Private Equity Deal Origination

We are asked every day by private equity groups to help them find acquisition targets. A private equity firm is an investment management company that provides financial backing and makes investments in the private equity of startup or operating companies through a variety of loosely affiliated investment strategies including leveraged buyout, venture capital, and growth capital.

We have over 1,000 of them in our database and there are over two thousand of them in the US. Here are the first few in alphabetical order.

1847 HoldingsNew`+1 954-453-9662
2M Investment`+1 617-835-8874
3 Rivers`+1 412-765-2491
39 North CapitalNew`+1 212-482-1255
3iLondon`+44 20 7975 3449
3P Equity PartnersSan (408) 983-0720
40|73 CapitalNew YorkNYdsaksena@4073capital.com1 312-961-6485
633`+1 269-323-1400
ABRY PartnersBostonMAnmassard@abry.com617-859-2959
ACON`+1 202-454-1137
Acorda TherapeuticsArdsleyNYslee@acorda.com9143265852
Acorn Growth (703) 548-0809
ADCURAM GroupMunich`+ 49 (89).20 20 95 90
Addison Capital PartnersWest Palm (434) 295-0332`+1 904-482-0091
Advent-MorroSan Juan dramirez@adventmorro.com787-7255285 (573) 445-0678
AEA InvestorsNew YorkNYamehfar@aeainvestors.com212-702-0553
AGI PartnersNew (646) 766-0676
AGIC CapitalMunich`+49 177 3205463
AIACNew YorkNYbshiau@aiacgroup.com203-952-9212
AkornLake ForestILSean.brynjelsen@akorn.com847-279-6100
Akoya (312) 604-3932
Alaris Royalty (403) 260-1452

Below are the biggest ones. The people who run these funds are sports fans just like everybody else. The top twenty alone manage two thirds of a trillion dollars and they are always raising capital and reinvesting it. 

RankFirmHeadquartersAssets in Millions
1The Blackstone Group New York City$82,851
2The Carlyle Group Washington D.C.$63,802
3Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. New York City$47,977
4CVC Capital Partners Luxembourg$47,413
5Warburg Pincus New York City$36,557
6Bain Capital Boston$35,554
7EQT Partners Stockholm$30,054
8Thoma Bravo Chicago$29,880
9Apollo Global Management New York City$29,001
10Neuberger Berman New York City$28,884
11Hellman & Friedman Boston$26,900
12TPG Capital Fort Worth$25,661
13EnCap Investments Houston$21,097
14Vista Equity Partners San Francisco$19,785
15Apax Partners London$18,615
16General Atlantic New York City$16,916
17Clayton, Dubilier & Rice New York City$16,509
18Permira London$16,394
19Advent International Boston$16,026
20Silver Lake Partners Menlo Park$15,000

These groups make no secret about where they are looking to invest. There are hundreds of thousands of private companies that fit their criteria, and we are very good at gauging their interest in an exit strategy. With over 700,000 companies in this pool, there is an inexhaustible supply of business.

Annual Revenues # Privately Held US Companies 
Less than $500,000              5,804,537
$500,000-1 Million              3,012,600
$1-$2.5 Million              1,905,292
$2.5-$5 Million                 729,262
$5-$10 Million                 398,285
$10-$20 Million                 190,484
$20-$50 Million                 123,037
$50-$100 Million                    42,083
$100-$500 Million                    27,350
$500m-$1 Billion                      3,466
Over $1 Billion                      4,770
$5-500 Million                 781,239
This is our Wheelhouse

Looking to Deploy Capital?

Let us ramp up your deal flow!

There are many ways that corporate investor groups source opportunities, and they range from the laughably inefficient to tremendously focused and effective.

At the lower end of these efforts are obvious form letters from obviously junior associates of firms that are obviously fundless sponsors. These attempts are dead on arrival. Equally fruitless are phone calls that seldom make it past the gatekeeper. There are far better ways to find quality investment opportunities.

How much time do you spend traveling, phoning and Googling for opportunities? When you do identify a desirable target, how do you distinguish yourself from the dozens of equally qualified suitors that are probably chasing the same deal? And after you spend thousands of dollars and man hours, how often do you find that the numbers they initially dangled were bullshit?

