The mergers and acquisitions market has improved significantly since the Great Recession, and buy-sell activity has steadily gained momentum during the last 18 months.
According to mergermarket, an intelligence-gathering service for the mergers and acquisitions agency, the first quarter of 2011 was the busiest mergers and acquisitions market since the first quarter of 2007.
Coupled with the resurgence in the M&A market, there are still billions in private equity capital that will need to be invested over the next several years. And many strategic buyers are still looking for companies to buy to gain market share, new geographies or to help them achieve growth strategies.
The new cycle in the M&A market, which started in early 2009, is likely to last at least until 2012, many experts agree, but could last longer.
For business owners who want to take advantage of this market to sell their companies, now is the right time to prepare.
In that spirit, BizTimes Media will present the M&A Forum, a morning-long seminar looking at strategies to build value, bring a company to market, find buyers and successfully close a transaction. The event will be held Thursday, May 26, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at The Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.
Key topics covered within the seminar will include why now is a good time to begin transitioning your business for sale, techniques for building value in a company well before a sale, what recapitalizations are and why some business owners might want to consider them, and more.
The keynote speaker at the M&A Forum will be Kevin Conroy, president and chief executive officer of Exact Sciences Corp., a Madison-based developer of diagnostic tests for colorectal screenings. Exact Sciences is publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol EXAS.
Before his work with Exact Sciences, Conroy was president and CEO of Third Wave Technologies, which was acquired in July of 2008. He also has worked for GE Healthcare and two early stage technology companies, which were backed by venture capital.
Conroy will speak about his experiences with publicly traded companies and start-up technology firms, several of which have been acquired.
“Kevin will give us an overview from a big picture perspective on deals that he’s been involved with and some of the lessons he’s learned,” said Dan Meyer, owner and publisher of BizTimes Media LLC. “He’ll also talk about what the markets are like for raising money today, and what the M&A environment is like.”
Following Conroy’s remarks, the forum will feature a panel discussion of several prominent Milwaukee-area executives who have been involved in multiple transactions, both as buyers and sellers. The panelists will include:
- Mike Harris, president of Patina Solutions. Harris also founded Jefferson Wells in 1995, which was acquired by Manpower International in 2001. Both of the companies that Harris has founded have been backed by venture capital investors, who earned more than $300 million on about $9 million in invested capital.
- Tom Campion, managing director of Merit Capital Partners, a Chicago private equity investment firm.
- Kent Tabor, president and principal of Hartland-based EmbedTek LLC. Tabor was founder, president and CEO of Granite Microsystems, which he sold in 2002. He founded EmbedTek the same year – and sold a majority share to Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick Corp. Tabor later bought his company back in 2004. In 2010, he brought in three new partners as investors and managers to help grow the business.
- John (JT) Shinners, CEO of JTS Direct, a specialty printing company in Hartland. Shinners recently completed a recapitalization of his company with Milwaukee-based PS Capital Partners Inc.
“Most of our readers own their businesses, and their biggest asset is their company,” Meyer said. “This panel will provide insight on what other CEOs and business owners have done to grow their companies, and in some cases, take some of that money off the table. Interest rates are low, and there are a lot of buyers out there. If you’re thinking about selling your business in the future, now is the time to take long-term action.”
Tickets to the May 26 event are $45. For information or to register, visit www.biztimes.com/maforum.