Still Unclear Whether 2017 Will Set Two Deal Records or Just One

Still Unclear Whether 2017 Will Set Two Deal Records or Just One

By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

The mergers-and-acquisition business should hit a record in 2017, at least in terms of number of transactions.

Deals through October, nationally, had already exceeded last year’s total of 9,950 M&A transactions, according to Thomson Financial.

It was unclear, however, if transaction value in 2017 will beat the $1.6 trillion posted in 2016. This year may end with fewer huge deals.

The number of transactions involving a Minnesota buyer or seller also will likely be a record this year.

CEO Andy Kocemba of Edina-based Calhoun Companies, a small-business brokerage, said the long, slow recovery from the 2008-09 recession has increased confidence of business owners and boosted the value of small-company acquisitions.

“Their businesses are doing well and many people who put off retiring now believe they can sell their company for a fair price,” Kocemba said. “It also helps that there are qualified buyers eager to purchase businesses that can demonstrate strong cash flow and have solid managements in place.”
Calhoun sold 11 businesses in the third quarter, averaging about $1.7 million per transaction.

Overall, Calhoun has sold businesses this year at an average price of slightly more than $1 million, an increase from the average price last year of slightly less than $1 million.

The BizBuySell Insight Report recently found that Minnesota transactions were up 24 percent during the first nine months of 2017, compared to 2016.
And business sentiment has been rising.

The recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index found that 71 percent of small business owners believe their financial situation is at least pretty good, a post-recovery high.

Kocemba said small business-owner confidence, ample profitability and available financing indicates that 2018 also should be a good year for the M&A trade.