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May 26, 2022

How the middle-market M&A scene might play out for 2022

By Adam Burroughs

Based on analyst reports and Citizens Annual Middle Market M&A Outlook, 2022 is expected to be another high-paced deal year, says David Dunstan managing director in Citizens M&A Advisory Group.

May 19, 2022

Investment opportunities in Esports

Kohrman Jackson & Krantz's Scott Norcross, along with eFuse's Matthew Benson, Jonathan Sumers of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kaulig Capital's Brooke Hradisky, discuss the Esports sector, the investment opportunities there, and how Esports companies are financing growth.

May 11, 2022

Macro issues change the M&A math

Little Mountain Industries' Jonathan Hatch on the lower-middle-market manufacturing scene and how broader macro issues are affecting the deal math for firms such as his.

May 6, 2022

Understanding the letter of intent

Signet Enterprises' Anthony Manna talks about the letter of intent. He breaks down a deal at this very early stage, discussing some of the key choices sellers need to make as they take their company to market.

April 28, 2022

Lou Schneeberger on the COVID backlog

Proformex Chairman Lou Schneeberger talks about the COVID pause, where companies are today that were negatively affected by the pandemic, and how they move forward to a successful transaction.

April 22, 2022

Ohio draws increasing Silicon Valley attention with OVO Fund III raise

The recently launched Palo Alto-based OVO Fund III has closed after reaching its goal of $50 million. And it achieved that mark with help from an Ohio syndicate of investors whose combined $8 million for OVO Fund III makes them one of the more substantial investors in the Silicon Valley-based OVO Fund.

April 8, 2022

Raising Capital and Growing Businesses in the Health Care Industry

Within3's Lance Hill, along with Huntington Bank's Jamie Lynch and John Langenderfer, University Hospitals Health System's Eric Beck, and ValueHealth's John Palumbo explore how health care entrepreneurs fuel growth.

March 11, 2022

Win The Deal Without Winning On Price

Coles Gray CEO David Cheney, along with Tucker Ellis' Jayne Juvan, Ampex Brands Family of Companies' Eric Easton, and Citizens' David Dunstan and James Irwin, talk about what truly differentiates winning buy-side transactions beyond the price.

February 25, 2022

Ansir Junaid: Serial entrepreneur’s M&A lessons learned

SupplySide Group Chairman Ansir Junaid offers insights into his M&A experience and how the pandemic has affected dealmaking.

February 11, 2022

When pitching nascent opportunities, explain it so grandma would understand

Play One Up CEO Brandon Pitts talks about the growing esports industry, building Play One Up and how he pitches investors who might not be familiar with the opportunity.

January 28, 2022

Buyers Negotiate Protections As Valuations Soar

Bellmark Partners' Andy Vollmer explores the record-level of M&A activity in 2021, the driving factors of that activity, the consequences, and what we can expect for the remainder of 2022.

January 14, 2022

The pros and cons of three types of sale transactions

Fifth Third Securities' Joseph Carson, Val-Matic Valve & Manufacturing Corp.'s (retired) John Ballun, Oswald's Jeff Schwab and Provariant Equity Partners' Murad Beg explore the pros and cons of different types of sell-side transactions.

December 16, 2021

Citymark Capital founder Daniel Walsh on launching the company

Daniel Walsh talks about launching Citymark Capital, building funds, creating value and the special place Austin holds in the company’s plans.

December 2, 2021

Transaction Readiness in a Post-COVID World

Mike Baird, John Mastrantoni, Floyd Trouten and David Black assess ways to strengthen the core of your business by addressing common challenges faced by middle market companies.

November 17, 2021

Estate planning tips for family business owners

Wholesale Supplies Plus Founder and Retired CEO Deb May along with Capital Anesthesia Solutions’ Chris Copley and UBS’ William Murphy talk about family businesses, estate planning pre- and post-liquidity event, as well as how to pick the right estate planning adviser.

November 5, 2021

How capital sees companies during a disruption

Marcum LLP's Greg Skoda, along with U.S. Banks’ Alan Zang, Walnut Ridge’s Michael Moran and U.S. Acute Care Solutions Executive Chairman Dominic Bagnoli, explore building unique capital stack structures to fuel growth.

