A ‘Wish List’ to Spur Growth of Small Businesses

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the nation, however, they face innumerable roadblocks that stifle growth, and in turn, stifle the overall economy.

By: James Cassel

To view original article click here.

MIAMI, Florida, December 18, 2011 – Turn on cable news, and it’s not long before a political candidate or a pundit tells us how small business growth is the key to a healthier economy. Well, they’re right. That’s because more Americans work for small businesses than large companies, and small businesses create 65 percent of new jobs in the United States.

But what is a small business? The term itself means a lot of different things to different people. When we hear the term “small business,” most of us probably think of a single-location boutique, a mom-and-pop restaurant or an auto repair shop. However, check with the Small Business Administration (SBA), and you’ll find that companies in certain industries have hundreds of employees, earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue, and are still considered small businesses.

It’s this amorphous definition that causes so much confusion. Let’s keep it simple. For the purpose of this column, we can consider small businesses any company with less than a few hundred employees.

These firms are truly the lifeblood of our nation, however they face innumerable roadblocks that stifle growth, and in turn, stifle the overall economy. In order for small businesses to thrive in a more sustainable way, they require streamlined regulations at the local, state and federal levels, as well as a little TLC. More specifically, I’ve put together the beginnings of a “wish list” on behalf of America’s small businesses that would position them for real, achievable growth, because I believe this is who will solve America’s employment problem.

• Continue health insurance reform, but ensure small businesses can more easily benefit from the intended advantages.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes a number of elements designed to encourage small businesses to offer health insurance to their employees. However, notwithstanding the availability of tax credits for these businesses, only one-third of companies with less than 50 employees even considered whether they were eligible for these new tax credits, according to a 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

But why? The new rules haven’t been adequately explained to these business owners. Or, despite the intent, the rules exclude many of the companies the Act intended to help.

In addition, health insurance pricing continues to favor larger companies where risk can be spread across more people. We need to pool risk so small businesses can obtain affordable health insurance with acceptable benefits. Raising premiums and lowering benefits won’t work. Neither businesses nor their employees can afford it. We need to find a way to control the increasing costs.

• Revise rules and regulations to level the playing field.

Government regulation — while sometimes quite necessary — is disproportionately burdensome to small businesses, especially when it comes to licensing fees, permitting fees and the like. Both small and large businesses require the same time and resources to address these regulations, but the opportunity costs to small businesses are much greater when we consider their size. Therefore, regulations need to be streamlined and the process expedited.

Moreover, the very threat of additional regulation creates uncertainty for small businesses. Will a permit be too costly to obtain? How many inspections will be required? The unknown nature of impending regulation diminishes small businesses’ willingness to invest, to hire, and to grow.

• Provide hiring incentives for small businesses.

Given the fact that small businesses are so plentiful, incentives that specifically target small business hiring would serve to kick start overall job growth. Large companies have benefited from stimulus and incentives, but they have failed to put their profits into job creation here in the U.S. Sure, they’re hiring, but the job creation is outside our borders.

Many states dangle large amounts of money and tax breaks to have businesses move from one state to another. This tactic helps one area while hurting another, and states should better use these incentives to encourage existing businesses to hire and grow.

Look at economic policy enacted to repair the job market – the vast majority is really only relevant to big businesses. Perhaps that’s why large corporations are sitting on more cash now than at any time in recent history.

Help for small businesses doesn’t have to come in the form of stimulus, although meaningful tax credits would help. Why not more strenuously encourage lending from our recently fortified banking community? In this regard, banking regulators should stop penalizing community banks for lending to small businesses. Instead, why not expand the scope of the SBA to educate and advise businesses about their capital options? Easier access to credit for small businesses would bolster confidence and provide the necessary capital for these companies to expand their workforce.

• Recognize the growing impact of international economic turmoil.

Whether you’re selling hotel rooms or hair care, circumstances on the international stage may have an effect on your business. But, we are frequently far more focused on the weather. The fact is, our world is growing increasingly flat, and the uncertainties in Europe, Asia, and Latin America have immediate and physiological impact on all businesses, regardless of size.

