M&A firm Corporate Finance International harmonises brand across network

13 April 2018 Consultancy.uk

Corporate Finance International, a network of international M&A firms in over twenty countries, has harmonised its brand across its footprint of 26 offices. 

Founded in 2006 by corporate finance firms in the United States (PMCF), Germany and Switzerland (Helbling) and the Netherlands (MBCF), Corporate Finance International (CFI) has since grown into one of the larger M&A networks with a focus on the mid-market segment. Following expansion in Europe, succeeded by market entry into the America’s and the more recent push into Asia, CFI today has around 200 M&A advisors.

After serving the market with a local strategy – the affiliated member firms each offered their offerings under their own local brand, such as, for instance, Gambit in the UK – the network has decided to harmonise its brand globally. Per the 1st of April, all firms have adopted the CFI brand, and while they still retain their local brand, they will at a global level operate under one umbrella. “Using one common brand makes it easier to operate internationally, both internally as well as with our clients,” stated the M&A network on its website. 

Corporate Finance International

CFI clients from sixteen different sector teams, spanning the likes of Aerospace & Defense, Automotive and Consumer & Retail to Energy, Healthcare, Private Equity and Technology. The firm assists family companies, private equity players, entrepreneurs and management teams of mid-sized companies with M&A services such as acquisitions, divestments, mergers, valuations, financing and capital raising, and turnaround. Its focus lies on middle market transactions up to €500 million, with its sweet spot lying in the €10 million to €200 million range. 

Since 2000, CFI’s members have advised on over 500 cross-border deals, with a total value of €25+ billion. To serve clients outside of its key sectors, or in geographies where the network does not have an on the ground presence, CFI works with several associated firms with whom close relationships are nourished for collaboration in (cross-border) transactions. 

The global network, which is privately-held with its shares in the hands of country firms, is headquartered in the Netherlands. At the helm of Corporate Finance International is a leadership team consisting of four directors: the Frenchman Jean-Marc Teurquetil (Chairman), the German Stefan Huber (Vice Chairman), the American Phil Gilbert (Board member) and the Dutchman Raoul Duysens (Board member).

Among the main competitors of Corporate Finance International are the likes of DC Advisory, IMAP, Lincoln en Oaklins and the corporate finance arms of the well-known accounting and consulting networks.

More information on M&A news, deals, trends and research can be found on the page News | Mergers & Acquisitions.

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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.