October 20, 2021

Learning the ropes: acquisitions in a family business

Taylor Burke-Gilman and Lauren Burke-Devere on how they got involved in the family business, their transition into leadership, and what they’ve learned so far about acquisitions.

September 24, 2021

Leverage your strengths when competing for acquisitions

Robin Industries' Mark Fischer and Millcraft Paper Co.'s David Hegeman, along with RSM US LLP's Brian Adkinson and Truist Bank's Andrew Rutherford dig into building an acquisition playbook.

September 9, 2021

Marshall Dahneke’s Sell-Side Best Practices

Marshall Dahneke outlines key considerations when you’re pursuing a sale.

August 27, 2021

Self-awareness is key when preparing to sell

As a business owner considers selling their business, the first thing they should do, according to Harvey Nelson, CEO of Main Street Gourmet, is consider themselves.

July 29, 2021

How Wisr used pressure to distinguish serious investors

John Knific talks about fundraising and Wisr's deal with EAB.

July 16, 2021

Inside Ampex Brands’ Acquisition of Au Bon Pain

Eric Easton, CFO at Ampex Brands, and Jayne Juvan, M&A chair at Tucker Ellis, discuss Ampex’s acquisition of Au Bon Pain — how the process went down, the challenges they faced and how Ampex intends to leverage this new opportunity.

June 30, 2021

The next normal

Joe Pulizzi, Stewart Kohl, Jeff Bechtel, and David Heller kick off the Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers Conference discussing how they navigated their organizations through the pandemic, their thoughts on the current and future state of deal flow, and best practices in M&A.

June 4, 2021

Murad Beg on how the deal market is shaping up for sellers

Murad Beg, a partner at Provariant Equity Partners, offers his sense of the deal market and the factors driving deal value, and has some advice for those who are considering a sale.

May 21, 2021

Beth Haas on the factors that make 2021 a sellers’ market

Cyprium Partners Beth Haas spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about the state of the M&A market, highlighting what she sees as good for sellers and what factors could dampen deal strength or activity.

May 6, 2021

Greg Skoda: SPACs 101

Marcum LLC's Greg Skoda offers a lesson in SPAC fundamentals — what they are, why they’re so insanely popular right now, and what sellers and investors should know about them before getting involved.

April 23, 2021

Post-COVID capital trends to watch

As buyers and sellers look to transact, Mark Guterman, managing director of loan syndications for First National Bank, and Martin McCormick, managing director and head of FNB Mezzanine Finance for F.N.B. Corporation are seeing capital trends starting to take shape.

March 25, 2021

Gary Schuster’s soft-side transaction preparedness checklist

Gary Schuster, president and CEO of OMCO, offers advice for companies and business owners trying to get their business in shape ahead of a process.

March 12, 2021

M&A is about specificity for Everstream’s Brett Lindsey

Brett Lindsey, CEO of Everstream, talks about his acquisition strategy, as well as his experience with M&A during the pandemic

February 26, 2021

Serial entrepreneur Steve McHale offers insight into his investment process

Steve McHale talks about how he identifies investment targets and what trends he’s chasing with his investment dollars.

February 12, 2021

André Thornton takes lessons from the past to inform the future at ASW Global

ASW Global CEO André Thornton on how lessons from navigating past challenges have helped the company overcome challenges today.

January 29, 2021

Tony Ciepiel talks about 2020’s M&A challenges

Step2 Discovery CEO Tony Ciepiel on how the company has fared so far through the pandemic, and the challenges it’s faced transacting in this environment.

January 15, 2021

Matt Kaulig offers insight into his dealmaking decisions

Matt Kaulig, executive chairman of Kaulig Companies, talks about his M&A outlook, as well as how he’s guided his family of businesses to success.

December 28, 2020

Turning Liquidity Into Purpose

Ron Ambrogio, Ray Dalton, Rod Howell and Peter Van Euwen offer their advice on selling a business and preparing for life after ownership.

