Conscious Leadership had a track record of consistent growth, and the company needed to support future expansion and catch up to what the market was doing around technology.
JD Merit understood the company’s goals and recommended that the company clean up its capitalization table and seek a minority recapitalization partnership.
JD Merit matched the company with a partner that was an excellent fit and secured an outlier outcome and minority recapitalization partnership deal.
Conscious Leadership is a premier provider of global leadership services, development, assessments, and certifications. The company saw a history of steady growth, operating across multiple continents, and successfully serving some of the leading domestic and global organizations. But even with much success, they needed more resources to support future growth and plans for technology expansion.
“The company was a leader in the industry, but they needed to catch up with the market around digital innovation,” says Nick DeVaney, president of JD Merit. “A minority partner was needed, and one that would not just open their checkbook but really add value to the business.”
After a referral to JD Merit and a few meetings, Conscious Leadership was certain the investment banking firm was the right choice. “We knew our business would attract and acquire a capital partner,” says Bill Adams, CEO and co-founder of Conscious Leadership. “But we wanted an investment banker that understood our business, got to know us, and would not only attract an investor but attract the right investor.”
JD Merit got to know the company and understand its goals so that they could create a strategy. “First off, we suggested they get a minority partner to support future growth,” says DeVaney. “We said, ‘Let’s clean up your capitalization table, get you more cash to support growth, and then take some things off your plate so that you can refocus your energy.’”
Once the client was on board, JD Merit already had the perfect partner in mind. “We also knew the other group well, and it was a dead fit,” says DeVaney.
The potential match, RF Investment Partners, had extensive experience in the industry, so DeVaney made the introduction, teed up the deal, and immediately jumped into the due diligence process. “We had a letter of intent and term sheet in less than two months,” says DeVaney.
Part of the value that JD Merit brought to the table was helping the client get good at telling its story to secure a better deal. “It’s absolutely critical to have the narrative, the story, down in a way that compellingly and accurately represents where you’re at and what’s possible,” says Adams. “With JD Merit’s help, we could tell you with accuracy about how we’re going to perform over the next 90 days, what it looks like in the next 12 months and what our future looks like.”
JD Merit also prepared metrics that showed the company’s income was a recurring revenue business without having recurring revenue contracts. “We broke the financials down to show the historical value of customers and that made a huge difference in the valuation,” says DeVaney.
JD Merit secured a much better result than originally anticipated. “They got a double-digit multiple from a valuation perspective,” says DeVaney. “And one of the things we did to prove that value early on is show what the next exit would look like.”
The client had multiple exit opportunities during this process, and for various reasons, JD Merit advised against those opportunities.
“It was never just about getting the transaction done. It was about getting the right transaction,” says Adams. “And quite honestly, everything that we achieved during this transaction and the work that Nick and JD Merit did was literally worth every dollar we paid in fees and more.”
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"The team at JD Merit works hard and puts in a lot of time and energy. And because of that, they're talking to people with a lot more sincerity than just putting out a deck. They went deeper and not only understood our strategy, but they understood how to pitch the right strategy to the folks on the other end of the transaction. They explained our business so a potential suitor understood how it could be integrated into their business.
JD Merit thought of a more strategic transaction and they built a better story. It's what's created more offers and what made the offers higher."
"JD Merit not only did everything they promised, they provided significant strategic guidance required to help us navigate the path of getting this transaction across the finish line. Their patience, tenacity, and professionalism when things got tough was the difference in completing this transaction for us."
“I greatly appreciated JD Merit’s expertise and guidance throughout this process and appreciated, even more, their attention to the intangible things that were important to me and my company beyond just getting a deal done.”
“I enjoyed working with JD Merit—they made an enormous contribution in such a complex but successful transaction. I would be happy for the chance to give a reference in the future for what a great job they did!”
"I wanted to work with an Investment Banking firm that was going to be able to understand our business, get to know me and my team, and then not only help us secure the investor, but help us find the right investor because they understood what we really needed. We got that and more with JD Merit. Their strategic guidance, patience, and diligence were critical in getting this transaction finished, and was the difference maker in this process.”
"We are thrilled with the outcome JD Merit delivered for our family through the sale of the business. With their guidance, we were able to unlock significant shareholder liquidity while positioning the employees of the company for continued success within a growing platform.”
"We hired JD Merit over other investment bankers because of the responsiveness to our questions, aggressive approach to winning, persistence in following-up, and the many creative ideas the team presented. JD Merit added significant value beyond just running a process."
"Unlike many investment banks I've worked with during my career, JD Merit was attentive at all stages of our transaction, which really made a difference in achieving a great outcome."
“Through the broad auction, JD Merit got us another 75% above the offers that originally came in. We still have a piece of the company and I’m still able to run it. I feel good that our key employees are going to be secure in the future. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
"The team at JD Merit have provided invaluable assistance in stabilizing and growing my company. They’ve helped with both short-term challenges and long-term planning. Their experience running multiple businesses like mine and vast network of contacts have brought value to my company and to me personally. If you want help taking your business to the next level, I highly recommend JD Merit."
"As a business/transactional attorney, I have had the opportunity to work with many investment bankers in the M&A arena. The JD Merit team is, without question, the best in the local middle-market space. They make clients feel comfortable by both listening to and provide thoughtful advice for legal counsel. Most importantly, they are able to negotiate a great deal.
Quite refreshingly, JD Merit puts the needs of the client above closing a deal – something very rare in the M&A world. I give my highest possible recommendation to the JD Merit team."
"The JD Merit team has provided my company with professionalism and valuable counsel on multiple transactions. They listened to our needs, and as business operators themselves, they understood the opportunities open to us and the challenges we faced to grow. They fought hard for us at every stage. We would absolutely look to them for our future investment banking needs."
“The JD Merit team has extensive M&A and capital-raising experience in the middle market, both as investment bankers and entrepreneurs. They are great to have on an engagement team and are committed to helping clients succeed, whether buying or selling a business or sourcing capital to scale a growing business.”
"The JD Merit team was invaluable in several transactions involving a niche consumer products company where I served as CEO. The JD Merit team is talented, well-disciplined, and rolls up their sleeves to work alongside management to get the work done. With their controlled approach, management can continue to focus on the business for the benefit of all involved. I certainly would recommend JD Merit & Company and will choose to work with them again.”