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Objective: Leading M&A investment banking and valuation firm serving lower middle-market companies

Objective: Leading M&A investment banking and valuation firm serving lower middle-market companies

Entrepreneurs invest countless time, energy, and resources into building their business from the ground up. When it comes time to sell the business, everything is on the line — emotionally and financially. Business owners with such a deep commitment to their business, deserve more than just a common service provider; they deserve a partner.

In 2006, Objective started to build an extraordinary team of professionals united by a fierce desire to maximize wins for their clients. The company works closely with its clients to define their unique vision of success and executes by providing industry-specific guidance, global relationships, and skillful negotiation.

To get a better understanding of the company we conversed with Trever F. Acers, the Founder and Managing Director

Q. What was the motivation behind establishing Objective?

Objective was created out of a desire to use our expertise to serve the underserved lower middle market with truly exceptional investment banking services, and to create a more collaborative investment banking environment that is not typical in the industry in order to achieve better results for our clients. Firstly, we saw that most investment banks that were focusing on M&A services in the lower middle market, $20M - $75M EV, were not the type of high caliber advisors that we would want for ourselves. We built a team of talented investment bankers from prestigious firms in order to fill the gap we identified for an exceptional M&A firm that is designed to maximize the outcomes for business owners whose companies do not meet the criteria threshold of the large bulge bracket investment banks. Secondly, we felt that a more collaborative approach to M&A transactions would result in greater consistency of successful outcomes for our clients by using the specialized capabilities of multiple senior team members on a deal to create a superior result versus accepting the standard industry “superman myth” that assumes that one senior team member is capable of being world-class in each of the diverse disciplines involved in the M&A process.

Q. What makes you different than other investment banks?

We believe that having deep industry niche specific expertise enables our team members to provide much more impactful M&A services with guidance that is tailored to a company’s unique circumstances. The knowledge of the intricacies of that specific sector, deep relationships with the strategic acquirers and PE investors active in the space, and intelligence about the value drivers of the industry helps our team work to achieve a significantly more successful M&A outcome. We believe taking a sector specific approach to investment banking gives us the best chance to maximize the value of every transaction we work on.

Q. Why did you name the company “Objective”?

Our primary goal throughout any transaction is to help our clients achieve their true professional and personal objectives. The clients we work with have spent countless time, energy, and resources into creating a thriving business that they are now ready to exit, and each client has a different meaning of success after sale. There is a wide range of client objectives to solve for, from professional desires to personal goals. In some instances, the business owner wants to remain involved in the business, while other times they are ready to leave the company and tackle a new challenge. In certain cases, the primary objective of the business owner is to ensure that the buyer understands and values the company culture they’ve built and agrees to maintain all of the employees. From a personal standpoint, the business owner could be focused on achieving the highest final sale price to pass along financial resources to their family, pursue a new business venture, or simply enjoy the rewards of their hard work. Our mission is to fulfill the lives of our clients by creating a transaction with the highest-fit acquirer that will maximize our client’s objectives.

Q. What is your forecast for M&A activity volume for 2022?

M&A activity should continue to be robust in the coming year, spurred on by abundant equity and debt capital earmarked for investment/acquisitions. In addition, baby boomers still own a significant percentage of the privately-held businesses in the U.S. and members of this aging cohort, ranging in age from 57 and 75, are and will continue to pursue transactions for retirement and estate planning purposes. These forces make for a fluid M&A environment, but for potential exogenous shocks to the system from runaway inflation, geopolitical friction, and other uncontrollable factors. That said, the pandemic, as bad as it was and continues to be, only slowed M&A activity for a short time in 2020. Dealmakers should expect investors to be extra diligent and perhaps more selective in an effort to choose investments that they believe to be shielded from the macro environment in which we operate.

Q. For a deal to be successful over the long term, what are the best practices for the first 100 days post-transaction?

As sell-side investment bankers, our job concludes at the closing of a transaction. While we are not actively engaged as the private equity investor and management formally come together to jointly build the business further, it is clear that enhancing success during the first 100 days requires careful planning prior to closing. This is when assessment of, and securing buy-in from, management takes shape. This pre-closing assessment and planning results in the first 100 days being productive and exciting rather than worrisome. Absent this, management is often more concerned with job instability than charging the hill. 

Q. What important parts of a deal are commonly overlooked?

In this active market, it is common for companies to be solicited directly by prospective buyers/investors. What happens is dialog begins and, before long, an offer is made. Two things are often overlooked by sellers in these situations. One, they fail to provide the prospective buyer with enough of the right information for any offer to be reliable. And later as the buyer digs deeper and as both parties invest significant time and money, the offer starts changing and almost always to the negative. Two, sellers in effect put “all their eggs in one basket” by being reactive to only those who approach them. It is unknowable whether the best deal with the right partner has been reached when only one or very few options have been explored. Planning, preparation, and considering a full range of opportunities is usually the best course of action.

Meet the legend

Trever F. Acers is responsible for leading the execution of transactions across all practice groups, and business development. Mr. Acers has 20+years of investment banking, acquisition, and strategy experience advising middle market companies on transaction execution and strategy.

Prior to founding Objective, Mr. Acers served as a Director at TGG Capital, where he led the firm’s financial and strategy consulting operations. Previously, he was Director of The Oxford Investment Group’s Western U.S. private equity activities and Managing Partner at Passage Venture Capital Partners. Earlier in his career, he managed the post-acquisition integration and continuing operations of three entities with total annual revenues of $29 million for EMC Corporation, and led business performance improvement engagements for KPMG Consulting.

Mr. Acers has a MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management with a finance concentration and a bachelor’s degree with high honors in business administration from the University of San Diego. He holds FINRA Series 79 and Series 63 licenses and is a Registered Representative of BA Securities LLC, Member FINRA SIPC.

“We are tenaciously invested in providing world-class, sector-focused advisory services aligned with our clients’ objectives.”

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