December 17, 2020

Greg Skoda: Raising Capital to Survive in Uncertain Times

Greg Skoda, speaking at the Smart Business Dealmakers Conference in September, offered his take on companies’ pandemic capital situation, and how business owners and executives have responded.

December 3, 2020

David Woodburn sees great buyer-Seller cooperation during the disruption

David Woodburn, a shareholder at Roetzel & Andress, offers his sense of the deal market, what companies can do to prepare for crises in the future, and more.

November 20, 2020

Equity Trust Co.’s George Sullivan On Finding Opportunity In Disruption

George Sullivan, CEO of Equity Trust Company, says the fundamental question on investors’ minds right now is when will conditions be better? For Sullivan, that’s the wrong question.

November 5, 2020

Keep calm: Stewart Kohl on pandemic-induced M&A uncertainty

The Riverside Co. co-CEO discusses portfolio company performance, Riverside’s M.O. as it navigates through the choppy M&A market, his sense of where the collective heads of buyers and sellers are at the moment, and more.

October 8, 2020

M&A is down but buyers and sellers are never out, says Bob Campana

Bob Campana, CEO of Campana Capital, offers his take on the state of dealmaking and when he expects anything like “normal” will return to M&A.

September 18, 2020

Deb May on letting go of her family business, Wholesale Supplies Plus

Deb May, founder and now-retired owner of Wholesale Supplies Plus, sold her business last year and stepped away from the company. She talks about her preparation and the difficulty of letting go.

August 14, 2020

Chrissy Wostmann Talks New Partners, Next Stages For n2y

Chrissy Wostmann talks about the transition to a new majority private equity sponsor, the vetting process, and gives her take on M&A opportunities in today’s market.

July 30, 2020

Bravo Wellness CEO Jim Pshock on his unexpected deal with Medical Mutual

Bravo Wellness founder and CEO Jim Pshock talks about how his company prepared for a surprise deal with Medical Mutual.

July 2, 2020

Cyprium Partners’ Michael Conaton: Get Ready For EBITDAC

Cyprium Partners co-founder MIchael Conaton discusses where he thinks investors will look when they begin scrutinizing deals as the economy starts to recover and the rise of EBIDTA before COVID.

June 19, 2020

All Pro Freight’s Chris Haas: Finding opportunities in the uncertainties

In an economy that’s going up and down, those uncertainties are what makes the commercial real estate business thrive, says Chris Haas, founder, president and CEO of All Pro Freight Systems Inc.

June 3, 2020

Proformex’s Lou Schneeberger: Focus On The Fundamentals Now, Make A Good Deal Later

Business owners who can keep their companies afloat during a global pandemic will be quite attractive to investors when the economy begins to grow again, says R. Louis Schneeberger, executive chairman at Proformex.

June 3, 2020

JumpStart’s Jerry Frantz: Chaos And Uncertainty Will Eventually Create New Opportunity

A defining attribute of entrepreneurship is agility, the ability to nimbly maneuver through both adversity and opportunity, says JumpStart's Jerry Frantz.

May 21, 2020

Oswald’s Bob Klonk: Supply Chain Risk Will Be A Critical Negotiating Point For Post-Pandemic Dealmaking

Health experts have stressed repeatedly that a COVID-19 vaccine is most likely at least a year away, a reality that will be on the minds of dealmakers at every turn, says Oswald Cos. CEO Chairman and CEO Robert J. Klonk.

May 21, 2020

Michael Feuer: Ready, Set, Stop!

The best-laid plans for deals, business and life often take a wrong turn, says Michael Feuer.

May 7, 2020

Tucker Ellis’s Brian M. O’Neill: The Future Of Dealmaking Post-Pandemic Will Need Time To Take Shape

As Ohio seeks to reopen its economy in the coming weeks, a significant number of businesses will face a daunting challenge to simply reopen their doors to customers, says Brian M. O’Neill, a partner at Tucker Ellis.

May 7, 2020

Mark A. Filippell: What Sellers Can Do When M&A Market Shuts Down

With all due respect to Admiral Farragut, his “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead” strategy will almost certainly fail in today’s COVID-19 M&A environment, says Mark Filippell.

