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July 18, 2024

How A Conversation About AI Led To A Decision To Merge

By Adam Burroughs

Apple Growth Partners' Chuck Mullen and Jeff Brooks on the realization that ultimately led to his firm's merger with Eide Bailly.

June 20, 2024

Driving Growth: Northeast Ohio's Destination Potential

In this roundtable discussion led by First National Bank's Boyd Pethel, David Gilbert from the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Destination Cleveland, Greg Harris from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Brian Zimmerman from the Cleveland Metroparks highlight how their collaborative efforts drive economic growth and position the region as a must-visit destination.

June 13, 2024

Announcing Cleveland's Smart Business Dealmaker Award Winners and 2024 Dealmakers Hall of Fame Class

Read about the Dealmakers of the Year we honored this year and check out the accomplishments of our Hall of Famers.

May 2, 2024

The A, B, C's Of Today's Market

Edgewater Capital's Bob Girton on how market conditions are affecting how buyers approach the market.

April 4, 2024

Cleveland Deal Activity: Resurfacing of financial sponsors as both buyers, sellers

Because of the record levels of uninvested capital from record levels of fundraising by private equity groups over the past three years, financial sponsors are expected to be more aggressive and active on the buy side in 2024.

April 4, 2024

How to Maximize PE Value Creation by Better Assessing Growth Potential in Due Diligence

Chief Outsiders Managing Partner, Private Equity, Slade Kobran outlines and approach to value creation that starts in due diligence.

March 7, 2024

AI Trends for the Progressive CEO: Navigating the Transformative Landscape

Chief Outsiders' Ed Valdez and Angus Robertson rank the eight most important factors in the AI scene to pay attention to right now.

February 29, 2024

Find Advisors Who You Trust With Your Life

Speedeon Data's Gerard Daher on the importance of advisors and mentors as he prepares for an exit.

February 1, 2024

Know Your Buyer's Intentions When Selling

SupplySide Group's Ansir Junaid on the importance of understanding the different buyer types and what they mean for your business post-sale.

January 19, 2024

Cavs CEO Nic Barlage On Creating A Winning Culture

Nic Barlage, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rock Entertainment Group, discusses talent acquisition and development, building a winning culture, and the importance of leadership on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast.

January 18, 2024

Tune Your PE Growth Engine With These 4 Principles

Chief Outsiders columnist Jack Bowen outlines how to optimize portfolio-company performance and maximize growth opportunities.

January 5, 2024

Exploring Capital Options In A Challenging Market

Working within the commercial real estate space, Spencer Pisczak, president and founding Member of Premier Development Partners, says the current climate is in many ways a challenge. "The big problem

December 15, 2023

Cleveland Deal Activity: Cultural Fit Matters

One of the most critical aspects of a successful transaction is cultural fit. There are several reasons it matters. Here are a few that can determine success or failure.

December 1, 2023

Why Deals Fall Apart + Reason For Caution With Earn Outs

The Riverside Company's Cheryl Strom on why most deals fall apart, as well as why sellers should use caution when earn outs are part of a deal.

November 17, 2023

The Fourth Quarter Comeback

Sports enthusiasts can attest that there are few scenarios more thrilling than a fourth quarter comeback. And no NFL quarterback has led more fourth quarter comebacks than future Hall of Famer Tom

November 3, 2023

Putting Your Superpower To Work Post Exit

It's always a good time to start thinking about life after the sale of a business, says North Coast Ventures Managing Director Todd Federman. That, he says, can help business owners avoid being one of

October 20, 2023

Cleveland Deal Activity: Rise In Bankruptcies Drive Distressed M&A Activity

Throughout 2023, the U.S. M&A landscape has been significantly shaped by a notable rise in distressed M&A transactions. According to bankruptcy filings from the U.S. Courts, the number of Chapter 11

October 6, 2023

The Million-Dollar Question When Considering A Sale

Knowing when to sell a business is challenging, says Richard Hamlin, executive vice president of The Reserve Group, a family office and management company. While much depends on the owner's personal

September 22, 2023

Selling Sgt. Clean

Two years ago, Brian Krusz, co-founder and director of growth and development at Sgt. Clean Car Wash, brought on a financial partner, Prairie Capital, who he says has helped the decade-old,

September 8, 2023

Cleveland Deal Activity: Navigating M&A deal structures in a tightened debt market

As interest rates and borrowing costs move in parallel, buyers are faced with the challenge of navigating increasing costs of debt to finance acquisitions, especially in deals where the seller has

August 25, 2023

From Sell To Sell And Buy

General Die Casters has been in business since 1957 making high-pressure aluminum die castings of parts for everything from automobiles to chainsaws. About a year ago, CEO Brian Lennon says the

August 10, 2023

Anthony Manna On Growing His Family Business

Anthony Manna on lessons learned for establishing a family-owned enterprise that generates value and how he's preparing the company to transition to the next generation.