Let’s talk about how a relationship with Players Capital Group can increase your actionable deal flow. Our origination team is a group of successful former professional athletes. Just like you, we know and understand the Mergers and Acquisitions landscape.

It’s all about the closing table!

We also know how to read a P&L and a balance sheet. We understand debt, liquidity and finance. We understand the industry verticals you operate in. We understand that you are looking for a combination of these features and how to identify them:

Cash Flow Dynamics

  • Positive EBITDA
  • Stability, Predictability and Growth
  • Recurring Revenues

Market Positioning

  • Sustainable Competitive Edge
  • Identifiable and Differentiated Niche
  • Meaningful Barriers to Entry

Management and Staff Abilities

  • Proven Operators
  • Drive and Desire for Growth
  • Deep Industry Knowledge

Growth Potential

  • Presence in Stable and Growing Markets
  • Organic Growth or Add-on Opportunities
  • Accessible Growth Avenues

This is our footprint

Although you know how to raise money and where to successfully deploy it, you can’t be everywhere. If you have offices in New York, Chicago and LA, you’re still a thousand miles away from that foundry in Florida or that distributor in Durham you covet. In the places that are hard for you to get to, we’re already there. A relationship with us would provide you with a network of representatives everywhere in the country. Your initial overtures to these companies wouldn’t be from a junior person in your office or a faceless attorney but a highly polished local hero who can entertain the target in style.This is just the beginning of our value proposition.

When the right seller is talking to the right buyer, not much can happen to derail the deal. Deals that are destined to close usually do so quickly and quietly…  Do you have a steady flow of actionable opportunities?

Value creation is at the core of our existence, and here is the value in a relationship with us. When we put a deal on your desk, it will be for a company in a vertical you want, that wants to do a deal rather than kick tires, has reasonable price expectations and transparent books with no ticking time bombs. Most importantly, if this is a deal we sourced at your request, you will be the only one looking at it.

What’s in it for us? We want to work with senior partners at aggressive acquirers who know what they want, have done it before and know how to decisively steer a transaction to the closing table. If you have the paralysis of analysis, we’re not for you. If you’re looking for steady quality deal flow, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch about how our highly targeted and focused systems can help us do great things together for a long time.

Get in touch

Mergers and Acquisitions

There are over twelve million privately held businesses in the USA and Canada. Most of them are too small for us to bother with. A small fraction are too big for us and are the exclusive domain of the largest investment banks in the country. That leaves over 700,000 companies that fit our parameters. 

Our typical client is someone who has built a successful company and now wants to sell all or part of it and either slow doen or completely retire. At any given time, over half of the owners at companies on the list below are willing to entertain an offer or actively pursuing an exit. With over 700,000 companies in this pool, there is an inexhaustible supply of business.


Annual Revenues # Privately Held US Companies 
Less than $500,000              5,804,537
$500,000-1 Million              3,012,600
$1-$2.5 Million              1,905,292
$2.5-$5 Million                 729,262
$5-$10 Million                 398,285
$10-$20 Million                 190,484
$20-$50 Million                 123,037
$50-$100 Million                    42,083
$100-$500 Million                    27,350
$500m-$1 Billion                      3,466
Over $1 Billion                      4,770
$5-500 Million                 781,239
This is our Wheelhouse
The financial world  and governments everywhere use the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) to categorize every type of corporate activity. We use these codes to identify supply and demand in the corporate acquisition marketplace.

Our Rapid Deployment Network

Recently we received a call from our friends at WorldClaim, the pre-eminent public adjusting firm in the world. Public adjusters represent insured people against their own insurers. Most people don’t realize that when your home or business burns to the ground or is destroyed by some other misfortune you don’t have to automatically accept what your insurance company offers in settlement. You can hire your own adjuster who knows the true value of your claim and will represent your interests with the insurance company to make sure you are paid everything owed to you.

Their call was in regard to a Canadian oil boomtown, Fort McMurray, Alberta. The town had been leveled by a fire, and the New York Times estimated the damage at $9 billion dollars. They wanted to work those claims and help people who had sustained severe losses recover quickly, which is what they do. Their question was simple: Did we know anyone in that area with the influence to introduce them to people who needed their help?

