Private equity deals poised for takeoff in Florida

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By Margie Manning
April 1, 2015

A private equity company that recently relocated to Tampa is among a growing number of investment firms making their home in the Sunshine State.

Florida is the headquarters for 37 private equity firms, up from 27 firms in 2010, according to research by Cassel Salpeter & Co., a Miami-based investment banking company. Three firms set up shop in the state during 2014 – Supply Chain Equity Partners in Tampa, Brinkmere Capital Partners in Jacksonville and Innovative Capital Partners in Naples, a spokesman for Cassel Salpeter said.

The expanded presence of private equity investors in the state is a positive sign, because funders often prefer to be close to the companies in which they invest. That could mean more Florida businesses will be in line for capital and expertise they need to add jobs and grow, and that Florida firms sold to private equity investors likely will remain in the state.

There were 162 private equity deals in Florida in 2014, down 2.3 percent from the 166 deals in 2013, but a drop of a couple of deals does not make a huge difference, said Jim Cassel, co-founder. He’s more focused on a three-year trend that shows private equity deal flow remains strong. He expects that trend to continue, as Florida’s relatively young companies mature.

“There’s been a sea change among private businesses. Years ago, people used to sell businesses in their 50s and then retire,” Cassel said. “Now owners are holding them longer. Ten years from now, I think the number of private equity deals will be up by 25 percent, because those business owners who are 58 now will be 68 then and ready to retire.”

Casselsalpeter Deal Report Winter 2015 by JoLynn Brown