Mastering the Art of M&A to Make It Your Superpower: Insights from 20+ Years


From Humble Beginnings to M&A Powerhouse 

In the early years of REAG, the founders embraced what some might say was a “more balls than brains” mentality, tirelessly selling their capabilities to gain traction. 

One partner leveraged his previous employer’s brand equity, admitting, “If you say ‘I’m a former XYZ,’ people listen – it implies competence.” Once meetings were secured, building trust became paramount for these young upstarts entrusted with clients’ life works.

For REAG co-founders, Scott Mashuda and Todd Torquato, their contrasting personalities complemented perfectly – one the “gas pedal,” the other the “brake pedal” – adeptly navigating M&A’s often lengthy revenue cycles. 

As investment bankers specializing in the lower middle market, the primary task is getting deals done , which entails securing inventory. After acquiring the inventory, the focus shifts to selling the business. This process outlines the extended revenue cycle characteristic of investment banking in this sector.

The team expanded alongside their success, with the talented Jaclyn Ring becoming a key member over a decade ago.

Their journey to success mirrored many so-called overnight success stories – it was built over time through dedication and effort. By actively engaging in learning, teaching, leadership, and sponsorship roles, they enhanced their ability to support both buy-side and sell-side opportunities, underpinning an award-winning track record. 

What Does REAG Do as an Investment Bank?

As M&A brokers and investment bankers specializing in the lower middle market, REAG is a results-driven firm dedicated to helping clients achieve their strategic and financial goals through mergers and acquisitions.

We collaborate with business owners and executive management teams to realize their vision, whether it involves transitioning ownership, planning for retirement, or expanding through strategic acquisitions.

The Difference Between REAG as an Investment Bank and a Business Broker

Unlike business brokers, investment bankers offer a deeper level of expertise in areas such as capital markets, financial modeling, and intricate deal structuring. This allows them to handle more complex and higher-value transactions that require sophisticated strategies and a nuanced understanding of both domestic and international markets. 

As a result, investment bankers are able to secure better terms and potentially higher prices for their clients, making them invaluable partners for lower middle market companies aiming to optimize their exit strategies.

The Evolving M&A Landscape

Over the past two decades, REAG has witnessed increasing sophistication among business owners regarding exit planning, spurred by the wealth of information available in the digital age. The lower middle market has seen a significant influx of Gen X and Millennial entrepreneurs, joining the growing number of Baby Boomers preparing for retirement. Advances in technology have streamlined M&A processes through tools such as virtual data rooms and digital documentation.

As Baby Boomers near retirement, many are considering transitioning the ownership of their businesses, leading to a surge in opportunities. Concurrently, younger generations of entrepreneurs are keen to leverage these opportunities, infusing the market with fresh energy and innovative approaches. This shift is creating a dynamic marketplace where seasoned business owners and ambitious new entrepreneurs can engage in mutually beneficial transactions. To support business owners, REAG offers a comprehensive suite of services, including:

Collaborative Partnerships Driving Success

REAG is renowned for its collaborative spirit, actively engaging Certified Exit Planning Advisors (CEPAs) within the Exit Planning Institute’s (EPI) community by offering resources such as the complimentary CEPA Portal. Their goal is to strengthen the community through the dissemination of practical and actionable insights.

We encourage business owners and their advisors to consult with M&A practitioners early in their exit planning process. As many are aware, the exit planning and Value Acceleration Methodology typically unfolds in three stages: Discover, Prepare, and Decide. We advise not to wait until the ‘Decide’ phase to seek expert guidance. Leverage REAG’s two decades of experience from the outset, even if you are years away from selling. This proactive approach can significantly enhance the strategic outcomes of your business transition.

A Bullish 2024 Outlook 

Looking ahead, REAG foresees a robust 2024 M&A market, particularly for premium lower middle market companies, despite potential headwinds. “It remains a seller’s market with incredible demand from investors’ who need to put their dry powder to work,” says Scott Mashuda.

For owners eyeing an imminent exit, their advice is clear: Take the first step. You can always justify delaying, but once you commit, hesitation costs you. If exiting is your goal, begin that journey now.

At REAG, we serve as your collaborative advisory partner to navigate transactions, optimize valuations, and ensure an efficient, successful process.

If you are ready for the next chapter of your journey, reach out, and let’s begin together.