• What small business owners can do.

Nice wish list, but how can we make these wishes a reality? Start with these simple tips:

Use HR consulting firms. Any additional expense can seem like a waste, but HR consulting firms not only carry the burden of your human resources tasks, but reduce your liability, streamline staffing, and most importantly, capitalize on regulations designed to help small businesses. If your company doesn’t qualify for these incentives, professional employment organizations can dramatically reduce the cost of providing benefits through outsourcing models.

Budget for regulatory compliance, and be prepared for regulatory delays.For the moment, bureaucracies are not going away — so accept the reality that compliance with various local, state, and federal regulations will require time and money — and plan for it.

Take advantage of the availability of capital. Money is available for all sorts of companies. As a small business owner, you may need to tap into the resources of investment banking firms to raise significant amounts of money. This may start by establishing a solid relationship with your current bank — and if you’re not getting the results you want, look for another bank. You can also seek the assistance of the Small Business Association.

Diversify your customer base. Whether your business is local or international, the global markets will affect your bottom line. Therefore, take advantage of new markets, seek variety among your customers and explore new revenue streams.

For this country to begin fixing the unemployment problem, we need to encourage, nurture, and support small business growth. We barely know the rules as they stand today, and the disagreements over future legislation and tax policy only amplifies this uncertainty. Lack of clarity and lack of compromise lead to lack of confidence — it’s time Washington got its act together and worked together to provide real solutions.

I’m looking at this issue from an investment banking perspective. What changes do you recommend to stimulate small business?

James Cassel is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co. The investment banker’s specialties include mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; corporate finance; and public offerings. 

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/12/18/v-fullstory/2548374/a-wish-list-to-spur-growth-of.html#storylink=cpy

Investment Banking Firm Cassel Salpeter & Co. Names Joseph “Joey” Smith Director

Joseph “Joey” Smith joins Cassel Salpeter & Co. as Director. He brings more than 20 years of middle-market investment banking experience and will foster new client relationships and integrate advisory services into existing relationships.

MIAMI — November 30, 2011  Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, a rapidly growing independent investment banking firm, recently hired Joseph “Joey” Smith to its professional staff in the role of Director. He brings more than 20 years of middle-market investment banking experience to the firm.

“Mr. Smith’s career spans over two decades and has given him hands-on experience working in the capital markets and the securities industry on an international scale,” said James Cassel, the company’s chairman and co-founder. “We’re looking forward to Joey fostering new client relationships, integrating our advisory services into existing relationships, and continuing to work with institutional quality, lower middle-market private and public companies on capital raising and sell-side engagements.”

Mr. Smith most recently held the position of senior vice president at Catalyst Financial and was previously a principal and head of investment banking for Capital City Partners and a principal and managing director for First Equity Corporation of Florida. Over the course of his investment banking career, he has worked with middle-market and small cap companies along with institutional investors, family offices, advisors, intermediaries, and high net worth investors.

About Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC

Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC is a middle market investment bank focused on providing independent and objective advice to middle market and emerging growth companies.   Our investment banking and advisory services include broad capabilities for both private and public companies: Mergers and Acquisitions; Restructurings, including 363 Sales and Plans of Reorganization; Equity and Debt Capital Raises; Fairness and Solvency Opinions; Valuations; and Financial and Strategic Advisory.

Our senior partners are personally involved at every stage of all assignments.  Our success is based on unbiased advice; understanding each client’s business objectives; providing value added services; and our extensive relationships and expertise.  We have forged relationships and executed transactions nationally and internationally.

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Cassel Salpeter is led by James Cassel and Scott Salpeter. Member FINRA and SIPC.

Buyout Firms Expand and Prosper in Florida’s Environment

By: James Cassel

To view original article click here.

MIAMI, Florida, November 20, 2011 – Leveraged buyout firms, private equity firms — call them what you want — these companies have dug their heels into the South Florida sand. Certainly, 2011 has seen volatile market swings, and the general state of the economy pretty much stinks. Nevertheless, South Florida has attracted a growing roster of private equity firms that have identified our turf as fertile ground for their operations, and that means more options for Florida-based companies contemplating a sale or recapitalization.