July 28, 2023

Slowed inflation to temper rising cost of capital ... hopefully

Sharply increasing inflation rates over the past two and a half years in the U.S. are a result of several contributing factors, but none more than the relationship between the prices for goods and

July 7, 2023

The Importance Of Connections In Dealmaking

OMNI Systems, founded 33 years ago out of the CEO's garage, is now a $100 million company. "So, we know a bit about growth," said David Campbell, OMNI's CFO, at the Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers

June 23, 2023

Culture Takes Priority Post Acquisition

In this choppy economic environment, Jody Richards, CEO of Process Technology says she's seen some order cancellations and some order push-outs. And while some would say semiconductors are supposedly

June 9, 2023

Superstar CEO Roundtable Kicks Off Cleveland Conference

Kicking off the 2023 Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers Conference were several of the region’s top executives talking with moderator Jeff Bechtel, President - Cleveland Region, First National Bank,

May 26, 2023

Recognizing The 2023 Dealmakers of the Year Award Winners

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been channeled to the 2023 Smart Business Dealmakers Dealmaker of the Year Awards honorees. But raising funds is not all this year's class of entrepreneurs have

May 26, 2023

The Inaugural Cleveland Dealmakers Hall of Fame Class Sets The Stage

Welcome the inaugural class for the Cleveland Dealmakers Hall of Fame! This group of dealmakers has made an often-groundbreaking impact on their organizations, industries and the Northeast Ohio region

May 19, 2023

Sellers Should Be Clear About What They Want In A Deal

Gridiron Capital Managing Director Joe Saldutti says, as a private equity investor, what attracts him to businesses and helps him prioritize investing in one company versus another is when it's a

May 12, 2023

Estate Tax Planning Considerations for Contemplated M&A Transactions

The landscape of estate tax planning is set to undergo a significant change in the coming years, as the estate tax exemption is set to revert to pre-2018 levels at the end of 2025. This means that

May 5, 2023

Facing Economic Headwinds, Deal Math Changes

Several area dealmakers chimed in on how they see the current market; how buyers, sellers and entrepreneurs are faring; and their expectations for how the remainder of the deal year plays out. Check out what they have to say.

April 26, 2023

What TRG's Sean Kennedy Learned Making Two Foreign Acquisitions

TRG's Sean Kennedy on the company's growth, the differences between its domestic and international acquisitions, as well as the process of integrating teams that come from much different cultures.

April 21, 2023

Sellers Must Believe In Their Projections

Foundation Wellness CEO Sean Williams on message control and the importance of believing in what you're selling.

April 14, 2023

Deal Pulse: Best of times, worst of times

The domestic M&A market is in a state of great disparity. Valuations from buyers receded to pre-pandemic levels while sellers continue to expect the lofty valuations seen in the latter portion of 2020

April 6, 2023

Hugh Slater on Buying, Building And Selling EGC Enterprises

Slater Capital Managing Partner Hugh Slater on buying, building and growing EGC Enterprises.

March 31, 2023

The Importance Of Knowledgeable CFOs In Deals

TalentLaunch's Matt Lyon and Resilience Capital Partners' Bassem Mansour on post-acquisition integration and how the CFO role plays a part in making sure the deal pays off.

March 31, 2023

Five elements to achieve best in class business status

Barnes Wendling Director Mike Pappas on the key elements to achieving best in class and how it increases company value.

March 24, 2023

Faris Ghawi On Vytalize's $100M Raise

Vytalize CEO and co-founder Faris Ghawi, along with Chief Marketing Officer Matt Buder Shapiro, on the company's big raise, how they'll apply it, the growth its perpetuating and what comes next.

March 17, 2023

Selling means more than just money

Marcum LLP Senior Partner Greg Skoda on why money might not be the most important part of a deal.

March 10, 2023

Cleveland Deal Pulse: The Role of the Rollover

MelCap Partners David Shibley looks at trends and deals in the Northeast Ohio M&A market over the month of February.

March 3, 2023

The Three-Phase Set Up of Society Brands' Success

Society Brands CEO Michael Sirpilla on financing business growth.

February 24, 2023

Sellers Be Ready

Summit Fire & Security Regional VP Steve DeJohn on the signs that a company is ready for a sale.

