Have Questions? We Have Answers!

What makes for a good investment and how do you decide to proceed?

Good investment partners fit within our investment focus. Small business owners and managers should want a mutually beneficial result in the transition. If your company fits the criteria, we respond quickly. Remember, we promise a small company focus, Midwestern style and accessibility.

How do you determine the value of my company?

Similar to P/E multiples on public companies, private companies are generally sold on a multiple of EBITDA (operating cash flow) for a cash free-debt free business.

Multiples for companies with $1 to $5 million EBITDA tend to range from 4 to 6 times trailing EBITDA. Factors impacting multiples are:

  • Company size and industry position
  • Competitive dynamics of its industry sector
  • Growth trends and opportunities
  • Depth and caliber of management
  • Diversity of customers
  • Capital expenditure and working capital dynamics
  • Level and trajectory of earnings
How do you structure deals?

Each deal is tailored to the transaction and needs of the business. Most will include a combination of lower cost bank debt along with equity and subordinated debt, seller debt or occasionally earn-outs.

We take a conservative approach towards capital structure to ensure adequate funding for growth initiatives and inevitable shortfalls.

How does a recapitalization differ from a sale transaction?

A recapitalization (recap) may be thought of as a partial sale. It is the simultaneous restructuring of a company’s capital structure and equity ownership, often facilitated by a private equity firm like Brass Ring.

Recaps are a great means for owner-managers to generate significant cash liquidity, ongoing ownership and retained operational control of their firm.

Why should I sell to a private equity firm?

It’s important to consider various buyer types as you look to a transaction. Click here for an overview of various buyer type considerations. Your company’s transaction through a private equity firm like Brass Ring offers great flexibility.

Are private equity firms only in the business of flipping companies?

We believe that building a business to a level that makes it an attractive investment is a long term proposition that takes many years.

And, if you are a manager, the reality is that you often don’t have the transparency of knowing when your corporate or private owner will sell.

Choosing the right private equity partner, like Brass Ring, gives you significantly more influence on an inevitable sale.

Who are your investors?

Our investors consist of primarily of 85 high net worth individuals many of whom have run their own small businesses. We do not have institutional investors which allows for flexibility and a long term view. Each of us has a significant amount of our personal net worth in the fund as well. 

Do you have discretion over your capital?

Yes. Brass Ring was formed as a committed capital fund, which means we have complete autonomy over equity investments the firm makes. This is a distinct advantage when certainty of closing is valued.

What type of return do you look for on your investment?

We generally target returns of 25% or more compounded over the life of an investment, generated through earnings growth and the prudent use of leverage. Our return targets are consistent with our historical results

What factors besides price are important for me to consider?

It’s critical for a seller to choose a buyer they trust. The decision impacts:

  • How, when and on what terms the transaction closes
  • What happens to employees
  • What happens to the business post-closing

Some private equity firms will pay premium prices but employ strategic or leadership changes that radically impact the business. Others entice with high offers and search for ways to reduce the final price once an agreement has been signed.

At Brass Ring, we’re interested in buying businesses intact. Since we along with management are the owners and decision makers, you know right up front our interests and intentions.

How much equity can management expect to receive?

Historically, management has owned 10% - 45% of transactions we’ve completed. Such factors as respective capital contributions, personal resources, transaction dynamics and post-closing financial performance are common ingredients at the onset of each transaction.

Do you need controlling ownership in a transaction?

No. The economics and dynamics of each deal will generally drive the ownership levels of each party to the transaction.

A traditional management buyout will probably require Brass Ring to put up most of the capital, which itself would likely drive a majority ownership.

A family succession transaction that has Brass Ring helping to buy-out minority shareholders, may actually result in an increase in ownership levels for remaining shareholders and a minority for Brass Ring. In these cases, we would need customary minority shareholder’s protections.

What is a business owner’s typical role after a transaction?

Some business owners look to retire after selling their firms. Others just want some cash liquidity to feel more comfortable growing their companies, but have no intention of slowing down.

We understand needs vary and consider all proposals from owners and managers for post-closing roles. 

Do you require management continuity?

No. Management continuity is preferred, but not required.

Do you get involved with managing a business?

Not generally. As investors, our business is to invest in companies and help to facilitate their growth and development. We leave it to management to handle the day-to-day operations. Whatever the situations merits, we can:

  • Partner with incumbent management teams
  • Recruit leaders in the absence of leadership including CFO position
  • Serve on the board of directors
  • Lead sourcing and consummating acquisitions
Do the companies in which you are invested work together?

In rare instances. While we attempt to share best practices amongst investee companies, we recognize that most managers want to run their own show.

Will the culture of the business change after a transaction?

The best performing businesses are ones with strong corporate cultures. We encourage fostering an environment of respect and opportunity to lay the groundwork for a strong corporate culture.

How will a transaction affect employee compensation?

Our transactions typically include equity ownership opportunities and bonus plans for key managers.

What happens if things don’t turn out as planned?

As seasoned private equity professionals we roll up our sleeves when challenges arise, but always defer to our key managers first. Our patient capital approach helps to foster an environment of collaborative problem solving.

In some cases, we defer to our professional network of managerial resources to help address challenges. 

How do you add value to companies?

Our role is one of marrying good businesses with the resources to achieve their potential. While many companies are already well run, we often find that our bias for growth enables us to focus a firm’s development. 

How are you different from other private equity firms?

There’s no question the private equity industry has a number of high caliber firms. When it comes to small market deals, we believe few firms can match our combination of experience, capabilities and track record. None promise a blend of collaboration, Midwestern style and accessibility.