Local investment bank makes M&A about the people behind the businesses
The team at The Capital Corporation sees mergers and acquisitions as not just buying or selling businesses, but in many cases, as solidifying legacies.
Devin Green, chief operating officer for The Capital Corp., spoke in a recent interview about how his company builds relationships with business owners by aiding in what he describes as a “generational transfer of wealth.”
Green starts off with a truism for the highly technical field of mergers and acquisitions: “When you talk about what we do, sometimes people’s eyes roll into the back of their heads,” he says with a chuckle.
“But what I love — what gets me jumping out of the bed in the morning — is that you’ve got these men and women who have literally spent 30 years of their lives taking an idea, pouring everything they have into it — blood, sweat, and tears and a lot of sleepless nights — and they’ve built a business. They’ve got all their eggs in this one basket, and now they’ve reached this point where they’ve got one shot to get it right and capture the value that they’ve worked so hard for over the last several decades.
“For me, I consider that a very big responsibility,” he says, “but I love it because, from a human side, we have an opportunity here to really, really put an exclamation point on 30 years of work. One thought that I often have that gets me going is that I’ll likely never meet their children or their grandchildren, but the small role we play will significantly change the trajectory of these folks’ lives.”
The Capital Corp. has carved out a niche in the mergersand acquisitions industry since it was founded in 1991 by Dan Adams, president and CEO.
“What we call ‘the lower-middle-market space,’ or companies that have annual profits of $3 million to $12 million, is an exciting niche to work in. These are very real companies, but what we’ve found is that there are not a lot of investment banks like us that can bring Wall Street-caliber professionals and best practices to those smaller, lower-middle-market companies. By doing what we do and how we do it, we are uniquely positioned to really make a material difference in the lives of business owners, their families, and their employees,” Green says.
Smaller firms that try to serve this lower-middle-market space can face challenges in providing the same level of resources and services as a larger company like The Capital Corp., Green says. “With our firm being part of a larger ‘mother ship,’ we simply have more horses under the hood, which empowers us to offer more value-add, more consistently, and at an accelerated pace,” he says.
The Capital Corp. provides three main services to its clients: It helps them sell businesses, buy businesses, and raise money.
“The lingo in the industry is we design and execute ‘sell-side,’ ‘buy-side,’ and ‘finance transactions,’” Green says. “In other words, we’re in mergers and acquisitions.”
Since opening, The Capital Corp. has worked with hundreds of companies across a wide range of industries in a geographic footprint that essentially focuses on companies east of the Mississippi.
Green, a St. Louis native and Vanderbilt University graduate who has been with the company for nine years, said the mergers and acquisitions process is often intense.
“You build real relationships with these people,” he says. “The process of what we do takes nine months, give or take, so you really get to know these folks, and they get to know you; it’s a pretty personal thing. You’re in the trenches with them, strategizing, marketing, negotiating — with us each sharing the same goal — in an intense and fast-paced environment over a nine-month period. When it’s all said and done, at the end of those nine months, we’re all high-fiving and we see a lot of smiles — it’s a very real and special experience, where both us and our clients walk away with some lifetime friendships.”
To talk to the professionals at The Capital Corp., visit the headquarters at 84 Villa Road, Greenville, call 864-672-8400, or visit www.thecapitalcorp.com. The company also has satellite offices in Charlotte, North Carolina; Spartanburg; and Boca Raton, Florida.