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No Geographic Barriers for Middle Market Companies in Florida: An Interview with Glenn Oken

Glenn Oken is a managing director at Mangrove Equity Partners in Tampa, FL, where he focuses on originating deal opportunities and qualifying acquisition candidates. Glenn has been a private equity investor focusing on the lower middle market for 27 years and has completed 129 transactions across 57 different niche industries.

Key takeaways:

  • For lower middle market companies in Florida, there are no longer geographic barriers. Money is willing to travel.
  • However, capital for startup companies may more commonly find seed funding through local angel groups and investors. Once they prove their business model they tend to attract interest from local investors, or from the start-up focused areas of the country.
  • Face-to-face meetings are essential in M&A deals. While numbers are important, relationships are key. In-person meetings give both sides an opportunity to assess the character of a potential partner.
  • As equity partners seek out lower middle-market companies, they look for those whose products or services are essential, non-cyclical and non-commoditized. Often, this ends up being companies with some measure of engineering content, customization, or technical capability who offer mission-critical products or services.
  • Thanks to the strength of the manufacturing and industrial services sector, the South may be one of the best regions for investors focused on those industry categories.
  • The M&A market has not yet seen a sudden mass exit by Baby Boomers. Multiple factors, not just age, are involved in an exit decision. Thus, deal volume seems to have followed a natural cycle over the years, rather than a sudden deluge of exiting Baby Boomers.

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