18 consulting firms scoop International M&A Advisor Awards

27 June 2017 Consultancy.uk

18 consulting firms have been honoured at the annual Advisor Awards, as the M&A Advisor unveiled winners of its 2017 edition. EY and PwC both played roles in five victories on a night recognising the efforts of around 260 nominated investment banks, law firms and consulting firms who played roles in landmark M&A results last year.

The M&A Advisor, the first dedicated media company to offer insights and intelligence on mergers and acquisitions, announced the winners of the 2017 International M&A Awards at the 9th Annual Awards Gala at the New York Athletic Club on Monday, June 12th. Top M&A Deals, Firms and Professionals were honoured by the awards, which saw 18 consulting firms recognised for their work over the previous year, with big winners EY and PwC both chalking up five wins each.

Since the inception of the M&A Advisor Awards in 2002, the annual competition – run by US-based M&A community The M&A Advisor – has grown into one of the globe’s premier events celebrating excellence in deal making and the performance of industry professionals, spanning sectors including corporate finance, restructuring, M&A transaction support and debt advisory services.

This year nominations expanded as the criteria for entry no longer requires that one of the parties is a US company, reflecting the changing international deal making market in a globalised world. An independent judging committee of 23 leading M&A industry experts judged the testimonials of the finalists, with the winners announced at the annual gala in New York.

M&A Advisor Awards

Individual Winners

Multiple awards were presented for the “Firm of the Year” category across different sectors, with four professional services groups scooping top prizes. Consulting services sector M&A advisors Equiteq were named as Boutique Investment Banking Firm of the Year, taking home an award for the second year running, with thrilled CEO David Jorgenson stating, “We are very proud that our individuality and expertise has set us apart.” Last year the consultancy won the Cross Border Deal of the Year ($50 - $100 million) category.

Also repeating success at the 2016 awards, Consulting Firm of the Year was picked up by Big Four group Deloitte, while Valuation Firm of the Year went to Valuation Research Corporation (VRC). The firm also picked the same award at the Association for Corporate Growth ceremony, with VRC Managing Director Ray Weisner commenting on the firm’s sustained dominance in the field, “We are delighted to be recognised by ACG for the third year in a row, and by M&A Advisor for the sixth.”

International professional services giant EY meanwhile took home the gong for Product/Service of the Year for their People Advisory Services M&A Integrations service, which helps companies integrate business strategies with innovation plans.

Big Winners

EY took their overall tally on the night to five, picking up further awards by having worked on four victorious deals, a feat only surpassed by Big Four rivals PwC, who participated in six of last year’s most notable M&A occurrences.

Information Technology and Telecom Deal of the Year for activity over $75 million was awarded for the strategic investment in Infutor by Norwest Venture Partners, which saw the multi-stage investment firm acquire the privately-held on-demand data solution provided. The deal was brokered by a number of players including EY, who also played a role in brokering the acquisition of Diversified Global Graphics Group (DG3) by an affiliate of Resilience Capital Partners. That merger, which also involved risk management consultancy Aon and engineering advisory Ramboll, won M&A Deal of the Year for a value of $25 million – $50 million.

M&A Deal of the Year for activity worth between $250 million and $500 million meanwhile celebrated the acquisition of Allworld Exhibitions, a trade show business, by events powerhouse UBM. The deal saw both EY and fellow major consulting market force KPMG, alongside legal firm Allen & Overy, M&A firm BCMS and financers J.P Morgan Cazenove, participate in the purchase worth around half a billion dollars.

PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, EY, Alvarez & Marsal, Aon, Equiteq, VRC and FTI Consulting

EY’s final accolade came with the award for Industrials Deal of the Year prize for an M&A worth over $150 million, which saw the firm participate in the divestiture of the Doosan Engineering & Construction heat recovery steam generator business to GE Power. Other participants in the deal included investment bankers BDA Partners, legal firms Kim & Chang and Yulchon, cloud-based deal management solutions group SmartRoom and PwC.

The most dominant consulting firm among top M&A deals last year, the M&A Advisor presented a further five prizes to activity involving the Big Four company. PwC participated in the Cross Border Deal of the Year (worth over $1 billion), which was presented for the acquisition of GE Appliances by Qingdao-Haier, a transaction that also saw the involvement of professional services group FTI Consulting.

PwC were also part of winning deals for Private Equity Deal ($50 million - $100 million) for the significant investment in St. Marche from L Catterton; Cross Border Deal (over $1 billion) for the acquisition of GE Appliances by Qingdao-Haier – which also involved FTI Consulting, Corporate/Strategic Deal ($250 million - $500 million) for advising on the acquisition of Vindicia, Brite:Bill and Pontis by Amdocs, and the colossal restructuring of Pacific Exploration & Production Corp, which won Corporate/Strategic Deal of the Year (over $1 billion), which saw 14 other firms including 10 legal practices involved a restructuring which saw the company’s debt reduced from $5.4 billion to $250 million.

KPMG meanwhile took their award haul to three, as they provided advisory services for the winning transactions for Energy Deal of the Year worth between $250 million - $1 billion, for the Section 363 Sale of Abengoa – along with fellow consultants Alvarez & Marsal – and Information Technology and Telecom Deal of the Year worth under $75 million, where KPMG Corporate Finance assisted in the raising of capital for Vena Solutions – the Toronto-based cloud performance managing solutions provider eventually benefiting from an additional $30 million to continue its global growth.

Alvarez & Marsal picked up further recognition for a second winning deal with the Restructuring of the Year category, which was awarded to the companies involved in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of O.W. Bunker, while Deloitte became the final consulting firm to gain multiple recognitions, as the Regional Deal of the Year was awarded for companies involved in the acquisition of SAP solutions firm Runbook by Blackline.

