GW Equity Leads Mergers and Acquisitions Under $25 Million



    Despite Credit Market Woes, GW Equity Executives See Strong 2008 for
Closely Held and Family Business M&A

    Strategic Buyers and Private Equity Buyers 'Going Downstream' Seen
Sustaining Demand

    DALLAS, November 27 /CNW/ - GW Equity, an advisor to closely held and
family-owned businesses for mergers and acquisitions, announced it was the
first-ranked financial advisor for U.S. M&A transactions valued at less than
$25 million, according to a league table generated with data from Thomson
Financial for the period Jan. 1, 2007 through Oct. 31, 2007. These rankings
represent transactions in which a financial advisor was engaged and the value
was disclosed.(1)

    "Our top ranking reflects our ability to provide valuable advice to our
clients and close deals on their behalf," said Ryan Binkley president of GW
Equity. "Looking forward, despite credit-market turmoil roiling the
merger-and-acquisition waters, the outlook for closely held and family-owned
businesses appears strong."

    Binkley and Dwight Jacobs, executive vice president of GW Equity, cite
two positive consequences to credit-market turmoil for business owners
considering selling: Strategic buyers are returning to the market, and
private-equity investors are more interested today in making smaller
transactions.

    Strategic buyers flow in

    While credit concerns and Wall Street volatility have lowered valuations
of companies large and small, the valuations of smaller companies have tended
to decline less in percentage terms, primarily because they typically don't
carry as much debt as larger companies.

    "While declining values may seem like a negative for business owners, a
silver lining exists," maintains Jacobs. "Declining values have led to a
return of strategic buyers -- that is, companies looking to expand in the
closely held M&A scene. A steady flow of strategic buyers has stepped back in
because pricing has become more reasonable. We see this trend continuing in
2008."

    Private Equity going downstream

    In previous years, many private equity firms would not consider investing
in companies with values under $100 million. With less credit available to
finance larger transactions, the lower end of the middle market is looking
more attractive.

    "We've seen a marked increase in the number of private equity firms
interested in companies with values below $50 million," says Jacobs. "These
smaller firms are both easier for them to acquire and offer more upside
potential now.

    "Big deals usually require complex financing structures involving
institutional investors, but with smaller companies this isn't an issue," he
added.

    For sellers, planning is key

    "Regardless of the economic environment, the No. 1 concern for sellers
should be their financial situation," Binkley notes. "The outlook for selling
any business improves greatly if the owner has planned for the sale for some
time. It can take one to three years to address the factors involved in
attracting the right buyer at the right price."

    These factors can include analyzing the business' historical financial
performance, developing sound financial projections, substantiating and
quantifying the intangible value of the business, and making needed changes
that will maximize value.

    "Companies that have planned their transition strategy in advance are in
good shape and their values are holding up reasonably well. Given the quality
of the companies we're seeing, the backlog of inventory and the interest from
private equity, we anticipate a strong year for closely held and family
business M&A activity in 2008," Binkley concluded.

    About GW Equity

    GW Equity, a Generational Wealth and Equity company, assists closely held
and family-owned businesses in completing mergers, acquisitions,
recapitalizations and strategic growth initiatives. GW Equity has more than
300 professional advisors and affiliates nationwide and is headquartered in
Dallas, with affiliate offices in New York, Chicago and Irvine, Calif. For
more information, visit www.gwequity.com.

    

                          Financial Advisor Ranking
          Number of U.S. Deals - Disclosed Values Under $25 Million
                         Jan. 1 2007 to Oct. 31, 2007

    Financial Advisor                                                 Rank
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    GW Equity                                                          1
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jefferies & Co Inc                                                2(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sandler O'Neill Partners                                          2(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    RBC Capital Markets                                               2(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc                                        5(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    CIBC World Markets Inc                                            5(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Credit Suisse                                                     5(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Needham & Co Inc                                                  8(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peters & Co Ltd                                                   8(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    JP Morgan                                                         8(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Decision Point International                                      8(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    PricewaterhouseCoopers                                            8(a)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    (a) Denotes Tie
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    (1) Data source: Thomson Financial.

    Note: The standard Thomson Financial league table uses criteria that
include deals with disclosed values and undisclosed values. This league table
utilizes the following customized criteria: 1) disclosed values and 2) under
$25 million. GW Equity customized these criteria to generate this report
relying solely upon data compiled by Thomson Financial. This report does not
reflect Thomson Financial standard league table criteria.




For further information:

For further information: Edelman Erica Studl, 312-240-3364
Erica.Studl@Edelman.com

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