Does this describe you?You are in your 50s…the business that you started on your kitchen table at home and that you sunk more time into than your family …is flourishing.
Private Equity (PE) has a strong influence on the M&A market that goes beyond the initial platform transaction (PE Platform Transactions). PE Platform Transactions have steadily represented a low percentage of the total transaction volume over the past few years. Since the beginning of 2007, PE Platform Transactions have stayed within a band of 8% to 10% of total transaction volume on a quarterly basis. This data would lead one to believe that PE’s influence on the M&A market is minimal. However, a deeper analysis shows that PE portfolio companies represent a meaningful percentage of strategic acquisitions (PE Backed Transactions).
The recent events in Ukraine are likely to have significant effects on the global market for natural gas with the likely winners being non-Russian companies that fulfill the demand for this commodity. Current events have proven that Russia, whose credibility in this sector was marginal to begin with, cannot be counted on as a partner that can reliably deliver natural gas to customers. Today, Russia is the dominant provider of natural gas to many European countries, due to their abundant supply. Although there is great economic incentive for Russia to build a consistent and reliable supply chain, this natural resource has become a political weapon for the Russian government.
My good friend Peter Kawulia, 78, is a distinguished member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, and the third-ranked featherweight boxer in the history of the British Empire(1). In that Pete was never knocked out, and was cut only once in 115 bouts, he knows his way around the ring. If Pete were to share his thoughts he would undoubtedly say that regardless of his awe-inspiring talent, whom he had in his corner was crucial to his success. The heirs of Helen Richardson(2) recently learned the importance of this choice, as clearly they could have avoided a knockout and the resulting “medical bills” with the right professionals in their corner.
We have started to experience greater interest in the Building Products / Construction sector over the past few months. This attention is both from owners and buyers – equally strategic and private equity. Clearly the increased activity in the residential and commercial building arena has brought awareness of improving revenues and profitability.
How do you determine the value of an undivided interest in real estate? That is the question from numerous readers of my January newsletter (here), besides their seeking insight to the case specifics I discussed. For background purposes, the IRS attempted to disqualify me as an expert in the case because I am not a real estate appraiser. The Court eventually accepted me as an expert based on my experience in valuing similar interests, rather than deciding based on the nature of the interest. I believe valuation should be done as a “security” and the IRS view is one of a “real property interest.”
Family-owned businesses, a key pillar in the American economy, make up a significant number of the privately held companies across our country. Although these companies cut across all industries and range in size from small to large, they all share common challenges. The most daunting of these challenges is how to manage the transition of the business from generation to generation. Keeping the core family values balanced with an ever-changing market place and often diverging goals amongst the family members is a challenge that many family businesses don’t survive. One intriguing solution to this challenge for many family-owned businesses is to bring the employees into the shareholder group through the sale of stock to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
I guess it depends on how you classify “hot industries”. Hot in 2013 would be better depicted as cool with a touch of lukewarm, tepid at best. Of the ten industries defined and tracked by PCE, nine saw a drop in transaction volume during the year. The sole gainer, consumer discretionary, improved upon its 2012 volume by a mere 2.0%.
Is it the flu or a more chronic illness? As measured by pre-2010 transaction activity, deals were plentiful in 2013. However, most M&A professionals observed that 2013 ended with business owners and deal-makers on a more guarded note. The recent tepid mood shift is evident in 4th quarter 2013 M&A activity. Every sub-sector of healthcare experienced a drop in transaction volume except Equipment & Supply. See “PCE Industry Update – Healthcare 4th Quarter 2013” report.
In preparing for a recent trial in US Tax Court, I was reviewing a valuation we had performed several years ago. The valuation was of a 40% undivided interest in real estate, a tenant-in-common (TIC) interest. There was no formal entity into which the real estate or the interest had been contributed.