February 17, 2023

Positive Trends During Turbulent Times

Private equity fundraising, driven by an increase in capital from private investors, has remained near historic highs. However, private equity groups will also be tasked with balancing the challenges of securing debt capital as credit tightens.

February 10, 2023

Sanjay Singh On The Critical 100 Days Post-Acquisition

Sanjay Singh, before he was chairman and CEO of Mace Security International, lead a business in the acquisition of a lower-middle-market manufacturing company that was a fierce competitor. That made post-deal integration a challenge.

February 3, 2023

Optimism For A Return To Normal Pervades In M&A For 2023

Dave Dunstan spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about the survey results and the expectation among buyers and sellers for the 2023 deal year.

January 27, 2023

DealTalk: Blue Point Capital’s Acquisition of Water Lilies

Blue Point Capital has a lot of experience in the food and beverage space, so it was natural that the Cleveland-based PE firm would jump at the chance to acquire Water Lilies, a 27-year-old private label manufacturer of premium frozen Asian-inspired food.

January 20, 2023

Cleveland Deal Pulse: Earnouts Increase In Popularity

Earnouts can align buyer and seller interests, incentivizing sellers to stick around post-sale to realize an economic benefit from the continued success of the business. Increasingly, they're being used to align total deal value to the ongoing performance of the business in a period of uncertainty, says Carter Hatina, an analyst with MelCap Partners, LLC.

January 13, 2023

Lance Hill On How To Think About Capital Raises

Within3 Founder and CEO Lance Hill on what to consider when raising capital.

January 6, 2023

Rocco DiLillo On His M&A Legacy

Rocco DiLillo on the many businesses he's built, bought and sold, and offers advice to entrepreneurs looking to experience similar successes.

December 16, 2022

Cleveland Deal Pulse: M&A Key To Corporate Strategies Despite Uncertainty

Rising inflation and interest rates, as well as a looming recessionary period, continue to be top-of-mind for dealmakers. The economic uncertainty caused by these issues has led to modest M&A volatility. However, valuations for high-quality businesses remain lofty.

December 9, 2022

Reasons To Consider A Family Office

Walnut Ridge CEO and Managing Partner Mike Moran on the pros and cons for sellers partnering with a family office, how family offices differ from other options, and what life is like for owners post-transaction.

December 1, 2022

Flexibility Has Advantages In Deal Negotiations

Brian Gale, Tucker Ellis' Jayne Juvan and Blue Point Capital's Chip Chaikin, share advice on how flexibility can win deals over price.

November 23, 2022

JumpStart's Jerry Frantz On How Uncertainty Is Affecting Early-Stage Investors

JumpStart Ventures President Jerry Frantz on how the early-stage investor mindset has been affected by market uncertainty and what it means for entrepreneurs.

November 18, 2022

Deal Pulse Cleveland: Rising Interest Rates Impact Private Equity

Interest rates have become a greater challenge, leading private equity to counter by increasing the portion of equity placed into deals to better manage the cost of debt.

November 11, 2022

Stay-At-Home Moms Take The Pressure Off Park Place Technologies' M&A Processes

Park Place Technologies Kelly Greene on how she's developed her M&A process during the years.

November 4, 2022

The Value Of Preparation Before Liquidity Events

JBC Technologies' Joseph Bliss, Proformex's Lou Schneeberger, BNY Mellon Wealth Management's Ronald Ambrogio and BDO's Robert Berdanier on the value of preparation before liquidity events.

October 28, 2022

Despite Two Retirements, Ralph Della Ratta Is Still Going

Kirtland Capital Partners' Ralph Della Ratta on what he's learned from his four decades in M&A, his keys to success and how that experience will be brought to bear in his newest role.

October 21, 2022

Deal Pulse Northeast Ohio: M&A Outlook in a Volatile Economy

The Northeast Ohio M&A market has faced the same headwinds as the broader U.S. Deal volume for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 was 10.1 percent lower than the same time period in 2021, while September 2022 deal volume was 26.3 percent lower than September 2021. Still, Northeast Ohio saw the closing of several noteworthy transactions.

October 14, 2022

Michael Sirpilla On Society Brands’ $204M Raise

Society Brands CEO Michael Sirpilla spoke on Dealmaker TV's DealTalk program about the company’s $204M raise and its growth since its launch in 2020.

October 7, 2022

There’s a Bumpy Road Ahead In M&A

C. Forrest Tefft, head of corporate finance at Northwest Bank, has, over more than four decades in investment banking, raised more than $14 billion in bank capital and was the originator of more than 70 transactions. Tefft discusses some of the hurdles businesses face in a near post-pandemic world and the things they should consider before making any M&A transactions.

