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I can’t tell you how many times in my investment banking careers – the first doing Wall Street deals in the 1990s and my current serving the small and middle market with sell-side and capital-raising  advisory services – I have seen companies try to get everything perfect in their own house before accessing the capital markets or pulling the trigger on a sale process, only to have the whole plan backfire when the markets correct and every potential investor runs for the exits like in a theatre on fire.  The timeless capital markets maxim is that an ideal situation for a company seeking an exit or capital is when the company is perfectly positioned and there is a tailwind in the capital markets.  But those times are relatively rare.  The more common situations are that (1) the company is not in tip-top shape but the market tailwind is strong, and (2) the company is ideally positioned but the market is blowing a headwind.  In the first situation, deals are still very doable and often at very good valuations.  In the second, they aren’t, at least at anything above a fire sale price.  Every good investment banker is constantly advising companies to always work on improving the situation they can control, but don’t let the lack of improvements keep them away from selling or financing – if that is what they need or want – when a market tailwind exists.

We have intimate knowledge of a situation right now that is a perfect example.  A fast-growing company in highly fragmented but rapidly consolidating industry – one that was fueled by exciting, disruptive technology that in turn drove the major disruption of a number of huge, well established industry players – entertained the idea of selling about 14 months ago.  Given the pace of consolidation and the high valuations accorded those companies with the best, most disruptive technology and market strategies, we advised them to immediately initiate a sale process that we estimated, based on market comparables, could produce a sales price of approximately $60MM, and possibly as high as $90MM.  We advised that market frenzies in which it was immersed are infrequent and the company should hurriedly capitalize on the favorable conditions.   The company and its investors, some of whom are name brand VCs and should have known better, decided to focus instead on polishing the company’s business model and execution, hoping that the company’s improved performance and an even frothier market would produce an even higher valuation.  Well, you know how this story goes.

Fourteen months later, the company is now finally involved in a sale process – one that was started about 6 to 9 months after our advice was rejected.  But market conditions have changed dramatically.  A full-blown industry shakeout is happening, public company comparables have plummeted, and no one wants or is able to go out on a limb and pay anywhere near what the company was worth just over a year ago.  Granted, the company is much stronger today from both earnings trend and technical risk standpoints, but it is irrelevant to the market.  The market headwind is strong and a sale above $20MM is unlikely.  In fact, sale may be impossible.  If so, the company needs cash if it is going to stay independent, but raising cash will be very difficult given market conditions.  In sum, the company’s future, indeed its existence, is at great risk as a result of its decision to wait and try for a nine-figure (or about a 10X multiple of investment) outcome when it easily had a $50MM (or about a 5X MOI) exit in its reach.  

For a PDF of the above, click here: Pigs Get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered…Always and Forever

As one who has run a number companies and engaged investment bankers to assist in raising capital, buying companies, selling companies, and strategic planning, and one who has also been an investment banker for many years of my career, I have a pretty strong opinion about what they should be delivering to their clients in exchange for the healthy fees they receive. Here it is: TCA_Library_Capital Markets_Client Bill of Rights 

Investment Banking Firm Also Arranges Mezzanine Debt Transaction Financing

San Francisco, CA, December 21, 2011 – Traversi Capital Advisors, LLC (“Company” or “TCA”),  which meets the strategic advisory and investment banking needs of small and middle-market companies with revenues between $5 million and $500 million, announced the closing of the combination of KelleyAmerit Fleet Services, Inc. and Kelley Fleet Services, LLC.  KelleyAmerit Fleet Services is now the largest provider of comprehensive, customizable fleet management solutions for large-scale public and private vehicle fleets.

David M. Traversi, Chief Executive Officer, said, “It was our pleasure to provide M&A advisory services to, and arrange mezzanine financing for, KelleyAmerit Fleet Services in this transaction.  The combined entity is now the largest single-source provider of all-inclusive fleet management services, offering unprecedented economies of scale, quality, and depth of services.  In addition, the company is a California-certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise and a federally qualified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business, which allows the company’s clients to add diversity to their supply chains.  This comprehensive solution has already earned the trust of AT&T, the largest fleet in the U.S., and a number of other major fleets, and our client looks forward to the continuing expansion of its client relationships.”   

