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Unearthing Hidden Value

 

Our reputation is built on our ability to discover value enhancers through our
Process, Positioning and Partnership.

2B+

Value of
closed transactions

500+

M&A and Advisory engagements

100+

Closed Transactions

30+

Years Delivering Results

100+

Years of M&A Experience

75+

Years of CPA Experience

Trusted M&A Advisors

Selling companies, building value and providing business valuation services to the lower middle market for over 30 years.

Our Core Beliefs

From the Managing Member, Mike Friar

As a CPA and an M&A professional, I have been helping clients achieve their goals for over 40 years. We have unearthed tremendous value for companies with revenues of a few million to hundreds of millions. However, our sweet spot is really in serving the middle-market. We have developed processes that allow us to increase the cash flow for valuation purposes by 25%-100%, identify creative tax structuring to maximize cash in your pocket and increase demand for our clients in the marketplace. Helping business owners realize their fullest potential, and discovering together what is possible, is what drives my passion for success and why I founded Ascend.

Our Focus

Our team is dedicated to our commitment of working with you from the moment you reach out, to the realization of your goals and every step in between. We excel in finding those nuances that can take your company to the next level or sell at maximum value. Our purpose is to help you achieve your goals and that is what Ascend is founded on.

From the Managing Member, Mike Friar

As a CPA and an M&A professional, I have been helping clients achieve their goals for over 40 years. We have unearthed tremendous value for companies with revenues of a few million to hundreds of millions. However, our sweet spot is really in serving the middle-market. We have developed processes that allow us to increase the cash flow for valuation purposes by 25%-100%, identify creative tax structuring to maximize cash in your pocket and increase demand for our clients in the marketplace. Helping business owners realize their fullest potential, and discovering together what is possible, is what drives my passion for success and why I founded Ascend.

Our Focus

Our team is dedicated to our commitment of working with you from the moment you reach out, to the realization of your goals and every step in between. We excel in finding those nuances that can take your company to the next level or sell at maximum value. Our purpose is to help you achieve your goals and that is what Ascend is founded on.

Process

Our Process allows us to unearth value enhancers that consistently maximize results for our clients.  We begin with a high-level analysis to preemptively identify issues and opportunities. We then take a deep dive into your past, present and future financial results, including uncovering add-backs and tax benefits not typically identified or fully realized. Our 100+ years of M&A and 75+ years of CPA combined experience allows us to accomplish this at a level second to none. Our process enables us to identify areas of weakness and potential deal killers.  Mitigating these early enhances every step of the deal and builds strength in the marketplace. Our skillset and history of success implementing this process allows us to work with CPA’s, legal counsels, and ownership/management to establish a competitive edge in your positioning.

Process

Our Process allows us to unearth value enhancers that consistently maximize results for our clients.  We begin with a high-level analysis to preemptively identify issues and opportunities. We then take a deep dive into your past, present and future financial results, including uncovering add-backs and tax benefits not typically identified or fully realized. Our 100+ years of M&A and 75+ years of CPA combined experience allows us to accomplish this at a level second to none. Our process enables us to identify areas of weakness and potential deal killers.  Mitigating these early enhances every step of the deal and builds strength in the marketplace. Our skillset and history of success implementing this process allows us to work with CPA’s, legal counsels, and ownership/management to establish a competitive edge in your positioning.

Positioning

We believe in taking time to really listen and learn about you and your business. Where you have been, where you are going and what is important to you in your journey is the foundation for a successful transaction. We want to fully understand how you have built, grown and execute every aspect of your business and how we can leverage your practices to further enhance your value. Understanding this information allows both you and Ascend to work together in identifying the “RIGHT” type of buyer. One that wants or needs your company strategically. Our ability to identify these buyers and engage them in a competitive bidding process is another factor that sets us apart from other M&A firms. Going to market prepared to the fullest extent will significantly impact your valuation, enhance your position in the marketplace and increase your overall opportunity for a successful transaction. We make sure you are positioned to achieve this.