April 23, 2020

Jim Pshock: The Right Deal Begins With Knowing What You Want

Bravo Wellness Founder and CEO Jim Pshock shares his perspective on dealmaking after selling his business to Medical Mutual.

April 10, 2020

What Cleveland's Top Dealmakers Are Seeing

As the unprecedented shutdown of American business continues, Smart Business magazine sat down with three top local dealmakers to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted their clients and their dealmaking activity. Dealmakers has some excerpts from the upcoming magazine article.

April 8, 2020

Coronavirus has disrupted, but not extinguished, M&A options

What was arguably the best M&A market ever for sellers of closely held companies has taken a dramatic pause, forcing business owners who were considering a sale of their business to re-think their options. But buyers who balked at the high prices and substantial competition may find increasingly attractive opportunities.

March 19, 2020

Cyprium Partners’ John Sinnenberg: Noncontrol Capital Market Provides A Wide Range Of Dealmaking Options

Cyprium Partners’ John Sinnenberg works with business owners who need capital but don't want to give up control. It’s a unique market that leads to a variety of deal types.

March 18, 2020

Rob Huxtable: Co-Investment Can Be A Powerful Litmus Test For C-Suite Leaders

There are three significant benefits to C-suite level co-investment in a PE-backed company, says FALCON’s Rob Huxtable.

March 12, 2020

Jill Arena: Struggling To Find The Right Deal Partner? Take A Deeper Look At Your Process

If you can’t make a good case for an acquisition, it’s going to be difficult to make the right deal, says Jill Arena.

March 4, 2020

Mark A. Filippell: Noncash Considerations In A Sale Create An Added Level Of Complexity

Every seller must understand that selling a company for multiple forms of consideration is quite different from receiving all cash and walking away clean, says Mark A. Filippell.

February 27, 2020

Oswald’s Robert J. Klonk: Culture, Employee-Owners Drive Firm’s Opportunistic Approach To Dealmaking

Acquisitions create opportunity for Oswald Cos., as well as the companies the business pursues for a deal, says Robert J. Klonk.

February 20, 2020

MRI Software’s John Ensign: Strong Outlook For M&A — If The Deals Meet The Right Criteria

Investing in the right acquisition — rather than just making the first deal that comes along — will be critical to surviving, and even thriving, in a downturn, says MRI Software’s John Ensign.

February 20, 2020

Signet’s Anthony Manna: U.S. Deal Activity Remains Steady As China Responds To Coronavirus

As the Chinese government continues to grapple with the impact of the coronavirus within its borders, the disease’s impact on the U.S. economy has been negligible.

February 14, 2020

Investing in Ohio’s medical marijuana industry

The cannabis space is an interesting investment opportunity that comes with a variety of risks, but as Ohio’s medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries slowly gain ground, the nascent industry should pick up speed in 2020.

February 5, 2020

Michael Feuer: Buy It, Build It, Or Forget It?

It’s not how big you make it, it’s how you make it big, says Michael Feuer

January 23, 2020

Ken Marblestone: Maintaining Momentum Is An Important Part Of Closing The Deal

Don’t let a poorly conceived and executed deal process get in the way of your personal and business objectives, says Ken Marblestone.

January 16, 2020

Middle-Market Transactions Gain Efficiency, PE Sponsors Find New Ways To Build Value

PE sponsors have gotten better, perhaps even good, at owning businesses, and this trend should continue into the next decade, says Blue Point Capital Partners' Jim Marra.

January 9, 2020

Rick Busby: Acquisition Gives The Rogers Co. A Foothold On The West Coast

When you take the long view in a deal negotiation, you often come out ahead, says The Rogers Co.’s Risk Busby.

January 9, 2020

Stewart Kohl: Investors Can’t Just Pay up And Hope Things Work Out

It’s very hard to succeed in private equity if you’re paying high prices without a clear and well-considered growth plan, says Riverside’s Stewart Kohl.

January 2, 2020

2020 Forecast: What To Expect For The Year In Dealmaking In Cleveland

We spoke with Copper Run Capital's Matt Roberts, ErieBank’s Wes Gillespie, Carleton McKenna’s Chris McKenna and Folio Photonics’ Steven Santamaria to get their thoughts on what to expect from a dealmaking perspective in 2020.

