Category Archives: South Carolina

A Window Into the Radio Market in the Southeast: An Interview with the Owners of Community Broadcasters

In 2006, Jim Leven and Bruce Mittman came together to form the broadcast group Community Broadcasters, with the goal of being the voice for the community in small and mid-sized radio markets. The duo’s primary area of focus has been in the Northeast, but recently they’ve expanded into the Southeast with the acquisition of 12 South Carolina radio stations from Miller Communications.

Key Takeaways:

  • A booming retail sector and business-friendly government regulations make the Southeast a great environment for businesses, specifically those in the radio industry.
  • From a radio industry buyer’s perspective, the acquisition process doesn’t vary much from region to region. In addition to considering financials, there’s an increased focus on facilities and people.
  • The current landscape of the broadcast industry means there’s likely to be more M&A opportunities in the future.

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First Annual Market Expectations Survey

A look at what investors, business owners and their advisors see in the year ahead for mergers & acquisitions in the South. 

Presented here are highlights from the first annual Investment Banking South Survey, in which we ask investors, business owners and their advisors to look back to 2014 and forward to 2015 in order to give us a sense of where the merger & acquisition market in the South is today and where it is going.

Conducted in April 2015, this survey was completed by 338 investors, business owners and business advisors – such as attorneys, accountants and bankers – from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

As we note in the first paragraph, this will be an annual survey, with the results of each year building on the previous year, so that we can identify trends and patterns over time that may shed further light on the evolution of the middle market in the South.

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Capital Looking For a Home in Charleston, South Carolina: An Interview with Bobby Pearce

Bobby Pearce is an attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood and the co-managing partner of the firm’s Charleston office. His practice includes mergers and acquisitions, corporate law, private securities offerings and shareholder disputes.

Pearce has an entrepreneurial background, having started or invested in multiple companies, and since 1984, he’s spent a great deal of time working on economic development initiatives for the state of South Carolina and the Charleston area.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is a broad chasm in South Carolina between investors with money and companies seeking to raise funds. With a shortage of mid-market companies that have the longer-term, proven track record that most investors are seeking, capital often is being left sitting on the sidelines.
  • Established companies, especially with EBITDA of $2 million and above, now have many more options for capital.
  • Charleston is on a fast growth track with its commercial and industrial base of companies; the number of home-grown and recruited successful, mid-market companies is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years.
  • The snowballing growth of mid-market companies in this region will lead to many more successful exits and then much more capital being reinvested into new companies in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, creating a self-fulfilling cycle of formation, growth and corporate and investor success.
  • Tech-savvy and creative millennials are migrating to Charleston at a rapidly accelerating rate because of its livability, coastal amenities, historic charm and now high-impact work opportunities. The region is one of the top 17 fastest-growing metro areas in the U.S. and is experiencing some growing pains, having to explore infrastructure options to better accommodate the increasing influx of people and businesses.
  • Boeing’s new multi-billion dollar aircraft manufacturing and assembly plant here has spurred an explosive growth of investment in the Charleston region’s aerospace and aviation cluster. Daimler just announced its plans to grow the region’s automotive cluster by building a Sprinter plant, which will complement the already-existing defense, tourism and health care industry clusters.
  • South Carolina’s highly-integrated, 16-campus technical education college system has greatly helped to attract Boeing and other companies to the state and the region. This system offers unparalleled industry-specific training and education and thus provides a steady stream of well-trained, qualified employees, which most other states cannot provide.

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A Seller’s Market in South Carolina: An Interview with Melinda Davis Lux

Melinda Davis Lux is an M&A partner and leader of the corporate practice group for Wyche, P.A., a South Carolina law firm. Ms. Davis Lux focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and financing transactions.

Key Takeaways:

  • It is a seller’s market in South Carolina for profitable middle-market companies seeking capital. The challenge for these companies is not becoming more attractive to investors, but becoming more visible to them.
  • Many out-of-state PE firms are active in South Carolina, and this is one of the biggest drivers of M&A activity.
  • In addition, South Carolina companies are buying businesses in other regions of the U.S. and bringing the acquired company’s headquarters to South Carolina, which is also driving economic activity.
  • Manufacturing remains a staple in South Carolina’s economy and this sector is active in the M&A market, as are the distribution, healthcare, advanced materials, aerospace and technology sectors.
  • As PE firms migrate downstream towards lower middle-market companies, there is increased competition for local investors who want to buy small companies.

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SC Capital Formation Picks up Speed: An Interview with Matt Dunbar

Mr. Dunbar is Managing Director of Upstate Carolina Angel Network in Greenville, SC; Co-Founder and General Partner of the Palmetto Angel Fund; and a board member of the Angel Capital Association.

Key Takeaways

  • Capital formation in South Carolina is catching up to an already accelerating entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • There are millions of dollars on the sidelines; we need to educate accredited investors about the opportunities to invest.
  • Businesses need to be strategic about the exit process and plan for it from the beginning, as exits are the key to fueling the ecosystem through recycling of capital and know how.

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