Positioning

We believe in taking time to really listen and learn about you and your business. Where you have been, where you are going and what is important to you in your journey is the foundation for a successful transaction. We want to fully understand how you have built, grown and execute every aspect of your business and how we can leverage your practices to further enhance your value. Understanding this information allows both you and Ascend to work together in identifying the “RIGHT” type of buyer. One that wants or needs your company strategically. Our ability to identify these buyers and engage them in a competitive bidding process is another factor that sets us apart from other M&A firms. Going to market prepared to the fullest extent will significantly impact your valuation, enhance your position in the marketplace and increase your overall opportunity for a successful transaction. We make sure you are positioned to achieve this.

Partnership

We view every partnership as a relationship, supporting, engaging and available every step of the way. We understand the enormity of this decision. From our first contact, until your final cash payment is in the bank, we are there to provide the best of who we are to get you to where you want to go. If there are issues with your financials or a legal problem pops up, we will work with you day in and day out to resolve them. If opportunities present themselves, challenges emerge or questions arise, we will work with you to find the right answers. We are your Team Member, your Sherpa and your Confidant. Together, we can accomplish your goals.

Partnership

We view every partnership as a relationship, supporting, engaging and available every step of the way. We understand the enormity of this decision. From our first contact, until your final cash payment is in the bank, we are there to provide the best of who we are to get you to where you want to go. If there are issues with your financials or a legal problem pops up, we will work with you day in and day out to resolve them. If opportunities present themselves, challenges emerge or questions arise, we will work with you to find the right answers. We are your Team Member, your Sherpa and your Confidant. Together, we can accomplish your goals.

Industries Served

Industrial
Technology
Business Services
Construction
Consumer
Health
Case Studies

Read what we've been up to.

Aviation Manufacturer

“Velcon Filters, now part of Parker Hannifin, is an aviation manufacturer whose customers were both commercial and military based in Colorado Springs, CO. Ascend initially sold them to a multi-billion-dollar Texas private equity group and then to a $15 billion strategic buyer. We structured a transaction so that our client retained 25% of the new company going forward (so that they could obtain a large upfront payment immediately and a second bite of the apple upon a second sale). Because the private equity helped with human resources, strategic acquisitions, capital and connections, the company valuation increased 400% on the second deal and our clients received additional proceeds surpassing what they obtained on the first transaction. They accomplished this because not only was Ascend a savvy negotiator, but we were able to increase their financial statement EBITDA by over 50%, because of our CPA background and extremely creative thought process. Our work withstood due diligence by KPMG, a Big Four accounting firm retained by the buyer.”

Government SaaS

“Ascend sold EI, a SaaS dealing with various government agencies to one of the premier private equity firms. Even with a significant concentration issue, Ascend was able to obtain over 10 times cash flow and 6 times revenue, which was 25%+ higher than any other prospective buyer. This transaction, from the time we signed our client to completion was less than 120 days. We found the absolute “Right” buyer, employed creative negotiations and all this while maintaining a tight and focused timeline.”

Industrial Water Company

“Pumpman is an Industrial water pump sales, installation and maintenance company based in Irvine, Ca., which we sold to an east coast private equity group. The final price on which the deal closed was 20% higher than what was offered from any other prospective buyers. This buyer was backed with over $300 million to accomplish their strategic roll-up and our client was the platform. The owner was amazed that we were able to find that “Right” buyer who was willing to pay so much more than what consistently appeared to be top of the market prices. Ascend was heavily involved in the due diligence process and assisted in compiling and/or reviewing most documentation requested by the buyer. Our ability and experience in guiding our seller all the way through the process, from inception to closing, is what allowed this deal to be so successful.”

FinTech

“Ascend sold Mighty Net (parent of creditreport.com), a credit monitoring and financial services company based in Calabasas, CA to Experian for over $220 million. This was $45 million more than both Transunion and Equifax offered. Ascend identified Experian as a top prospect for operational synergy and regulatory motivations. Initially, our client did not believe they were a good fit. We conveyed our reasons for wanting to reach out and eventually they agreed. We worked with our client to create the business plan and the go forward projections, along with increasing the EBITDA from $10 million to $18 million by unearthing a significant number of unique (previously unknown) add-backs. These addbacks withstood the scrutiny of Ernst & Young, a Big Four accounting firm retained by the buyer. Included in the sales price was a $13.5 million working capital deficit assumed by Experian that Ascend negotiated but knew it could be an issue later in the process. Therefore, we worked with our client’s legal counsel to ensure it was bulletproof in the LOI if and when it was challenged, which it was and Ascends LOI language prevailed.”

