If you need to dig into the details of a prospective deal, Steve Brady might be a handy contact to have in your Rolodex.
Brady, the national managing partner of transaction advisory services at Grant Thornton LLP, heads the team at the international accounting firm that specializes in advising mid-market buyout firms on transactions.
Based out of Chicago, Brady’s group provides a number of deal focused services, with a workload that is about equally divided between sponsors and strategic purchasers, he said.
“It’s been a wild ride the last three or four months,” Brady said, as buyout activity stepped up in the second half of 2010 after a slump of two years.
Grant Thornton’s services focus on operations of the target company. Performing what is essentially an audit, the firm’s experts can do more than analyze and verify a target’s financial statements, he said. The firm also can evaluate a company’s information technology resources, to assess data security and regulatory compliance, for instance, or to make sure that the IT infrastructure is adequate to handle planned growth.
Likewise, Grant Thornton can review a company’s human relations systems and policies, including contracts with valuable key executives. And the firm can analyze operational issues, such as workflow and business process management, at the target.
Grant Thornton covers a large number of industry specialties, including manufacturing and distribution, aerospace and defense, food and beverage, consumer products, health care, financial services, energy, construction, real estate and hospitality, he said.
The transaction advisory services group itself focuses on the key issues facing acquirers, he said, but it has the ability to draw on other resources at Grant Thornton, which has 30,000 worldwide employees.
Because more U.S. sponsors are looking internationally for deals, Grant Thornton’s global reach can help. Grant Thornton International member firms operate in more than 100 countries.
Cross-border activity has picked up considerably since its low in the second half of 2008, Brady said. “There is a lot more activity of U.S. buyers going into Europe, China and South America.”
The signoff by one of the world’s top financial consultants could be a comfort to lenders whom sponsors ask to finance their deals.
“Financing is still not robust, ” Brady said. “Financing is there for great deals, but if you get out of the greal deals category, it’s hit or miss.”
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