October 7, 2022

Checkpoint Surgical Focused on Growth

Checkpoint Surgical, Inc., a privately held U.S.-based medical device company with proprietary neurostimulation technology for nerve protection and repair, raised $16 million of growth capital in August of 2021. One year later, with those investments in place, the company is shifting into growth mode, a move that comes with substantial changes. Executive Advisor Len Cosentino talks about the raise, his process for vetting investors and how Checkpoint is setting itself up for profitability.

September 30, 2022

Economic Uncertainty And Its Impact On Deal Readiness

Vytalize Health's Kevin Murphy, Vitalxchange's Charu Ramanathan, Gibson Machinery's Lee Gibson, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP's Brandi Weekley and MelCap Partners' Al Melchiorre on economic uncertainty and its impact on deal readiness.

September 23, 2022

Stewart Kohl on missed opportunities

The Riverside Co. Co-CEO Stewart Kohl on what he learned from his first job, how mentorship has impacted his career, successes, lessons learned, work/life balance, and giving back.

September 15, 2022

Deal Pulse: The Economic Impact of a Manufacturing Resurgence

In his latest Deal Pulse report, Mike Kostandaras of MelCap Partners assesses the current M&A market, including a discussion of recent deals, a puts a spotlight on domestic manufacturing.

September 9, 2022

Accelerating growth through private equity

Schill Grounds Management's Jerry Schill on the company's deal with Argonne and how it will help accelerate the business's growth.

September 2, 2022

Planning for you and your business's next step

TalentLaunch's Aaron Grossman, Leiden Cabinet Company's Tom Leiden and CM Wealth Advisors Paul Bodnar and Douglas McCreery, spoke at the Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers Conference about what liquidity events mean for owners and entrepreneurs and their businesses, and what to expect next.

August 19, 2022

Deal Pulse: M&A in a Virtual World

In July 2022, the Northeast Ohio M&A market demonstrated more resilience than the broader domestic market, as deal volume in July 2022 increased by 13.8 percent relative to July 2021. However, for the seven months ended July 2022, Northeast Ohio deal volume was 10.1 percent lower than the prior year.

August 11, 2022

Real estate investing in a dynamic market

Citymark Capital Founder and CEO Dan Walsh on the real estate investment market, what, and where, is hot, and how he sees the investment landscape playing out given the economic currents.

August 5, 2022

Transition strategies within family businesses

Jergens Inc.'s Jack Schron, Ahola Payroll & HR Solutions' Jeff Ahola, Peoples Services Inc.'s Darin Haines, The Reserves Network's Neil Stallard and UBS's William Murphy on the tough conversations and lessons learned from transitions in a family business.

July 22, 2022

Diligence is a two-way street

Foundation Wellness' Sean Williams, Aon's Perry Papantonis, and Gridiron Capital's Joe Saldutti and Sean Kelley on maximizing value in a sell-side transaction.

July 13, 2022

Deal Pulse: Volume down, value up amid mounting headwinds

Following a healthy first quarter, U.S. and local deal volume declined the second quarter ended June 30. However, total deal value on a national basis was up sharply over the same period. Acquirers are increasingly confronted with a difficult labor market.

July 6, 2022

A shifting M&A market

Fifth Third Securities' Matt Francati, Cyprium Investment Partners' Beth Haas, Signet Enterprises' Anthony Manna and Oswald Companies' Jeff Schwab on mitigating risk and navigating current trends in today's volatile sell-side environment.

June 29, 2022

Relationships, communication smooth MedPilot, Vytalize deal

Vytalize Health's Kevin Murphy and Matt Buder Shapiro on the deal, how it came to be and where the combined companies go from here.

June 22, 2022

Internal, external factors to consider ahead of a deal

Malachite Innovations Inc.'s Michael Cavanaugh, Barnes Wendling CPAs' Laurie Gatten, Protegis Fire & Safety's Steve DeJohn and Ulmer & Berne's Ilir Pipa on how to analyze your company’s deal readiness and determine the best course for your company’s future.

June 17, 2022

Overcoming Great Day's Early Challenges Hinged On The Team

Blue Olive Partners Executive Chairman Ed Weinfurtner on building the family of Great Day brands.

June 2, 2022

Economic development challenges, opportunities in Greater Cleveland

Downtown Cleveland Alliance's Michael Deemer, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services' Howard W. "Hoby" Hanna, IV, First National Bank's Jeff Bechtel and K&D's Doug Price helped kickoff the recent Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers Conference with a roundtable discussing the drivers of economic development in Northeast Ohio.

May 26, 2022

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

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.