Second Largest Dental Lab in U.S.

“Micro Dental, who was the second largest dental laboratory in the country, was sold to a Boston private equity firm by Ascend. Prior to beginning the sales process, Ascend worked with Micro Dental for over 5 years as both their CPA and M&A firm preparing them, including steps to increase revenue streams, modifying manufacturing processes, maximizing earnings and identifying and implementing the proper tax structure, in order to position them in the most advantageous way. Ascend identified the best prospective buyers in the market and after two months of exploring all the different opportunities, obtained eight extraordinarily strong letters of intents. Seven of those prospects submitted offers of $45 to $48 million. However early on we identified that 8th buyer who had fallen in love with our client. Because we understood at the beginning that this could be the “Right” buyer, we were able to court them, giving them the attention and focus needed to negotiate the most optimum deal for our client. The final transaction resulted in a sales price of $60 million, 25% higher than any on the other offers.”

Performance Materials Manufacturer

“CT, a performance materials company was sold by Ascend to DSM, a $17 billion European strategic, with upfront cash plus a potential earn-out for a purchase price of up to $80+ million. Our client’s recurring EBITDA was less than $2 million which made this valuation over 10 times upfront and 50+ times on the entire value amount. In order to achieve this, Ascend negotiated with some of the largest companies in the world, including Honeywell, Adidas, Nike, Milliken, 3M, and others from which we obtained several offers. We used the competition in the marketplace to negotiate the final deal. We also played a significant role in the financial due diligence process which allowed this transaction to be consummated.”

Parking Company SaaS/IT

“Ascend sold CVPS, a highly renowned SaaS-IT company in the parking sector to Amano, a $2 billion Japanese public company. Our client was one of the initial businesses in this space. Their revenues and earnings were growing YOY and their reputation was exceptional. The only real issue was that their financials and accounting systems were minimal. Ascend worked with ownership for months assisting with the resolution of all accounting issues along with other due diligence matters. Not only did Ascend negotiate an amazing deal but were able to guide our client through one of the toughest and most thorough due diligence processes we have encountered ”

Commercial/Military Engineering and Manufacturer

“BETA Fueling Systems based out of Reidsville North Caroling is an engineer and manufacturer of refueling carts, trucks, and tanks for both military and commercial sectors. They began in 1972. Ascend worked with Beta over several years to prepare it for sale. We were able to assist the management team in increasing EBITDA by over 200% during the prep phase. We ended up selling to an Australian strategic who needed to expand operations into the US. Between our advisory work and finding the perfect buyer, the ultimate valuation was over 300% higher than what was initial thought before bringing Ascend in. ”

B2C Women’s Products Case

“Ascend worked with Passion Parties, a women’s product company, for over two years to help them stabilize the company’s financial performance, while also identifying the most advantageous buyer in the marketplace, which was Pure Romance. We then worked with Passion Parties alongside Pure Romance to identify synergies both in the revenue streams and cost overlap. This allowed Pure Romance to see the immediate accretive value increase upon acquisition. This enabled our client to have a 50% larger purchase price than that from any other buyer/prospect in the marketplace, creating a win-win scenario for all parties involved. After a long courting period, Pure Romance acquired Passion Parties. ”

B2B Sports Marketing

“Ascend assisted in the sale of Premier Sports Marketing to Outdoor Systems Inc, at the time the largest out-of-home media company in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Premier Sports Marketing was an industry leader in the design and management of advertising displays within professional and collegiate sports facilities. Some of the company’s clients included the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Ohio State University, University of Nebraska, Auburn University, University of Virginia, University of Louisville, University of Oregon, University of California at Berkeley, and the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons. We not only helped our client identify the perfect strategic buyer, we also worked with them for months before and during the transaction to help prepare proforma financial statements for five years prior to the sale and projections for three years post transaction, along with navigating Premier successfully through the due diligence process. Premier Sports expanded and complimented Outdoor Systems existing product line, while enhancing their ability to penetrate key demographics via these sports and entertainment venues. This resulted in the optimal synergistic fit and a remarkably successful transaction. ”

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life”

 

-Henry David Thoreau

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