Family Business Director

Corporate Finance & Planning Insights for Multi-Generational Family Businesses



How Should Family Businesses Respond to an Acquisition Offer?

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.

Spring M&A Update for Family Businesses

Following up on our post from a couple of weeks ago regarding the acquisition of SRS Distribution by Home Depot, we provide a brief update on private M&A markets in this week’s post.

Although middle market transaction activity remained depressed in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to 2022, M&A activity and multiples improved a bit compared to recent quarters. Possible Fed rate cuts, a resilient economy despite 525bps of Fed rate hikes, and ample dry powder held by PE firms to deploy may be the catalysts for a stronger rebound in 2024.

Planning & Strategy

Home Depot Announces SRS Distribution Acquisition

An M&A Case Study

The Fed’s efforts to rein in inflation from early 2022 through the middle of 2023 also reined in middle market M&A activity.  Middle market transaction data provider GF Data reported data on 269 sub-$500 million acquisitions by private equity firms in 2023, compared to 464 such deals in 2021 (a 42% decrease).  Some of those “missing” deals may never happen, but we suspect most were simply deferred, leading to more robust transaction volumes as buyers and sellers acclimate to the new “normal” interest rate environment.

Home Depot’s recent announcement that it was acquiring roofing and construction material distributor SRS Distribution may signal the return of more robust deal activity.  Even if your family business has nothing to do with construction materials, there is plenty to note in this deal.

Planning & Strategy Valuation

Your Family Business Will Transact: Are You Ready?

Approximately 75% of business owners regret selling their business within the first year following the sale, according to a new report. Have you checked in on your succession plan? How does your business’s succession and exit plan stack up? We explore a new report and why planning ahead is crucial to ensuring your future business transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Planning & Strategy Special Topics

5 Reasons Sellers Need a Quality of Earnings Report

In a recovering M&A market, sellers must be prepared to present their value proposition effectively. A Quality of Earnings (QofE) report is essential for sellers to maximize their asset’s value and navigate the negotiation process with confidence. The report not only helps in presenting adjusted and future sustainable profitability but also equips sellers with crucial information for clear decision-making, fostering transparency, and ensuring a favorable transaction outcome.

Planning & Strategy

Ownership Succession and the NFL

The NFL has functioned as a family business incubator of sorts throughout its decades of existence. While other major U.S. professional sports leagues have embraced private equity ownership in recent years, the NFL has held out in favor of the family-owned model. The introduction of private equity into the league (expected at next month’s league meetings) will have far-reaching effects, both positive and negative. In this week’s post, we look at the pros and cons of private equity ownership in NFL franchises and how, like the NFL, family business owners considering private equity investment should weigh the pros and the cons before bringing PE firms into ownership groups.

Planning & Strategy Special Topics

5 Reasons Buyers Need a Quality of Earnings Report

In 2024, as the prospect of Fed rate cuts begins to attract buyers back into the market after a period of caution in 2022 and 2023, the importance of thorough due diligence cannot be overstated. Family businesses, in particular, should pay close attention to the crucial role that a Quality of Earnings (“QofE”) report can play in their acquisition decisions. From uncovering sustainable earnings and identifying cost-saving potentials to understanding revenue synergies and assessing capital needs, a comprehensive QofE report emerges as an indispensable tool for family business directors aiming to navigate the complexities of acquisitions with confidence and strategic insight.

Planning & Strategy

A 2024 M&A Update

In this week’s post, we take a look at the year that was in middle market M&A and offer a few thoughts regarding the potential for elevated deal activity in 2024. Despite depressed levels of deal activity in the middle market in 2023, there are reasons to be optimistic for increased levels of dealmaking in 2024. We’ll cover that and more in this week’s post.

Planning & Strategy

5 Questions for Family Business Directors in 2024

In 2023, family businesses experienced varying degrees of success, prompting a focus on key strategies for 2024. These strategies include assessing the economic outlook, understanding customer needs, maintaining and growing profit margins, revising M&A strategies, and adapting to emerging trends like generative artificial intelligence. Directors are encouraged to proactively address these areas to ensure 2024 is a successful year for their family businesses.

Fall 2023 M&A Update

Recent data indicates a decline in middle-market transaction activity and deal multiples for private companies in the second quarter of 2023, influenced by rising interest rates and economic uncertainty. However, the data also shows that there are still transaction opportunities for quality businesses coming to market.

Planning & Strategy

Private Equity (Still) Wants to Buy Your Family Business

Private equity and institutional investors have been increasingly targeting family-owned businesses for potential acquisition. Recent industry data shows that smaller deals account for over 61% of all private equity transactions in the first quarter of 2023, and founder-owned business purchases, especially those valued under $100 million, are rising. In this week’s post, we look at some of the pros and cons of private equity investment in your family business.

Capital Structure Planning & Strategy

Out to the Public and Back Again

The Weber Grill Case Study

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the trend of newly-public companies reverting back to private ownership after a very short time in public hands.  Among the boomerang IPOs mentioned in the article was that of backyard grill maker Weber.  With the advent of grilling season, we were curious about Weber’s experience in the public markets and any lessons that family business directors might be able to draw from the tale. Among the lessons available for family business directors from the tale, we will focus on two for this post.

Fall 2022 Middle Market M&A Update

For this week’s post, we take a look at recent trends in middle market M&A. Despite turbulent economic and geopolitical conditions in the first half of the year, valuations in the middle market continued to hold their ground.  Still, whether looking to buy or sell, family business owners would be wise to act sooner rather than later, as declines in volume and value thus far in 2022 suggest tightening conditions in the middle market.

Planning & Strategy Special Topics

Considerations in Merger Transactions

This week we welcome Nick Heinz, ASA to the Family Business Director Blog. Nick is a Senior Vice President at Mercer Capital and a member of the firm’s Transaction Advisory team. This article originally appeared as part of an ongoing series, Buy-Side Considerations, from Mercer Capital’s Transaction Advisory team and highlights key considerations for family businesses looking to engage in a merger.

Transaction Outlook 2022

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.

Shareholder Engagement Special Topics

Family Business Purpose and Transactions

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.

Middle Market M&A Amidst a Recovering Economy

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.

Evaluating Acquisition Offers To-Do List

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.

How Should We Respond to an Acquisition Offer?

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.

Capital Budgeting Capital Structure Dividend Policy Performance Measurement Shareholder Engagement Taxes

What Keeps Family Business Directors Awake at Night?

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.

Consulting Services

Family Business Advisory Services

Mercer Capital provides financial education services and other strategic financial consulting to family businesses