For anybody but us, this would have been an impossible task. One of Players Capital Group’s Managing Partners, Jeff Brubaker had played for both the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, the Canadian province of Alberta’s two NHL teams. He was still in touch with several of his former teammates with both clubs.

His first call was to Jim Peplinski, who had been the captain of the Calgary Flames. Peplinski referred Brubaker to an executive in his insurance group who promptly referred him to several prominent Fort McMurray civic leaders. 

His second call was to PCG Partner Kevin McClelland, who had won four Stanley Cups in Edmonton during their glory days of the 80’s. Kevin said “Oh yeah, I still know several people up there… call this guy for starters”…

It’s a 38 hour drive from Atlanta to Fort McMurray. In less time than it took WorldClaim to drive their disaster response vehicles up there we had introduced them to a $9 billion dollar market. Not only were those introductions to the right people, they were immediately well received because they had come from  Stanley Cup Champions!

Who could we introduce you to?

This is a perfect example of how we use the Full Spectrum of Capital. In this case we used intellectual capital (our network of well connected former pro athletes) and combined it with emotional capital (the recognition and acceptance of a famous sports brand). How could you use your own financial and other types of capital in conjunction with ours?

Corporate Intervention Strategies

As a mergers and acquisitions firm, we are constantly evaluating companies for the purpose of preparing their owners for a successful exit.  In ideal circumstances, they are mature companies that are profitable and drama-free. But sometimes they’re not. Many times we are approached by owners who haven’t protected themselves from the threats that inevitably come from success, whether internal or external.

As companies grow, problems can emerge that were never anticipated.  Partnerships that were once effective become frayed due to disagreements in future direction. Sudden profitability can lead to waste, fraud and abuse. There are a hundred ways a promising business model can end up in the ditch.

Whether your problems are caused by people, processes or market forces beyond your control, we might be able to help. We have cleaned up some real messes in our day. Here are a few examples:

Case #1 The owner of a professional minor league hockey franchise called us in a panic.  After a stellar start to the season, his team had dropped several games in a row, and had just turned in several uninspired performances in front of increasingly dwindling audiences.  We spent three days there observing day to day operations and discreetly interviewing people who didn’t know they were being interviewed. After watching the head coach conduct practices and instruct his players, we knew he wasn’t the problem. The guy was obviously an excellent coach, and we know the hockey business. It didn’t take us long to learn that the problem was his assistant –an ambitious guy who was also one of our clients’ sacred cows. He knew that just a few more losses might get the head coach fired, which might make him the head coach, and by subtly suggesting to key players that their head coach was unwilling to recommend them to organizations at higher levels he was creating massive dissension.

Instead of our client firing a valuable high level asset and eating a hefty contract, he fired a cancerous distraction for cause. And it wasn’t people at the executive level that we learned anything from. In fact, it was the towel boy, the lowest ranking person in the organization who had always been treated with courtesy and respect by his boss, the head coach.

Case #2 We were approached by the CEO of a startup medical device company for early stage funding. It was plain to see that they had brilliant and disruptive technology that would forever change the supply chain of an industry to which there are incredibly high barriers to entry. But money to get the necessary approvals and research done was always in short supply.

The majority stockholder and patent holder was actually the Chief Scientific Officer, and not the man who had hired us. When we looked at the company’s offering materials, we knew immediately what we were dealing with. Buried in the fine print, the stock subscription authorized the CEO to commingle the monies raised with offshore companies the CEO was involved in. A red flag if there ever was one.

When we asked the science officer if he knew about this, he replied in the negative with a distinct air of disbelief. We were hired immediately to audit the books. It took us less than an hour to determine that the CEO had converted hundreds of thousands of dollars to his personal use. We called him into his own office and gave him the option of resigning both his position and his stock in the company on the spot with no further repercussions. Knowing that the game was over, he shrugged and quickly signed the documents we had prepared. We never heard from him again and we didn’t spend a dime on attorneys. And we never wasted another minute with him.