 About KelleyAmerit Fleet Services

KelleyAmerit Fleet Services, part of the Amerit Family of Companies, is a leading provider of comprehensive fleet maintenance and management solutions for large-scale private and public sector fleets, offering customizable, single-source vendor solutions on a national level. With a proven commitment to service excellence and customer focus, KelleyAmerit Fleet Services delivers unprecedented economies of scale, bottom-line value, and streamlined process management. With headquarters in Walnut Creek, CA, the company is a California-certified Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise and a federally-qualified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business. For more information, visit www.kelleyamerit.com

 About Traversi Capital Advisors, LLC

Traversi Capital Advisors, LLC, the investment banking arm of Traversi & Company, LLC, founded in 1999, is an investment banking and executive advisory firm specializing in private placements of equity and debt, merger and acquisition advisory, restructurings, and executive advisory for companies with revenues between $5 million and $500 million in the following industries: Business Services, Financial Services, IT/Software, Manufacturing, Clean Technology, Media and Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Real Estate and Building, Lodging and Hospitality, and Sports and Recreation.  The Company maintains corporate offices in San Francisco, CA.  Its phone number is (800) 689-7941.  Its website is located at www.traversi.com.

For a PDF of this press release, click: TCA_Press Release_12_21_11

 Traversi Capital Advisors to Provide Private Placement and M&A Advisory Services

 San Francisco, CA, September 27, 2010 – Traversi & Company, LLC, a leading provider of executive advisory services to companies across the nation, today announced it has formed Traversi Capital Advisors, LLC, to meet the investment banking needs of small and middle-market companies with revenues between $5 million and $500 million, including private placements of equity and debt, mergers and acquisitions advisory, restructurings, and executive advisory. Traversi Capital Advisors is a new member of FINRA (“Financial Industry Regulatory Authority”). The Company also announced it is building its resources in anticipation of significant expansion in 2011 and beyond.

 David M. Traversi, Chief Executive Officer, has been providing investment banking and corporate advisory services to high quality companies across the U.S. for nearly 25 years. He has managed hundreds of transactions totaling over $4 billion. In the 1990s, he was a General Partner of Montgomery Securities (now Banc of America Securities), where he headed up the Real Estate and Building group and co-headed the Financial Services Technology group. Since then, he ran one of the largest providers of mezzanine capital in the U.S., started several successful operating companies, and advised scores of companies and their executives in a variety of industries.

 Mr. Traversi said, “Our Company has enjoyed tremendous success in the past decade, and we are proud to have added value to many companies in a wide variety of industries. Given most of our clients need investment banking services from time to time, adding these capabilities will be make us all that more valuable to our clients.”

 He added, “In the past several years, we have witnessed the most challenging business environment in eighty years. Times like these require the highest degree of financial acumen, creativity, and ability to execute, sometimes just to survive and always to thrive. We bring that to the table in the industries we know best – Business Services, Financial Services, IT/Software, Manufacturing, Clean Tech, Media and Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Real Estate and   Building, Lodging and Hospitality, and Sports and Recreation.  Combined with our values-based commitment to providing institutional-quality services with the highest degree of integrity, we look forward to providing companies with precisely what they need, when they need it.”

 About Traversi Capital Advisors, LLC

 Traversi Capital Advisors, LLC, the investment banking arm of Traversi & Company, LLC, founded in 1999, is an investment banking and executive advisory firm specializing in private placements of equity and debt, merger and acquisition advisory, restructurings, and executive advisory for companies with revenues between $5 million and $500 million in the following industries: Business Services, Financial Services, IT/Software, Manufacturing, Energy and Environment, Media and Entertainment, Food and Beverage, Real Estate and Building, Lodging and Hospitality, and Sports and Recreation.  The Company maintains corporate offices in San Francisco, CA.  Its phone number is (800) 689-7941.  Its website is located at www.traversi.com.

For a PDF of this press release, click: TCA_Press Release_09_27_10


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