Buyout firms raise capital from deep-pocketed investors — or leverage their capital — using equity along with borrowings to purchase or invest in companies that have the potential for growth. In addition to these companies with growth potential, buyout firms are looking for undervalued or underperforming companies, businesses with strategic value to other companies in a firm’s portfolio, or companies in financial distress or bankruptcy. Many of these companies are capital constrained.

After a firm purchases a company, it may rely on existing management or regime change (new management) to grow the company and ultimately sell it for a profit, typically after a period of five to seven years. The profits get distributed back to the investors, and a portion, along with a management fee, goes to the private equity firm itself.

South Florida’s oldest private equity firm, Trivest Partners, has operated here since the 1980s and has handled high-profile transactions such as Aerobed, Banana Boat and Polk Audio. It also has the good company of other legacy firms based in South Florida including HIG Capital, Brockway Moran, Sun Capital, ComVest, Palm Beach Capital, Pine Tree Equity Partners and Boyne Capital Partners. Newcomers to South Florida include Empire and Huntsman Gay, to name a couple.

What brings private equity firms to South Florida? As simple as it may sound, many come here for the same reason as tourists and snowbirds — the lifestyle! Come January, it’s a heck of lot nicer to do a deal on the beach than on Wall Street. The strategic value of our location means private equity firms can attract sun-starved talent from the northeast as well as investors who enjoy a yearly meeting in the subtropics. Since most travel regularly, a good hub airport is a must.

There are solid financial reasons as well — the tax benefits. Florida’s low corporate income tax and absence of state individual income tax are notable draws. Plus, Florida has many entrepreneurs, a magnet for private equity firms operating in the state.

Perhaps most significant is that Florida — and South Florida in particular — has grown up. South Florida has a growing finance community. As the fourth-largest state in the nation, and with a more sophisticated international business community, private equity firms have come to recognize that South Florida is a viable alternative to New York, Boston and California.

Whether your business has revenue of a few million dollars or over a hundred million dollars, it’s good for you to have an army of eligible buyers right outside your door. Business owners no longer have to travel to New York to find someone high-profile to sell to or to recapitalize.

This applies to distressed companies as well. Sun Capital and HIG have been two of the most active buyers of distressed and healthy companies in North America and Europe over the last few years.

There are other firms with established specialties, such as MBF Healthcare Partners, which focuses on investments in healthcare, and Trivest, which specializes in family-owned businesses. Firms have honed their expertise to suit particular segments of the Florida business landscape.

Entrepreneurs can benefit from this enhanced investment activity. Venture capital is available to high-risk and early-stage companies.

During the first two quarters of 2011, businesses in Florida had more funding opportunities. We saw increased investments in small and mid-size businesses, increased inquiries from business owners seeking to acquire firms, and, best of all, increased buzz.

We anticipate merger and acquisition activity in 2012 to expand to a wider range of companies, with many deals involving private equity firms. Specifically, we will see more acquisitions in industries like technology, healthcare, distribution and manufacturing.

The growth of buyout firms in Florida spills over into lots of other industries, including sectors like my own, investment banking. We also see commercial lenders, the legal community, and the accounting industry benefiting from the increased deal activity these private equity firms generate.

If you’re a business owner, watch what’s happening here — what businesses are being bought and sold, who’s joining forces, and what new firms form. Private equity firms in Florida made national headlines and drove a lot of attention our way this year, and they are poised to continue to do so. Also, keep in mind middle-market firms, distressed companies, and family-owned businesses are the specialties of several Florida firms.

And if you are in the market to sell right now and want to get the best deal, try the direct approach by calling a firm directly or getting an introduction from a law firm. When trying to sell or raise capital, don’t forget that competition is good — it generally gets you better terms or a better price.

James Cassel, an investment banker and co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co., specializes in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; corporate finance; and public offerings. His column runs monthly.