Drake Star Partners also participated in the deal, and was acknowledged for its role as exclusive investment banking advisor to Europe-based Runbook, a provider of financial close and automation solutions.

Ramboll, Drake Star Partners,  Raymond James, Capitalmind, A.T. Kearney, Innovation Advisors, BDO, AlixPartners, Berkley Research Group and BCMS

Gregory Bedrosian, Managing Partner & Co-CEO of Drake Star Partners accepted the award in New York. He commented: “It is an honor to accept this prestigious Deal of The Year award on behalf of our Dutch, German and American teams. This transaction is a perfect example of our expertise in cross-border deal making and we are proud that Drake Star Partners is being recognized for such an achievement.” 

Major deals

Fellow consulting firm Raymond James were meanwhile acknowledged for their involvement in the winning Cross Border Deal ($500 million - $1 billion), the acquisition of MAPCO, a subsidiary of diversified downstream energy firm Delek US, by Copec. Capitalmind were also recognised for their role in the M&A Deal of the Year ($100 million - $250 million) for the sale of solar power company BELECTRIC to innogy, an RWE company.

Sector-oriented awards meanwhile saw the Healthcare/Life Sciences Deal award recognised firms involved in the sale of Graphic Controls, a portfolio company of WestView Capital to Nissha Printing, with management consulting firm A.T. Kearney acknowledged alongside multinational legal firm Baker McKenzie and investment bankers BDA partners, among others.

BDO meanwhile picked up plaudits for their role in the financing of Gate as the deal won the annual Corporate/Strategic award for activity worth between $100 million and $250 million, while Consumer Discretionary Deal of the Year saw the acquisition of London-based publishing solutions company Ixxus by Copyright Clearance Center highlight Innovation Advisors for their role in the transaction.

Finally, AlixPartners and Berkley Research Group were commended for their role in the Materials Deal of the Year, awarded for the restructuring of Molycorp, a mining company which saw large sections of its group enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restructuring saw 92.5% of Molycorp the property of Oaktree Capital Management, which subsequently provided Molycorp $130 million in debt financing.

David Fergusson, President and Co-CEO of The M&A Advisor said of the winners, “The 2017 International M&A Award winners represent the best of the international M&A industry in 2016 who earned these honours by standing out in a group of very impressive finalists.” 


8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Embarking on the sale of a business is one of the most challenging experiences a management team can undertake. Even serial dealmakers acknowledge that the transaction process can be gruelling, exposing management to a level of scrutiny and challenge through due diligence that can be distinctly uncomfortable.

So, to embark on a sale process when a business is in distress is twice as challenging. While management is urgently trying to keep the business afloat, they are simultaneously required to prepare it for scrutiny by potential acquirers. Tim Wainwright, an experienced Transactions Partner with Eight Advisory, says that this dual requirement means sellers of distressed businesses must focus on presenting their business in a way that supports buyers in identifying value, whilst simultaneously being open about the causes of distress. 

According to Wainwright, sellers of distressed businesses should focus on eight key aspects to ensure they are as well prepared as possible:

  • Cash: In a distressed situation cash truly is king. Accurate forecasting and day-by-day cash balances are often required to ensure any buyer is confident that scarce cash reserves are under proper control. 
  • Equity story and turnaround plan: Any buyer is going to want to understand the proposed turnaround strategy: how is the business going to enact its recovery and what value can be created that means the distressed business is worth saving? Clear presentation of this strategy is essential.
  • The business model: Clear demonstration of how the business model generates cash is required, with analysis that shows how financial performance will respond to key changes – whether these are positive improvements (e.g., increases in revenue) or emerging risks that further damage the business.  Demonstrating the business is resilient enough to cope with these changes can go a long way to assuring investors there is a viable future.
  • Management team: As outlined above, this is a challenging process. The management team are in it together and need to be consistent in presenting the turnaround. Above all, the team needs to be open about the underlying causes that resulted in the distressed situation arising.  A defensive management team who fail to acknowledge root causes of distress are unlikely to resolve the situation.

8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

  • Financing: More than in any traditional transaction, distressed businesses need to understand the impact on working capital. The distressed situation frequently results in costs rising as credit insurance becomes more difficult to obtain or as customers and suppliers reduce credit. Understanding how these unwind will be important to the potential investors.
  • Employees: Any restructuring programme can be difficult for employees. Maintaining open communications and respecting the need for consultation is the basic requirement. In successful turnarounds, employees are often deeply engaged in designing and developing solutions. Demonstrating a supportive, flexible employee base can often support the sale process.
  • Structuring: Understanding how to structure the business for the proposed acquisition can add significant value. Where possible, asset sales may be preferred, enabling buyers to move forward with limited liabilities. However, impacts on customers, employees and other stakeholders need to be considered.
  • Off balance sheet assets: In the course of selling a distressed business, additional attention is often given to communicating the value of items that may not be fully valued in the financial statements. Brands, intellectual property and historic tax losses are all examples of items that may be of significant value to a purchaser. Highlighting these aspects can make an acquisition more appealing.

“These eight focus areas can help to sell a distressed business and are important in reaching a successful outcome, but it should be noted that it will remain a challenging process,” Wainwright explains. 

With recent studies indicating that the valuation of distressed business is trending north. With increased appetite from buyers who are accustomed to taking on these situations, it is likely that more distressed deals will be seen in the coming months. “Preparing management teams as best as possible for delivering these will be key to ensuring these businesses can pass on to new owners who can hopefully drive the restructuring required to see these succeed,” Wainwright added.