What is the most interesting transaction you’ve worked on recently?
I recently closed a large joint venture in the health system space, representing the business founders. In addition to the typical regulatory hurdles that come with healthcare transactions, negotiating the go-forward business partnership was extremely challenging. Our client and the proposed private equity investor were economically aligned but had different points of view on day-to-day oversight and board control.
It was great to work with our client to determine the flexibility they needed to run the business (as both the officers and the controlling partner) while advising on expectations for approval rights for a significant investor. Since the transaction closed, our client and the investor have worked together closely while allowing the founders to continue to run the business without hiccups. It has been very satisfying to see the company flourish.
What is the biggest challenge your clients are currently facing?
How to view the overall marketplace for investments is a significant challenge right now. It is an incredibly hot, seller-friendly market, so prices have been skyrocketing. The lifeblood of funds is to continue to make new acquisitions, so my clients must balance that need while staying true to their investment theses, including valuation theses.
Similarly in the current housing market, you may be able to sell your home for a huge profit but then you still need to find a place to live. My clients are dealing with the same kinds of challenges, while hitting some home run exits but struggling to find deals with great value propositions because of the skyrocketing prices.
What deal from your career are you most proud of helping close?
I started leading a transaction in 2018 that finally closed in 2020, which involved the merger of two companies in the same digital technology space. During the 15 months we worked on the transaction, the structure changed repeatedly, including everything from the parties to the transaction to the debt and equity structure.
Because the final structure included a go-forward partnership, there were significant discussions regarding board control, day-to-day operations and certain enumerated major decisions. The underlying industry is also regulated, and it took a lot of work to get the lenders comfortable with the transaction and the sector. There were moments when neither the client nor I thought we would close the transaction, but we finally did cross the finish line, and the merged company continues to perform very well.
What do you enjoy most about working in private equity?
I work with incredibly smart and talented people. Our private equity clients are serial acquirers and sellers of businesses. As a result, they really understand the process, and by working on subsequent deals together, we form a true partnership. We get to learn the clients’ hot button issues, and they build trust in us to appropriately negotiate and resolve those key issues.
What is your favorite app on your phone?
TheGrint. It is a golf app that not only tracks your handicap but also can track driving accuracy, putts per round, greens in regulation and other golf statistics. You can also set up “games” and track friends playing with you or anywhere else around the world.