How much money is there?

We are often asked “How much liquidity is there for acquisitions these days?”

You will be happy to know that a snapshot from the U.S. private equity market reveals there is three quarters of a trillion dollars in committed funds ready to buy your business.  And this is just one slice of the market, the private equity piece.

global private equity

Thank you to our friends at Fifth/Third Capital Markets for this insight![i]

The value of the record 50,600 of worldwide M&A deals in 2017 was $3.5 trillion according to the IMAA Institute[ii]:

m&A worldwide


And in North America, the 2,500 M&A deals were valued at $1.5 trillion

number m&A

What does this mean for you?

There is abundant liquidity in the markets.  Capital allocators are seeking candidates in record numbers to add to their portfolios.  When you get the call from Vertical Capital Advisors, listen!  This is the call you wanted the day you started your business, every entrepreneur’s dream!



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Vertical Capital Advisors is an Atlanta-area boutique investment banking firm built on creating tangible value for our clients, serving clients in just about every industry.  Our clients are both capital growers and capital allocators.  How can Vertical help your firm maximize value?


Joe Briner
Managing Director
Vertical Capital Advisors LLC
866-912-9543 ext 108



Love at First Sight: M&A Activity Continues Slowdown in 1Q2017

S&P’s Capital IQ market intelligence report reveals that the slowdown in M&A activity that started in 2016 continued into the first quarter of 2017 in terms of the number of closed deals (excluding oil & gas and real estate).

transactions by deal size transactions by deal size 2017The dollar value of closed M&A deals managed a slight 2% increase, however:

m and a annual trends


We hear private equity groups and other capital allocators bemoan the lack of quality deal flow while we work hard every day to close that gap.

One interesting observation from the inside is that virtually every PEG we interact with that has a presence in Healthcare Services and Financial Services informs us that they are aggressively seeking quality acquisition candidates yet these two sectors show the largest year over year declines:

us manda activity by sector

The schizophrenic market conditions continue.  PEGs want deals yet many have become incredibly fastidious in their analysis of quality deals, bouncing them for reasons that are often difficult to articulate or that ordinarily would not be cause for concern beyond the normal due diligence processes.

We still consider the Healthcare and Financial Services sectors to be in high demand based on our work with capital allocators.  The current love at first sightmarket requires much more marketing than the average deal typically requires.  It has never been easy to place a deal but in the present market, if it is not love at first sight, we are finding that it is requiring two to three times longer to find the right partner and we have to market the deal to four to five times the number of potential partners than we market the typical deal to.



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At Vertical Capital Advisors, we are most often engaged by industry leaders to be the bridge to the capital they need to fuel growth.  We start with great leaders at great companies that have compelling, profitable business plans where the only missing ingredient is capital.


Vertical Capital Advisors is an Atlanta-area business advisory firm built on creating tangible value for our clients, serving clients in just about every industry.  Our clients are both capital growers and capital allocators.  How can Vertical help your firm maximize value?

Joe Briner
Managing Director
Vertical Capital Advisors LLC
866-912-9543 ext 108





Watch Out for the Twin Capital Destroyers

Paraphrasing, a friend wrote to me last night and asked, “Hey Joe, is it time to invest?”  I polished me crystal ball, gazed inside and saw the charts below magically appeared:

m2-money-stock velocity-of-m2-money-stock

Pay attention to the shaded areas.  The shaded areas are recessions, destroyers of capital.  Do you see how the velocity line decreases in the shaded areas in the top chart?  What this shows is that a decrease in velocity predicts a recession.  PREDICTS a recession.  That’s an important verb, predicts.  It is not often in the life of a practitioner in the financial markets (or business manager or investor…) that you can see with clarity what is going to happen next.  And the exact timing of an event is always the most difficult part of the game.

In the top chart we have an exception to the rule.  The line bends straight down since 2011 yet no recession because of what is happening in the bottom chart.  The bottom chart shows that we printed $4.4 trillion since 2011 to prevent a recession.  PREVENT a recession.  That’s a mighty hard thing to do.  Prevent a recession.  But money supply is the only input the government controls.  So it is the only tool they have to “fix” the
economy.  And it is a binary tool – either it is on and they are pumping money into the economy or it is off and they are drawing liquidity out of the market.  This month we learned that the Fed is actually drawing money oupricet of the system.  This will accelerate the next recession.  That is government interference in the markets in action and the price we will pay is pain – material pain in the financial markets.  Great Depression-magnitude pain?  Possibly.

We should have been in a recession since 2011 based on the declining velocity of money.  If you remember the pain of the 2008-2010 recession and you can see the magnitude of the downward trajectory in the velocity of money since 2011 in the top chart, you can see that the next recession will be every bit as painful as the last recession, and, I predict, actually much worse.

As we have blogged a couple of times, the slowing velocity of money indicates that capital is being trapped or logjammed inside the financial system.  So I wrote to my friend:

When money slows, it indicates it is not being invested in productive, growing enterprises.  And if money is not being invested in productive assets, it is being invested in idle assets (read: financial engineering or speculation).  And this is a predictor of a recession (or more precisely, a bubble before a recession).  I think the drop could be 70% across the board – investment real estate included.

Today we have twin destroyers of capital working in collusion: The Fed mainlining money directly into the markets (Increasing Money Supply) and the markets plowing it into non-productive assets (Slowing Velocity of Money).  This dual action is driving prices of financial assets higher while generating no (or very little) new production of goods and services.  The twin destroyers of capital.

Be patient.  Soon you should be able to buy assets at 2008 prices.  The NASDAQ today is over 5,300.  In November 2008 it dropped below 1,500.  That would be a decline of over 70% from today’s figure!  It could get close to that number in the next downturn and while that would wipe out trillions of dollars of net worth, it will only send us back to 2008.  And somehow we all survived that setback.

Have some cash in hand but don’t rush in.  You may have an opportunity to create dynastic wealth that will transform the lives of several future generations if you can be disciplined in your approach to the market.

Business owners and capital allocators, you would do well to dust off the worst case scenario plan and focus on cash generation.  And if the storm hits as it looks like it will, give us a call.  We are experts at navigating such waters.  We can help stabilize the ship, pare back to the key drivers and help you maximize the value of your assets.  That’s how we create tangible value.



Based in Atlanta, GA and created to help businesses survive the devastation of the Great Recession, Vertical Capital Advisors is a firm built on creating tangible value for our clients.  We work with clients in just about every industry and we work with both capital growers and capital allocators..

Joe Briner
Managing Director
Vertical Capital Advisors LLC
866-912-9543 ext 108