Bluegreen Corporation Signs Definitive Merger Agreement with BFC Financial Corporation

BOCA RATON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE: BXG) (“Bluegreen” or “the Company”)today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with BFC Financial Corporation (“BFC”) (Pink Sheets: BFCF.PK) which provides for a merger that will, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement, result in Bluegreen becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of BFC.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by a special committee comprised of Bluegreen’s independent directors as well as the boards of directors of both companies, holders of Bluegreen’s Common Stock (other than BFC) will be entitled to receive eight shares of BFC’s Class A Common Stock for each share of Bluegreen’s Common Stock they hold at the effective time of the merger. BFC currently owns approximately 52% of Bluegreen’s Common Stock.

The consummation of the merger is subject to a number of closing conditions, including the approval of both Bluegreen’s and BFC’s shareholders and the listing of BFC’s Class A Common Stock on a national securities exchange at the effective time of the merger. The merger agreement provides for all six of the directors of Bluegreen who are not also directors of BFC to be appointed to BFC’s board of directors at the effective time of the merger. The merger agreement also contains other representations, warranties and covenants on the part of BFC and Bluegreen which are believed to be customary for transactions of this type. The companies currently expect to consummate the merger in the first half of 2012.

BFC is a diversified holding company whose principal holdings include a controlling interest in BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: BBX), a controlling interest in Bluegreen, and a non-controlling interest in Benihana, Inc. (NASDAQ: BNHN). BFC and their affiliates have been Bluegreen shareholders since 2002 and Alan B. Levan and John E. Abdo, who have held the positions of Chairman and Vice Chairman of BFC, have held the positions of Chairman and Vice Chairman of Bluegreen since 2002.

John M. Maloney Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Bluegreen, commented, “We have had a close and beneficial relationship with BFC since April 2002, and the merger will not have any material impact on Bluegreen’s day-to-day operations. Bluegreen will continue to provide the same high levels of service, attention, and quality that have helped drive our growth and evolution to date. Above all else, we are dedicated to providing vacation experiences, marketing and resort management services that rank among the best in our industry.”

Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC acted as financial advisor to the special committee of Bluegreen’s board of directors.

Additional Information and Where to Find it:

BFC will file with the SEC a registration statement on Form S-4, in which a joint proxy statement/prospectus concerning the merger will be included. The joint proxy statement/prospectus will be sent to the shareholders of BFC and Bluegreen, who are advised to read the joint proxy statement/prospectus when it is finalized and distributed because it will contain important information. Shareholders of BFC and Bluegreen will be able to obtain a copy of the joint proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant documents filed with the SEC free-of-charge from the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov or by directing a request by mail to BFC Corporate Secretary, 2100 West Cypress Creek Road, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309, or by calling 954-940-4900.

BFC, Bluegreen and certain of their directors and executive officers may, under the rules of the SEC, be deemed to be “participants” in the solicitation of proxies from shareholders in connection with the merger. Information concerning the interests of the persons who may be considered “participants” in the solicitation as well as additional information concerning BFC’s and Bluegreen’s directors and executive officers will be set forth in the joint proxy statement/prospectus relating to the merger. Information concerning BFC’s and Bluegreen’s directors and executive officers is also set forth in their respective filings with the SEC.

This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of such securities, in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to appropriate registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.


Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, Bluegreen Corporation (NYSE:BXG) is a leading timeshare sales, marketing and resort management company. Bluegreen Resorts manages, markets and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with more than 160,000 owners, over 57 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,000 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based service resort management, financial services, and sales and marketing on behalf of third parties. For more information, visitwww.bluegreencorp.com.

Matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements are based on various assumptions and involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, those relating to the merger, the potential benefits of the merger and the risk that the merger may not be consummated in accordance with the contemplated terms, including in the contemplated timeframe, or at all. These risks and uncertainties are not exclusive, and shareholders are referred to the other risks and uncertainties detailed in reports filed by Bluegreen with the SEC.

Read more:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20111114005822/en/Bluegreen-Corporation-Signs-Definitive-Merger-Agreement-BFC

Is it the Right Time to Sell Your Business? James Cassel Gives Factors to Consider

Now may be as good a time as any to sell a company. But know what buyers want — and why you’re selling.

