By Dara Castle, McGladrey & Pullen LLP/RSM McGladrey
The scene in the ballroom of The Fountaine Bleau in Miami Beach Florida is a sea of navy blue sport coats and brown loafers; the business casual uniform of private equity guys, bankers and businessmen.
Consistent with popular opinion that the M&A market is bouncing back, the ACG Intergrowth Conference was extremely well attended this year. Bankers seem to be back in the business of lending money. The senior and mezzanine lenders who attended in force made their rounds, ensuring it was known that they have money to lend.
It seems ironic. The day that saw the stock market take its deepest dive in history and Greece’s best way out of their debt mess become sinking to the ocean floor, the consistent message from service providers and private equity groups alike was that the M&A market is back.
During the conference I consistently heard that, as compared to a year ago, there are more quality companies for sale, multiples are up, senior lenders are beginning to loosen the purse strings, and deals are closing.
As is often the challenge at this type of event, there aren’t very many corporate sellers at the conference. However, most attendees were in agreement that deal flow will continue to grow through Q3 and Q4 and that 2010 will prove to be strong year for acquisitive corporate growth.