M&A professionals group attracts members

In the year since the Wisconsin chapter of the Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries (MBBI) began holding quarterly events, the chapter has seen significant growth and continuing demand for its programming.

MBBI formed as a networking and continuing education forum for professionals working in the mergers and acquisitions field – including investment bankers, business brokers, accountants, attorneys and related professionals. The organization aims to attract those who specialize in the small to middle market, where businesses typically sell for $200,000 to up to $20 million.

“Our mission and focus is assisting members to successfully complete more transactions,” said Scott Bushkie, president of Green Bay-based Cornerstone Business Services Inc. and a board member of the Wisconsin chapter of MBBI. “We wanted to create a platform where people in that space could talk.”

Bushkie was previously a member of the Midwest chapter of MBBI, which meets in Chicago. He said the group encouraged him to start a Wisconsin chapter to draw upon the state’s M&A professionals.

The Wisconsin chapter now has about 45 members. About 80 people attended the group’s quarterly meeting in March, Bushkie said.

“We were the main thrust of growth in MBBI last year, even in a down economy,” he said. “We went from very few members to more than 40. If we can hit 75 to 100 people at each meeting, that’s what we’re looking for.”

The Wisconsin MBBI chapter meets quarterly, holding half-day education, training and networking events.

“We want to be a statewide organization, and if someone from Wausau, Green Bay, Madison or Eau Claire comes, by making it a half-day (quarterly), it doesn’t have to be on their calendar every month,” Bushkie said.

The group’s events can count as continuing education credits for accountants and many attorneys, Bushkie said, which has also helped drive attendance.

To date, all of the group’s events have been held in Milwaukee. In September, MBBI’s Wisconsin chapter will hold one of its events in Green Bay, and it is also working to hold one in Madison later in the year.

“By going into Green Bay, we can grab the (Fox Valley) too,” said Thomas Kintis, president of CGK Investment Bankers in Waukesha and a board member of the Wisconsin chapter of MBBI. “We’re also going to have a golf outing in July in Lake Geneva. So we can draw folks from both Illinois and Wisconsin”

The Wisconsin chapter also is planning an awards program that it hopes to debut later this year that will recognize collaboration in the mergers and acquisition world, where investment bankers, attorneys and accountants worked together to complete a specific transaction.

“Through building relationships throughout the (mergers and acquisitions) space, people are learning from each other and doing more deals,” Bushkie said. “We’re trying to get the investment bankers, accountants and attorneys all working together. The Wisconsin business owners will be served that much better, and we can all be that much more successful because we’re doing more transactions.”

FYI – For more, visit www.MBBI.org

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