By: James Cassel

To view original article click here.

MIAMI, Florida, October 16, 2011 – With talk of a double-dip recession, continued high unemployment, and a schizophrenic stock market, business owners contemplating selling their businesses might think they would be better off closing the doors and throwing away the key. However, now is as good a time as any to take a serious look at selling your business. By waiting, you may not get a better price. Or worse, you may not be able to sell at all.

Right now, money is out there. Companies have squeezed more productivity from workers and refrained from hiring (unfortunately keeping job numbers dismal). In the process, they have accumulated lots of cash. As a result, many companies are sitting on capital, and they’re ready to invest in acquiring other businesses.

Debt is available for quality opportunities, too. Despite what the U.S. Congress and the White House have been saying, debt is not always a bad thing; and the Federal Reserve agrees. The Fed’s policies have dramatically increased the availability of money for banks to lend, at least through the middle of 2013. In addition, banks have spent the past two years cleaning up their balance sheets, and now they’re poised and ready to lend. That means buyers can obtain the financing to acquire your company.

What’s Hot

How can business owners know if their company will sell? Buyers are attracted to profitability, opportunities for growth, a diverse customer base, and the potential for a competitive advantage among others. In terms of specific industries, at the moment buyers are paying lots of attention to health care, manufacturing, social media and technology companies. However, any business that has successfully weathered the recession can be an attractive target to buyers. These companies have proven their stability.

Know your circumstances

Before a business hangs a “for sale” sign, though, owners should take a good look at their circumstances to clearly understand their reason for selling. That will help you and your advisors determine the best deal structure, identify the right buyer, and command the highest price.

Sometimes life circumstances beyond the business owner’s control force a sale. Illness and death are two common examples. Likewise, divorce can lead to a sale. (Just ask the owner of the L.A. Dodgers.) Often in these situations, selling is not “optional,” so you may have to make certain concessions on price and deal structure.

When divestiture is less urgent, there are more options to consider. For instance, when business owners want to cash out of their company — either to gain liquidity or to minimize risk — they may opt for a sale or partial sale.

Keep in mind, a partial sale brings outsiders into the business, and that comes with risk as well as strings. Owners may want a buyer with in-depth knowledge of their business, someone who can carry on the legacy of the company and grow the brand. Also, recognize that the new owners may change the status quo, especially as it relates to employees and customers.

Negotiating Price

Buyouts in the middle market typically don’t produce enough proceeds for the seller to replace the income generated by the business, unless it happens to be something like Facebook. If the business produces $1 million a year in cash flow, an owner would need to receive a net sale price of approximately $20 million to replace this annual profit (assuming your financial advisors can earn annual investment income of 5 percent). However, a business generating $1 million is rarely sold for such a large sum. Companies in today’s economic climate usually sell for four to eight times earnings.

If the seller of a business expects a higher price than the buyer is willing to pay, then an earn-out can provide additional funds if (and only if) the business achieves a certain level of earnings or revenues. The valuation gap between the seller and buyer can also be addressed if the seller retains a small stake in the business to generate future income — and maintain some control.

Owners can also negotiate an employment agreement where they stay around to lend expertise and experience to the new owners. Just be prepared to adjust to a different management style and no longer sit in the boss’ chair.

What Next?

If you decide a sale is right for you, you will need to have several documents readily available in preparation of the sale. Sellers will be asked to provide interested buyers with accurate financial reports in a timely manner — such as profit-and-loss statements as well as customer contracts, inventories information and lease agreements. Don’t even begin marketing your business until you can produce the necessary documentation.

Many owners have no idea what their business is worth, and finding the right price is essential. Unlike the sale of a home, the seller typically doesn’t have a true asking price, so hire financial advisors with specific experience in mergers and acquisitions. The right team can help market a company confidentially and structure a favorable deal that helps you achieve your goals.

