Jeff is a Senior Partner at GRAPH Strategy. Jeff has over 15 years of strategy experience, both in consulting and in industry. He has led over 150 Commercial Due Diligence and M&A strategy cases on targets ranging from the lower mid-market to large-cap public companies. READ MORE
A New Class of Buyers - The Graduation of the Wise Industrial Buyer
As any homeowner knows, the demographics of the “trades” are changing, with an older generation of master tradespeople retiring. Consumers experience this as a lack of qualified service providers. As investors, there is another aspect to this trend that is more important to track – it represents a quiet changing of the guard among industrial customers.
Credit in the time of COVID
Any statement on the level of disruption that 2020 has served up risks being an understatement. In addition to reconsidering personal lives and routines, many investors have been forced to rethink world views on risk and downside – a subject we’ve been spending immense time on over these past 6 months. While GRAPH prides itself on thinking creatively about value gen opportunities for new…
The origins of this GRAPH Papers® article are in recent client requests: with deal prices necessitating robust value creation plans, clients have been continually driving projects around EBITDA growth. As commercial specialists, we think about growing the top line as four factors:
Understanding the Market Share Equation in Diligence and in Value Gen. Exercises
I’ve been reflecting on Mark's recent article about how to better capitalize on brand equity – and particularly about those situations where you can exploit untapped brand equity. Mark promotes a winning investment formula of investing in cases where “RBE > RMS,” i.e., a company whose Relative Brand Equity is greater than its Relative Market Share. These situations are sadly not…
The Battlefront for the Keystone Position in an Ecosystem
Direct competition between ecosystems – iOS vs. Android; Twitter (or "the X"*) vs. Instagram (Meta) – is often studied and constantly the subject of various tech press and opinion pieces. There are many good reasons for this that all analogize to the same reason journalists love to cover competitive tournaments:
A Practical Commercial Diligence Approach to Assess the Risk of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Disruption
The impact of constantly expanding applications of AI technology (Note 1) has many investors nervous about traditional human-labor-based businesses – from professional and technical services to administrative clerks. The sustainability of these businesses is a deep and challenging topic to assess. However, it is made harder by the convoluted analytics that many consultants have proposed to…
Avoiding Asymmetric Competitors in Technology Investing
In a recent conversation with a leading technology-focused sponsor, I was asked an interesting question: if [insert hyperscale technology company name] is getting into everything, then how do I know what’s safe? In this case, we were talking about Amazon, but the same could have applied to Microsoft, Google, Apple, Salesforce, Adobe, and more.
Building Habits to Reduce Due Diligence Mistakes
Private Equity investing has been described as a combination of art and science, calling on a wide range of disciplines to make good judgements. In that spirit, I wanted to share a few thoughts I use to test my own judgment. They all surround a central question: What am I missing?
Value Gen: Transitioning the Core Business
In search of higher multiples, investors and their advisors are increasingly pressuring companies to transition their core business to match “themes” that earn higher valuations. For instance, businesses that would rightly be described as professional services with just a hint of a technology base – such as a staffing service with a proprietary database – become “technology enabled…
Discovering Repeatable Growth in your Diligence
Over the years, I have heard multiple M&A professionals say “we don’t underwrite hopes and dreams,” by which they mean new tactics proposed, but not tested, by Management (and their bankers). What is not discussed as often are the new tactics that have been tested…but that are destined to work just once. These tactics are what we call unrepeatable growth stimulants, UGS (or just,…