Headwinds or Tail Winds Facing Lower Middle Market M&A – IBBA 2022 Recap

Last week over 700 professionals in the main street and lower middle market M&A community met in Denver to share best practices, pandemic battle scars, and predictions for M&A activity for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.

The consensus among conference attendees was that technology is changing how our industry interacts with buyers and sellers, economic volatility will persist, and that going to in person-conferences is, unfortunately, still a health risk.

A few select highlights:

  • Brokerage firms are increasingly using automation technologies to improve client prospecting, service delivery, and deal execution. Activities range from bespoke buyer list creation through web scraping to due diligence project management. Some of the software tools highlighted include: Salesloft, Pipedrive, Loom, Brightcove, MatterPort, Smartsheet, Monday, GetDandy, and Zapier
  • Private Equity continues to move into the lower middle market, writing checks for companies below $2M annual EBITDA
  • Brokers are seeing warning signs of a recession on the horizon, so advising current clients to put the pedal down while interest rates remain low
  • A potential recession will not look the same as in 2008 when there was a liquidity crunch in the market. PE firms have built up a war chest to facilitate deal flow and could outrun a recession. A recession pain this go around will be much more regionally and industry acute verse the structural economic conditions of the early 2000s.
  • Comedians, like local Denverite Sam Adams, make for great keynote speakers!

One last word to the wise for those heading to large in-person events – consider masking up in crowded places with little to no airflow. There are still hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated children who are more susceptible to catching the coronavirus and experiencing life-altering health conditions.

Safe to say no one loves inflation and covid-19 growth!

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