We would have enjoyed prosecuting him but we knew that a competent defense attorney could have muddied the waters for a long time.  More importantly, the equity we recovered was quickly resold to a new investor with real capital that is taking this project into clinical trials.

Case #3 Our client was an astute real estate investor who had diversified into the entertainment business. He had several performing arts venues that had pre-sold season tickets and already collected the revenue. Ticket sales were average but should have ensured no worse than break even. Yet they were bleeding red ink. When we looked at his books, it was apparent that the company would never be profitable with the inflated employment contract the General Manager had convinced our trusting friend to sign him to.

Far above the industry norm, it was a complete albatross around the organization’s neck. Attorneys confirmed that it was ironclad. Folding the operation was out of the question because the owner wasn’t willing to take the PR hit in his own community. When we asked the overpaid manager if he would be willing to renegotiate to a more reasonable but still generous deal that was sustainable, he steadfastly refused. His books were in complete order. Every dollar was accounted for. And is in his opinion, his performance was good. In ours, it was average, but none of the few contractual conditions for termination were present.

We suggested to him that this was a lopsided deal, and lopsided deals rarely last long. He replied that a deal was a deal, and he expected his employer to honor it. He had understood and taken advantage of the fact that our client was a man of his word and would not renege on an agreement that he had entered into in good faith, no matter how poorly he had represented himself. So we did some research and identified some people that could help us. They were vendors, executives and headhunters close to the hiring executives at the companies at higher levels of the business. We arranged situations where our client would be talking to these folks. Not to the hiring managers, but those close to them. And the only thing our client ever had to do to remedy his situation was to brag to these people about his General Manager’s capabilities and how he dearly hoped that he could hold on to him for awhile.

About two weeks later, our albatross informed his boss that he would like to be let out of his contract to accept employment elsewhere. Our client warmly shook his hand and wished him well, and said that if he wanted to join his new organization right away, he wouldn’t object. We really don’t know how our friend is doing at his new job, but his successor is doing very well.

Case #4 Our client was one of the founders of an industrial supply company. No single person had a controlling interest. The original two partners had sold off 25% of the stock to a half dozen investors in varIous sized chunks to raise operating capital.

Our friend the female partner assumed the office management duties. The man did outside sales. As business progressed, the two partners relationship deteriorated. Our friend wanted to forgo distributions in order to reinvest. The other partner wanted to pull as much out as possible as soon as possible. The second partner was also creating extreme liability for the company through his inappropriate behavior with female staff members. When our client learned that he had been recruiting investors to form a competing company, she knew she had to act.

Fortunately for her, her partner had used a very general shareholder agreement from an office supply store when they incorporated. Nothing addressed a necessary time frame to call a shareholder meeting. We quickly polled the minority stockholders and determined that our client would narrowly prevail in a vote. We introduced her to lawyers who specialize in contentious partnership issues.

These attorneys convened a shareholders meeting at their own offices where a quorum was present. The man was relieved of his duties, and simultaneously his access to the plant and network credentials were revoked. When we looked at his hard drive, we discovered evidence of a personal bankruptcy filing.  We subsequently learned that he had failed to declare his stock in this company as a personal asset.

One of our partners had taken a contract position as CFO during this process. He had also assumed the title of VP-Investor Relations. The CEO went back to running the company and all calls from stockholders went to our operative. Inevitably the call came from the deposed manager threatening legal action. We informed him that the bankruptcy court would probably frown on the fact that he was trying to have his cake and bankrupt it too. And then we just forgot about him. We knew he couldn’t assert his rights as a shareholder without convicting himself of bankruptcy fraud.

We like solutions that avoid litigation. If you end up in court, it should be because your adversary is unreasonable and/or poorly informed. We hate to see our clients spend money with lawyers instead of reinvesting it. But when we need to go to court, we hire the best and we play hardball.

Before you get into an expensive and time-consuming scrap that corrupts your karma, let us take a fresh look at the situation. The value we bring to you is the combination of our experience and our critical thinking abilities. As experienced investors, we’ve seen a lot of cash flow statements, balance sheets, tax returns and business plans. We can quickly identify strengths, weaknesses, irregularities and risk. But we also have the analytical ability to observe what the numbers don’t reveal.

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