Welcome to M&A Unplugged. This is the launch episode with your host, Domenic Renaldi, the President and Managing Partner of Sun Acquisitions. If you’re the owner of a privately held company with annual revenues between $2 and $30 million and you’re looking to scale, acquire, or sell a business, then you’re in the right place. Born and raised in New York, Domenic shares his roots from studying in Upstate New York to moving out west to California where he started his career in Corporate America. Through his years of experience, Domenic seeks to bring a lot of that experience to you through this podcast, and what makes for a good transaction. Learn how he works with and helps owners of companies figure out how to maximize the value of their acquisition, sale, or just how to scale their businesses. Hear and learn from other owners’ firsthand accounts who have actually gone through their own acquisitions about what worked well and what didn’t.
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Welcome To M&A Unplugged!
If you’re the owner of a privately held company with annual revenues between $2 million and $30 million and you’re looking to scale, acquire or sell a business, you’ve landed in the right place. Welcome to the launch episode of our podcast. I’m excited to be launching. We’ve been working on this podcast for many months. When we first put out the plans for this podcast with our team, we sat down and tried to focus in on what the primary goal and objective of this podcast would be. We operate an M&A, mergers and acquisitions firm in Chicago and our core competency is working with owners of privately held companies.
What we do every day is help owners be strategic and maximize the value of their businesses, whether it be a sale or acquisition. The goal of this podcast is to help owners of privately held companies maximize the value of their acquisitions or their sales. It’s what we know and it’s where our experiences are. We have some great stories to bring to you and we have many clients that we’ve worked with in the past that we’re hoping to bring in and introduce to our readers and know their stories.
I was born and raised in New York. I spent my early years in New York City. It’s a great experience growing up in the early ‘60s and early ‘70s in New York City. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My family later moved to Upstate New York and I went to high school and college there. After I was done with school, I had the opportunity to move out west to California and started my career out there in Corporate America in the telecom industry working for a Fortune 500 company.
In the mid-’80s, telecom was going through tremendous changes. It was going through deregulation and it was a Wild Wild West for telecom and it was a great place to start my career. It winds up being the first of many moves and many stops. I did eleven moves throughout my corporate career. I’ve lived in many different states and I’ve done business in almost every state of the United States, except Alaska. I’ve also done business internationally. After spending fourteen years in Corporate America, I had the opportunity to join an executive team with an internet startup out in California and it was a tremendous experience.
Our team raised over $100 million of venture capital. I was employee number 22 and we grew that business dramatically from infancy through international expansion product lines and services. It was a tremendous opportunity. We did file to go public with that company, but we filed before the market crash of 2000. For those of you who remember the history of the markets, the IPO market completely dried up after that. Thankfully, that business stayed around for a while longer, but we were never going to get out and go public.
My career has morphed and I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of different things throughout my corporate and startup experience. I had the opportunity to dramatically grow businesses, live through my fair share of restructurings and be part of teams that had to create brand new markets. The majority of my functional experience came from being part of executive management teams and sales organizations and operations.Scaling, acquiring, or selling a business takes time, preparation, and proper knowledge. Click To Tweet
I’ve been able to bring all of that to my current business, which is a mergers and acquisitions firm. I own and operate Sun Acquisitions, which is located in Chicago. The firm has been around for many years and we specialize in helping the owners of privately held companies acquire and sell their businesses. I have a tremendous team and we have fifteen advisors who work exclusively with owners of privately held companies, either helping them acquire businesses or sell their businesses.
During my fifteen years, I’ve had the great fortune of being personally involved in over 300 transactions. I’ve been involved in everything. I’ve done and seen it all across a broad range of industries and businesses of all shapes and sizes. I have been a part of some successful transactions and unfortunately, some that weren’t so successful. I’ve learned firsthand what makes for a good transaction and we’re hoping to bring a lot of that information to you through this podcast.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I have found a career and profession that I love and I’m passionate about. I love working with and helping owners of companies figuring out how to maximize the value of their acquisition or sale and how to scale their businesses. The process of acquiring or selling a business is something that I can easily teach and show people. I love teaching my team and my advisors the process that you have to go through.
The thing that separates your average advisor from the advisor that is exceptional is all the nuances that go into creating and consummating a transaction. Being able to predict and see what’s going to happen next in a transaction is critical to being able to set the right expectations with your clients and ultimately get a good deal for everybody involved. The format of this podcast is going to be interview-based and we thought, “Who’s better to bring you this message and to share this knowledge than the owners who have gone through their own acquisitions?”
We’re going to do 30-minute episodes with owners who have either acquired, scaled or sold their businesses. You’re going to hear their firsthand account of what they went through, what worked well, what didn’t work well and how did they prepare for the transaction. Most importantly, we’re hoping to hear about all the blind spots and all the things that people hadn’t anticipated like, “Are you financially and emotionally ready to sell your business?” That seems like a simple concept.
There are many layers to this. Financially, do you have enough money to do the next thing? Whatever that is, whether go acquire another business or retire. Emotionally, are you ready to step away from the business? Do you know what you’re going to do next? Do you have a clear picture of what happens the day after you acquire or sell a business? Confidentiality, people oftentimes will ask us, “How do we control employees, vendors and clients not learning about our acquisition and sale?” It is critically important. Having one of those groups find out that you’re either looking to acquire or sell a business can create havoc on a deal.
What drives value in a business? How do you value a business? When you’re looking to make acquisitions, we represent a fair number of buyers who want to go out and acquire businesses. Oftentimes when they come to us, they’ve already been out in the marketplace looking. The first question that we ask them is to share their strategic plan with us. More often than not, they don’t have a strategic plan. They haven’t thought through what they’re trying to accomplish and what their end goal is, so we will start there with them.
There are things like integration. How are you going to integrate that acquisition in? The time to start thinking about integration is the day that you decide you want to go out and acquire a business. It is not the day that you make the acquisition. It’s not even when you start due diligence. Do you have the resources internally to do an integration? Do you need to go out and acquire those resources? Due diligence, what’s involved in due diligence? Whether you’re acquiring or selling, it is a monstrous task to go through due diligence. You need to have a clear picture of what a buyer is going to look for if you’re looking to sell your business. If you’re looking to buy a business, what you can expect the seller to give you?
Advisors, this is a point I promise is going to come up on every episode is. It’s having the right advisors or the people with the specialty for whatever task it is. If you’re looking to scale your business, do you have the right consultants with particular expertise? When you go to acquire or sell a business, do you have M&A accountants, M&A attorneys and a good M&A advisor? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a good M&A accountant or attorney save a client a tremendous amount of money or conversely make them a tremendous amount of money because they knew the ins and outs of transactions.
Those are some of the topics that we’re going to hit. There will be many more, but what we promise to deliver in every episode is content and key learnings that will help you maximize the value of your sale or acquisition. If you would like to learn more about the process of acquiring or selling a business, please visit our website at SunAcquisitions.com or feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. Thank you for reading this welcoming episode. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the M&A Unplugged Podcast. Until then, please remember that scaling, acquiring or selling a business takes time, preparation and the proper knowledge.