Today is the debut of Minding Your Business/Inside the Deal from J ames Cassel, who is co-founder and chairman of Cassel Salpeter & Co. A veteran investment banker, Cassel’s specialties include mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; corporate finance; and public offerings. The column will appear once a month.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/16/v-fullstory/2455322/is-it-the-right-time-to-sell-your.html#ixzz1c740npOv

Investment Banker Calls on Corporate CFOs to Seize Growth Opportunities

James Cassel of Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, Moderates CFO Alliance Panel About the CFOs Role as Chief Investor

MIAMI — August 4, 2011  James Cassel, co-founder and Chairman of Miami-based investment banking firm Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, moderated a panel comprised of financial experts who discussed how CFOs can direct and accelerate their companies’ growth. Hosted by The CFO Alliance and the University of Miami School of Business Administration, the presentation titled, “The CFO as Chief Investor: It’s Time to Make the ‘Right’ Investments and Do Deals,” incorporated a presentation, open discussion among panelists, and an audience question-and-answer session.

“Even the most successful companies are apprehensive about investing in expansion during this uncertain period, but the time is ripe for growth” says Cassel. “Many CFOs feel they can’t grow their companies through organic growth alone. Our panel members provided valuable insight about how, when, and where to invest capital.”

After the discussion, Cassel and the other panelists hosted a networking session.

“We finally see that capital is available in the market, and we know that investors want it to be deployed,” says Cassel. “The problem as it pertains to valuation is that many owners and CFOs only hear about the bigger deals – such as LinkedIn and Facebook – so they have unrealistic expectations. I made a point of discussing the value of smaller deals.”

“The CFO as Chief Investor” took place late June, at the Coral Gables Country Club.

About Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC
Cassel Salpeter & Co. is an investment banking firm with professionals who have more than forty years of financial experience. They deliver smart, straight-forward advisory services to middle market companies across America. With a thorough understanding of their clients’ industries and a keen sense of the economy, the Cassel Salpeter team provides independent, timely advice so clients can capitalize on a rapidly changing global environment. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Cassel Salpeter is led by James Cassel and Scott Salpeter. Member FINRA and SIPC.

About The CFO Alliance
Established in September of 2007 to promote connectivity through a professional community of leading financial executives, The CFO Alliance brings together the experience, knowledge, and collective wisdom of peers, subject matter experts, and academic authorities to enable senior financial leaders and decision makers to be more effective and act with greater confidence throughout their career. By fostering relationships among those with common objectives, interests, opportunities, and challenges, financial leaders can make long term investments in their companies and their careers through sharing expertise and gaining confidence in their roles. Based on the success of the initial Philadelphia-based chapter, The CFO Alliance has established a national expansion, with a current presence in nine U.S markets: New York, Boston, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Connecticut, Charlotte, Phoenix, South Florida, and Philadelphia. For more information, please visit www.theCFOalliance.org or AchieveNext.com and follow The CFO Alliance Community on twitter @theCFOAlliance.

Miami-Based Investment Banking Firm Defies the Odds of a Down Economy

Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC Celebrates Successful First Year

MIAMI — August 4, 2011  Starting a business under any circumstance is challenging, especially in the current economy. But investment banking firmCassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, overcame the obstacles of a sluggish economic recovery and rounded out its first year having completed more than 30 mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, fairness and solvency opinions, and valuations.

“When we opened our investment banking firm, we didn’t know what to expect from a market that was supposedly in recovery,” explains Chairman James Cassel. “Here we are a year later, still waiting for the market to come back, and we’re on a remarkable trajectory.”

Cassel Salpeter leveraged the economic environment by recognizing that even a gloomy market holds opportunities. For example, when Gulfstream Airlines filed for bankruptcy, Cassel Salpeter assisted in a $30 million sale to Victory Park Capital.

President Scott Salpeter sees the potential for continued success, even as unemployment and uncertainty remains present. He points to the growing number of middle market companies whose owners are looking to sell (whether a majority or a minority interest), raise capital, or grow through acquisitions. “We’re hearing from owners who are interested in understanding the current market opportunities,” Salpeter explains. “There is a significant amount of capital to invest in high-quality assets – that is good news for our clients, and good news for us.”

About Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC
Cassel Salpeter & Co. is an investment banking firm with professionals who have more than forty years of financial experience. They deliver smart, straight-forward advisory services to middle market companies across America. With a thorough understanding of their clients’ industries and a keen sense of the economy, the Cassel Salpeter team provides independent, timely advice so clients can capitalize on a rapidly changing global environment. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Cassel Salpeter is led by James Cassel and Scott Salpeter. Member FINRA and SIPC.

Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, Names Laura Salpeter Analyst

MIAMI — August 4, 2011  Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC, a Miami-based investment banking firm, added analyst Laura Salpeter to its professional staff. Ms. Salpeter will draw on her legal background to contribute to the firm’s M&A, restructuring, and financial advisory services.

“Like me, Laura’s experience in the legal sector taught her how to analyze even the most complex transactions,” said James Cassel, the company’s Chairman and co-founder. “Her skills will help us address our growing volume of transactional work with thoroughness and efficiency.”

Laura is a member of both the Florida Bar and the District of Columbia Bar. Prior to joining Cassel Salpeter, she worked at Conrad & Scherer and Ephraim Roy Hess, P.A., and clerked at the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Broward County for the Honorable Judge Paul Backman.

“With legal experience, financial services connections, and her finger on the pulse of the economic market, Laura is a triple threat,” says Cassel. “She’s a ‘next gen’ investment banker.”

About Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC
Cassel Salpeter & Co. is an investment banking firm with professionals who have more than forty years of financial experience. They deliver smart, straight-forward advisory services to middle market companies across America. With a thorough understanding of their clients’ industries and a keen sense of the economy, the Cassel Salpeter team provides independent, timely advice so clients can capitalize on a rapidly changing global environment. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Cassel Salpeter is led by James Cassel and Scott Salpeter. Member FINRA and SIPC.

Florida M&A Deals Likely Flat in 2011

By Ina Paiva Cordle Icordle@MiamiHerald.com

To view original article click here.

Merger-and-acquisition activity in Florida may be flat this year, despite earlier expectations that it would exceed last year’s total.

A boost in Florida’s merger-and-acquisition market may not come this year, while financial institutions are eager to fund deals, local experts said Wednesday.

Across the state, mergers and acquisitions have slowed since the beginning of this year, and although the volume and dollar value of deals previouslywas expected to exceed last year’s totals, the outlook now is that it will likely be flat, said James Cassel, chairman and co-founder of the Miami-based investment banking firm Cassel Salpeter & Co.

Among the reasons: Business valuations are down, and owners are cautiously holding onto their companies unless they have a compelling need to sell, such as a divorce, losing a major customer or pressure from a bank.

“People are still nervous,’’ Cassel told attendees Wednesday morning during a CFO Alliance presentation at the Coral Gables Country Club. “People are feeling better than two or three years ago, but they are still concerned.’’

Yet, at least one company, Miami-based Trivest Partners, has multiple deals in the works. Those rank in the middle market — companies with minimum annual revenue of $20 million and minimum cash flow of $5 million.

Trivest, which currently owns 10 companies, typically holds its investments for an average of 5.5 years. It recently sold one business and is in varying stages of selling three others and buying two more, said Chip Vandenberg, a Trivest partner.

Trivest focuses on founder- and family-owned businesses that are in need of a transition.

“It’s pretty busy for us right now,’’ Vandenberg said after his presentation at the meeting of the CFO Alliance, a nationwide group of finance leaders that started its South Florida chapter two years ago.

Meanwhile, banks are aggressively looking to fund merger-and-acquisition activity, said J. Eric Hartman, Fort Lauderdale-based senior vice president and market executive of corporate banking at PNC.

“The pendulum has swung back,’’ Hartman said.

“Banks are eager to deploy capital to finance M and A activity,’’ he said. “However, for those firms with EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] under $15 million, finding traditional bank financing can still be challenging.’’

The meeting was held in partnership with the University of Miami School of Business Administration. Among those in attendance were corporate chief financial officers, bankers, executives of private equity firms and academicians.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/01/2294373/florida-ma-deals-likely-flat-in.html#ixzz1S6vHMPJs

ETC Out of Court Restructuring Jan 2011