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M&A Awards: ‘Finding the right buyer’ is mission critical for Charter Capital’s Streekstra COURTESY PHOTO

M&A Awards: ‘Finding the right buyer’ is mission critical for Charter Capital’s Streekstra

BY Sunday, February 27, 2022 06:24pm

Born and raised in West Michigan, Mark Streekstra returned to Grand Rapids in 2019 to join investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners after working deals for nearly 12 years in Chicago at a multinational company. 

In less than three years back on his home turf, Streekstra has been promoted to managing director while growing the firm’s investment banking group and providing advisory services on M&A, capital raises, valuation and strategic planning. In particular, Streekstra focuses on industrial, technology and digital services.

At Charter, Streekstra has applied a buyer’s experience after a nearly 12-year stint at Accenture to help middle market companies navigate the complexities of M&A. In his two-plus years at Charter Capital, Streekstra has led six successful transactions.

“Part of my role for the last five years at Accenture was purchasing the type of companies that Charter represented,” Streekstra said. “I saw on the other side of the table the struggles, issues and concerns some of these business owners were having. What I’m able to do now is look at that experience I had … and take those head on at Charter.”

Dealmaker: Adviser

Mark Streekstra

Managing Director of Charter Capital Partners

Annual sales: Did not disclose

Total Michigan employees: 16

Company description: Grand Rapids-based investment banking firm

His formula for success: “Finding the right buyer and the right situation for our specific clients.” 

The formula worked for two deals that Streekstra advised on in 2021: the sale of DeWitt-based Dentco to Powerhouse Retail Services, a portfolio company of Lincolnshire Management, and the sale of Montague-based MasterTag to Avery, a subsidiary of Toronto-based CCL Industries Inc.

Streekstra’s work on the two deals was recognized with the MiBiz Dealmaker of the Year Awards in the adviser category.

Charter Capital worked with Dentco to close the deal in late April 2021. The family-owned provider of exterior services management that was founded 45 years ago sold to private equity-backed Powerhouse, which provides construction services, facility maintenance and roll-outs nationally. Charter Capital served as Dentco’s exclusive M&A adviser on the deal.

Charter Capital had worked with Dentco for the past decade, providing a variety of valuation advisory services and forging a “really good relationship” with owners, Streekstra said.

“We really focused our search on parties we suspected would continue to make the brand,” Streekstra said of the Dentco buyer pool, noting that the company’s employees and legacy were of top priority for the seller.

For Streekstra, a potential buyer pool is split into three categories: “Pure financial buyers,” such as private equity groups with no experience in the space; “pure strategic buyers” and large companies that do similar business in the space; and a hybrid, which may be a PE-backed firm offering similar services.

Streekstra seeks to find one of each that offers different value propositions to sellers. Charter Capital ended up with a “remarkable” 45 offers for Dentco before narrowing it down to four finalists and selecting a buyer where the “vision aligned.”

Similar considerations went into the sale of MasterTag, a fourth-generation family business founded in 1949 that’s well known in the small lakeshore town of Montague in northern Muskegon County. The company prints horticulture tags that are easily identifiable at greenhouses and nurseries.

“It was kind of a similar buyer pool creation story (as Dentco),” Streekstra said. “You could theoretically see it going to a number of different industries: general printing, horticulture, communications. There were a lot of different places where the right kind of strategic thinker could take the business and do a lot of interesting things with it.”

That led to a “broad strategic buyer pool. We didn’t like the idea of private equity buying it now and flipping it in five years. We focused more on long-term-hold buyers on that one.”

Charter Capital brought in six total groups, and “really just personality and culture was important on that one.”

MasterTag decided on Avery, which brought a “decentralized” and hands-off integration model, Streekstra said.

“So far, they’ve kept their word,” he said. “It’s a really good outcome so far.”

The Dentco and MasterTag deals came during a “really active year” for M&A, as a backlog of deals piled up after 2020 and potential sellers dealt with a variety of market and tax uncertainty. As well, private equity continues to be a major force behind deals. Strategic buyers have to be willing to pay higher multiples just to compete with those PE groups, he said.

“It’s a really strong sellers market of competing capital out there,” he said. 

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