Profile of the Week

John Beagle, managing director of Grace Matthews Inc.

Name: John Beagle

Title: Managing Director

Company: Grace Matthews, Inc.

City of Residence: Whitefish Bay

Family: Wife, Gwyn; Daughter, Grace

How does the market look to you?  “The gloom and doom meter is up-ticking – I sense a little positive momentum in both the banks and the strategic buyer markets.”

What are you working on now? “Six deals – two in Europe involving multi-nationals, and high quality strategic sell-side engagements. It is a bad time for leveraged or private equity deals, so we are focused on strategic transactions.”

What was the best deal you’ve been involved in? “The sale of ColorMatrix to The Audax Group in 2006. We had an exceptional client, good people on all sides of the deal, frothy market conditions, and a great result. It was a large transaction for Grace Matthews ($175 million), with global operations, so we logged a lot of miles visiting Brazil, The Netherlands, Finland and the U.K., but it was worth it. Audax was the equity sponsor, with debt from GE Capital at a high valuation at the peak of the market. The company has done well after the closing, so the investors are happy, which is always good.”

What was the most interesting moment of your career? “Starting Grace Matthews 10 years ago with my partner, Doug Mitman. We were both experienced M&A investment bankers, but had never run a company. Unless you’ve actually been an entrepreneur, you have no idea of the range of issues – big and small – that you face daily. Saying, “It’s not my job” isn’t an option. In a start-up, which Grace Matthews was, you have no infrastructure to build upon. If we needed a paper clip or a cell phone, Doug or I had to go find them! It was (and is) a very grounding experience and great preparation for working with entrepreneurial clients!”


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