Contacting a Private Equity Firm about a Deal
You’re an investment banker with an active engagement that warrants a look from the private equity universe, either as a new platform investment or an add-on acquisition. What’s the best way to approach the PE firms?
A very short email and potentially a follow-up phone call, if needed. If your deal is even potentially right for the PE firm, more than likely, they will respond and let you know one way or the other about their specific interest in the opportunity.
As with most people, private equity professionals are busy. They do not have the time nor interest to read a lengthy message about all the nuances of your client’s company. So keep it brief. Very brief. Here’s a template you might use as a starting point…
********** SAMPLE INTRODUCTORY EMAIL **********
I noticed your firm holds several portfolio companies in the [industry] sector. My client is a [manufacturer of plastic parts for the automotive space] and is looking to [exit/raise growth capital].
Revenue = $X million EBITDA = $Y million Location = [region]
I have attached the executive summary and our NDA if you are interested. If not, do you know other investment firms that might have an interest?
Thanks for your time,
[ABC Capital is a middle market investment bank serving the Midwest region of the U.S.]
NOTE 1 – If you include attachments, include a PDF of your executive summary and a Word doc for your NDA. This allows the recipient to more easily mark up the NDA as needed.
NOTE 2 – It’s even better of you insert a link to the Executive Summary and the NDA, rather than including attachments within the email… especially if you house the files on your own domain. This allows the PE firm to download your materials and also land on your website. You can also track when this happens.
Assuming the fit is good for the firm, you will be pleasantly surprised at the response rate you will get with this simple email. It demonstrates that you have specifically identified this firm as a likely acquirer because it fits their investment criteria. In other words, you have done your homework. If a firm does not get back to you within 48 hours, you might want to lob them a call to follow up.
THE PHONE CALL
If you call a private equity firm, you’ll most likely reach the gate keeper. A comment like the following moves you to talk to the Business Development person or the Managing Director of interest to you for this particular deal.
Hi, this is [Andy Jones], I sent [John] a potential deal that I thought might interest your firm a few days ago. I just wanted to follow-up with him to get his thoughts.
The gatekeeper will think, “OK. The call is about a deal. I’ll put this person through.” Call transfers.