December 17, 2019

FALCON’s Rob Huxtable Explores Behavioral Pitfalls That Can Derail An LBO’s Performance

Portfolio company CEOs and their sponsors improve their odds of maximizing their multiple on invested capital when alignment is both financial and behavioral, says Falcon’s Rob Huxtable.

December 12, 2019

Roll-Kraft’s Sanjay Singh: Find Deal Opportunities That Fit What You Want To Achieve

Dealmaking is a big part of Sanjay Singh’s life, both at Roll-Kraft and through his family office.

December 12, 2019

QED’s Hiroyuki Fujita: Dealmaking Can Be A Tool To Protect Your Company’s Future

QED’s Hiroyuki Fujita is confident his deal with Canon will both protect QED’s future and preserve its innovative culture.

December 3, 2019

Westfield Bank’s Jon W. Park: How To Turn ‘Not For Sale’ Into ‘Sold’

Don’t let a potential seller get away because you failed to realize what was going on behind the scenes.

November 26, 2019

Laura Pettit Rusick: Don’t Wait Until After The Deal To Address IT Due Diligence

Dealmakers who fail to incorporate IT due diligence into their M&A strategy are taking a big risk, says OPT Solutions Founder Laura Pettit Rusick.

November 26, 2019

Hyland's Bill Priemer Uses A Methodical Approach To Identify M&A Targets

Hyland is a very acquisitive company, but it wasn’t always that way, says Bill Priemer, the software company’s president and CEO.

November 21, 2019

Fire-Dex’s Bill Burke: Acquisitions Provide Opportunities To Learn From Other Businesses

The four companies Fire-Dex has acquired in the past decade were good businesses. Bill Burke saw an opportunity to make them stellar.

November 20, 2019

Ed Buchholz: The Most Successful Startup Ecosystems Welcome Failure

If we want to encourage startups to call Cleveland home, there are three primary metrics to focus on, says StartInCLE Founder Ed Buchholz.

November 12, 2019

BioEnterprise’s Aram Nerpouni: Talent Is Vital To Creating Deal Opportunities In Cleveland’s Health Care Sector

Cool ideas are great. Investors want to see the leadership and the team behind the idea before they invest, says the nonprofit's president and CEO.

November 12, 2019

Falls’ Rob Falls: Merger With Wyse Provides Tools To Continue Growing, Evolving

Rob Falls needed to make an acquisition. When he found a peer in the Cleveland marketing industry who was looking to sell, he got to work negotiating a deal.

November 5, 2019

Matt Kaulig: The Path From Risky Move To Smart Play

The founder of LeafFilter explores the mindset of entrepreneurs and dealmakers when it comes to taking risks.

October 30, 2019

Staffing Solutions’ SueAnn Naso: When Buying A Business, Take The Time To Do It Right

SueAnn Naso and Carmella Calta are good friends. But they still had to follow the proper steps when Calta sold her business, Staffing Solutions, to Naso.

October 30, 2019

Shore Capital Partners’ Justin Ishbia: Shared Vision Often Leads To Great Deal Opportunities

Shore Capital Partners's Justin Ishbia sees tremendous potential for growth at Akron, Ohio-based Main Street Gourmet.

October 23, 2019

Randy Carver: There Is Much To Think About As You Prepare To Sell

The first question you need to ask yourself if you’re thinking about selling your business, says Randy Carver, is what do you want to do next?

October 21, 2019

When You Play ‘Gotcha!’ In M&A, It Often Comes Back To Bite You

Buyers with a gotcha mentality win some due diligence battles, but they often lose the due diligence war, explains Citizens Capital Markets' Mark A. Filippell.

October 15, 2019

MC Group’s Tim Eippert: Lack Of Customer Overlap Facilitates MC Group/Icon Merger

In dealmaking, you don’t grow just to double, says Tim Eippert. You want more. The CEO of MC Group explains how integration will play a key role in maximizing the benefits of its merger with Icon.

