This week, the National Capital Chapter of ACG will be sponsoring their annual Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference, bringing together C-level executives and other senior business leaders from across the east coast to network, discuss business best practices and share lessons learned on how to improve and grow their organizations.
In anticipation of this exciting annual event, Corporate Growth, Capital Style has published a series of interviews with the speakers, attendees, and organizers of the conference. In our last interview, we sat down with Shawn Hoyer, Senior Vice President, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Middle Market Banking who shared his insights into corporate growth trends impacting the nation as well as locally within the National Capital region.
Today, we sit down with Rick Calder, President and CEO of GTT to talk a little bit about his speaking session that will be taking place on Thursday, April 6th, 2017 entitled, Lessons from the M&A Playbook. In our exclusive interview with Rick, he shared some thoughts on GTT’s approach to deals and M&A trends he sees as we look ahead to 2017. Here’s what he had to say:
Corporate Growth Capital Style (CGCS): You’ll be speaking at the Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference in early April in a session titled “Lessons from the M&A Playbook.” Can you give us a preview into your session? At a high level what do you plan on covering?
Rick Calder: With approximately thirty transactions completed in the past ten years, GTT has been an acquirer for some time now and as such has developed an “approve and approach” model to acquisitions. At this year’s Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference, we’ll be discussing some lessons we’ve learned along the way. There are really three things to remember when it comes to our “approve and approach” model to acquisitions:
- First and foremost, make sure the companies you are looking to buy align with your strategy. A lot of times people think of M&A as an opportunity to change your business strategy, which in turn, can become very risky.
- Be ready to integrate very rapidly. A lot of companies buy firms, and never integrate systems and infrastructures, or if they do, it takes several years. Our view is that integration should take no more than 3-6 months in order to create a cohesive infrastructure, which is critical.
- Pay the right price. It is very difficult to have a successful transaction if you are paying the wrong price for a firm. The price must be valuable enough for shareholders to maintain interest in the company.
In the session on Thursday, we’ll also touch on some anecdotes from some of GTT’s most recent transactions, and the M&A environment in general as we look forward to 2017.
CGCS: Can you talk about M&A trends this year? What industries or sectors do you think will be most impacted by M&A activity this year?
Rick Calder: At GTT, we are highly focused on what’s going on in the telecommunications industry. Developments within the new administration and regulatory agencies changes are driving a trend toward looser regulations, which I believe will encourage more M&A activity in 2017.
CGCS: How do you anticipate M&A activity changing in 2017? Will activity increase, decrease or stay consistent? Why?
Rick Calder: 2016 was a big year with regards to M&A activity, and a big year for GTT. in 2016, GTT completed the integration of One Source Networks (OSN), a strategic purchase that added voice services to our cloud networking portfolio. In 2016, we also acquired and fully integrated Telnes Broadband, RealLinx and Yipes. Even with so much going on in 2016, I believe activity in 2017 will increase and GTT will face an even bigger year as we look to acquire more firms at both the national and global levels.
CGCS: What predictions or expectations do you have for businesses within the National Capital region in 2017 and beyond?
Rick Calder: Although GTT is a global company, we are headquartered in the National Capital region. We expect to see the trend toward deregulation benefitting all industries with regards to M&A, including those doing business in the Washington D.C. area market.
CGCS: We’re rapidly approaching the annual Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference. In your experience, what are the biggest benefits to attendance at the MAGC? Who should try to attend the MAGC, and what will they get out of attendance?
Rick Calder: This show is great for anyone looking to share best practices and learn from those who have been heavily involved in M&A activity. I believe any show is always a great time to network and learn, and the Mid-Atlantic Growth Conference is no exception.