Those putting together business transactions last year in North Texas closed a record number of deals. Dubbed the M&A Super Cycle, market conditions created a sellers’ paradise: high valuations, low interest rates, abundant private equity and venture capital, and baby boomers looking to exit.
These same trends helped the global deal market reach more than $5.8 trillion in 2021—a 64 percent year-over-year increase. “I tell people, ‘If you’ve been thinking you want to get a deal done in the next two or three years, you better think about doing it right now, because it isn’t going to get better than this,’” says Dan Vermeire, managing director and principal at Corporate Finance Associates.
Vermeire nearly doubled the number of deals he closed in 2021 compared to the prior year, noting that transactions involving cybersecurity, managed service providers, and recurring revenue models were particularly prevalent. His biggest challenge was a good one to have—selectivity.
“The toughest thing was to pick and choose which deals to work on,” he says, adding that he passed along several opportunities to peers out of sheer capacity limits. The bandwidth crunch wasn’t limited to dealmakers. “The lawyers and accounting firms that handle closings—it got to the point where you had to get on their list, and you had to wait in line in order to get your deal closed,” Vermeire says.
David Gail, a partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges, remembers being on the phone with dealmakers from one opportunity, on hold with dealmakers from a second transaction, and telling those representing a third deal that he’d address their concerns momentarily, on the day before Thanksgiving. Another time, he hustled to help close a $1.5 billion transaction in only several days, wrangling teams virtually and in-person across various cities.
If you’ve been thinking you want to get a deal done in the next two or three years, you better think about doing it right now.Dan Vermeire, Corporate Finance Associates
“It was sometimes like playing 3D chess, making sure all the pieces on all the different boards were in the right place,” he says. Gail closed 27 deals last year, a feat he credits in part to private equity and restructuring booms. “Those two things usually don’t occur at the same time,” he says. His year included Callaway’s $2.6 billion acquisition of Topgolf Entertainment.
Gail and Vermeire expect M&A activity to continue booming through 2022, though Gail says the beginning of the year saw some effects of burnout from the brisk level of business last year. “The pipeline for April and beyond is starting to look more like 2021,” he says. Vermeire adds that even recent interest rate increases and a potential half-turn adjustment in valuations won’t likely slow things down soon. “Everything’s just going to keep on truckin’ at least through ’22,” he says. “Now, by the end of ’23 what will it look like? Always hard to say.”
2022 D CEO M&A Awards Winners and Finalists
For a ninth year, D CEO magazine recognized the region’s top transactions and the people who put the deals together with its M&A Awards program, presented in partnership with the Association for Corporate Growth.
Serving as judges this year were Jordan Bethea of BakerHostetler, Amanda Foyt of CrossFirst Bank, Rob Kibby of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, Larry King of Private Directors Association DFW and nDivision, Katie Oswald at Crossplane Capital, Brad Porter of Moss Adams, and Lindsey Wendler of Dresner Partners.
Honorees were celebrated at an exclusive May 5 event at Dallas’ Tower Club, where winners were revealed:
Dealmakers of the Year
Winner: David Gail, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Finalists: Mary Jane Broussard, At Home Group, Bobby Majumder, Frost Brown Todd, Thomas Yang, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Winner: Olivia Bock, CrossFirst Bank
Finalists: Jeff Matthews, East West Bank, Chase Wildes, Sunflower Bank
Due Diligence Professional
Winner: Ryan Irby, DHG
Finalists: Brad Porter, Moss Adams, Drew Solomon, Embark
Winner: Dan Vermiere, Corporate Finance Associates Dallas
Finalists: Jared Behnke, Transitus Capital, Oliver Cone, Bulkley Capital, Joseph Durnford, JD Merit & Co.
PE Equity Professional
Winner: Greg Balliro, Crossplane Capital
Finalists: Brendan Achariyakosol, Evolute Capital, Rob Langley, Align Capital Partners, Barrett Lidji, Northaven Capital Partners
Deals of the Year
$1 Billion +
Winner: 7-Eleven Acquires 3,900 Speedway Stores
Finalists: Pioneer Natural Resources Acquires DoublePoint Energy, Prüvit Ventures and Sun Basket Merge, Tyler Technologies Acquires NIC
Winner: General Datatech Sells to HIG Capital
Finalists: XIFIN’s Acquisition of OmniSYS, Vizient’s Acquisition of Intalere
Winner: NCK Exits The Ogle School in Sale to RLJ Equity Partners
Finalists: CarGurus’ Acquisition of Majority Stake in CarOffer, Memorial MRI & Diagnostic Acquires Prime Diagnostic Imaging, Sonic Connectors Sells Majority Stake to Argenta Partners, Valesco Exits TH Marine Supplies
Under $50 Million
Winner: Coltala Holdings Group Forms MyFitnessStore.com
Finalists: Evolute Capital Acquires Majority Stake in eGroup Holding Co., LongWater Opportunities Acquires XCaliber Container, Northaven Capital Partners invests in Sunbelt Waterproofing and Restoration