October 10, 2019

Chas Withers: All Hope Is Not Lost For Dealmaking In 2020

Dix & Eaton's CEO explains why there is reason to be optimistic about the climate for M&A activity headed into 2020.

October 4, 2019

Key Deals Propel Gent Machine To Steady Growth

Rich Gent talks about two pivotal deals in Gent Machine Co.’s history that have set the business up for a bright future.

October 2, 2019

Ohio Basement Systems Finds Growth Foundation In Sale To Groundworks

Mike Rusk talks about how the sale of his Ohio Basement Systems to Groundworks will give the company an even stronger support structure for the future growth of the business he and his wife Gayle started in 1998.

September 27, 2019

Deal Outlook: Corporate Divestitures Offer Opportunity, Risks

Tom Zucker of M&A advisory firm EdgePoint Capital talks about the effect interest rates typically have on M&A activity and the continued rise of corporate divestitures in the dealmaking space.

September 23, 2019

Startups Must Not Abuse The Concept Of Patience

As business leaders, let's identify where patience has become the wolf in sheep's clothing and make it the prominent theme for innovation again, writes Axuall's Charlie Lougheed.

September 20, 2019

ScaleCo Strives To Change The PE Model

Brendan Anderson launched ScaleCo to be more of a partner in scaling lower-middle-market businesses, using a permanent capital investment model to develop sustainable growth platform companies.

September 3, 2019

Dealmakers Have Yet To Embrace Data Analysis. That’s A Mistake.

When it comes to dealmaking, many companies are doing what they’ve always done. Unfortunately, that means they’re not thinking about the massive amounts of previously unavailable data that can help them analyze potential deals more quickly than ever.

August 23, 2019

Park Place's Entuity Deal Marks Shifting Strategy

On his way to shifting Park Place Technologies' M&A strategy with a tricky deal to buy Britain's Entuity, Chris Adams takes a lesson from Microsoft’s Satya Nadella

August 22, 2019

ACG's John Grabner: Recession Talk Not Slowing Down Pace Of Dealmaking

The president of the Cleveland Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth talks about some of the trends affecting dealmaking activity in Northeast Ohio.

August 22, 2019

For Startups, Value Attracts Funding

Focusing all your attention on fundraising can actually make it harder to close your next funding round if it distracts you from creating the value investors want, writes JumpStart's Jerry Frantz.

August 12, 2019

Selling Your Business Can Be An Exhausting Process

For founder Howard Lewis, the act of selling Family Heritage Life was ultimately positive as it gave him the opportunity to pursue other passions in his life. But it was also exhausting.

August 7, 2019

What to do when a deal turns from a 'yes' to a 'no'

When a deal falls apart, it’s natural to be frustrated. In his latest Dealmaker Insider column, Michael Feuer explores why it’s always wise to temper your response in these situations.

July 30, 2019

The Behavioral Side Of Investing

AdCap Management Chief Investment Officer Chaya Slain explores the human side of investing and shares what she has learned to minimize mistakes.

July 30, 2019

Selling Your Business: Are You Really Ready To Fly Solo?

While you are successful and have negotiated and closed hundreds of deals to build your business, selling your company is a completely different transaction that involves unique dynamics, approaches and details, writes says Cascade Partners Managing Director Ken Marblestone.

July 23, 2019

Selling Your Business: Take Time To Do It Right

Spectrum Diversified Designs founder Sheldon Goodman talks about the process he followed to find the right buyer and the importance of having industry experts in your corner who can guide you to a more informed decision.

July 19, 2019

How To Leverage Your Banker, Even Without Using Debt

Wes Gillespie, ErieBank’s regional president for the Cleveland market, talks about the bank’s role in the acquisitions process and how lenders can be a valuable M&A partner, even if you’re not using debt to finance your acquisition.

July 10, 2019

Will Culture Eat Your M&A Strategy For Lunch?

To get the most out of any deal, leaders must be on the same page, must deliver consistent messages that are repeated, writes Dix & Eaton CEO Chas Withers in his latest Insider column. They then must be willing to shape strategy around the organic element of culture — not vice versa.