Published in Finance

West Michigan M&A firm changes name as focus shifts to national markets

BY Sunday, July 29, 2018 07:02pm

GRAND RAPIDS — An M&A firm catering to small businesses took on a new name as it began to pick up clients and reach out nationally.

Max Friar and Matt Baas started what’s now known as Small Business Deal Advisors LLC nearly two years ago to broker the sale of small businesses. A focus on working with franchise owners seeking to sell their businesses led to the firm landing clients outside of West Michigan.

“We’re starting to obtain clients outside of our traditional geography,” Friar said.

Friar and Baas decided to change the firm’s name from River City Partners to Small Business Deal Advisors this month to better reflect its reach beyond Michigan.

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 Max Friar
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Matt Baas

Small Business Deal Advisors presently has sale listings for small businesses in Chicago and Detroit, as well as in Ontario, Canada. Each listing is for a franchise, Friar said.

The firm will seek “with vigor” to represent franchise owners nationally who want to sell, he said. Friar and Baas aim to have 100-plus listings within a year by reaching out to the corporate leaderships of franchises. They presently are engaged in “numerous conversations,” Baas said.

Small Business Deal Advisors has closed three sales involving franchises and most recently brokered the sale of the Merry Maids franchise in Muskegon to an individual investor.

Friar also serves as the managing partner of Calder Capital LLC, a firm that works on larger transactions. He and Baas started River City Partners in 2016 to focus on deals involving so-called Main Street or “mom-and-pop” small businesses whose owners may have few places to turn to broker a sale for their companies. By automating part of the marketing and sales process, they’re able to broker deals for fees that small business owners are more able to afford.

Small Business Deal Advisors’ push to represent clients nationally comes as deals involving small businesses continue to rise. The website BizBuySell.com recorded a record 2,705 closed transactions in the second quarter, a 6.3-percent increase from the same period in 2017.

Closed transactions on BizBuySell.com through midyear totaled 5,383, up 10 percent from the first half of 2017.

BizBuySell.com attributed the growth to aging owners exiting their small businesses and to improving financial performance, which helps owners get what they want for their companies.

“The current business-for-sale market is a great reflection of today’s economic and demographic environment,” BizBuySell.com President Bob House said in a statement. “As America continues to see a swell of Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the market will likely continue to see a strong inventory of businesses for sale. Meanwhile those same businesses, many of which dug their way out of the last recession, now have the financial performance they need to earn an acceptable sale price.”

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