About Paul Giannamore

Managing Director at The Potomac Company where I head the firm's strategy consulting and investment banking practice focused on the structural pest control and integrated facilities services industries. I write the Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary and The Potomac Pest Control Executive, newsletters read by thousands pest control professionals in scores of countries (you can subscribe to it below). In a nutshell, I do two things: (1) advise shareholders and senior management of pest management firms on creating value in their businesses, (2) advise sellers on the sale of their businesses. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, I'm a graduate of Cornell University, and I speak Italian, Spanish, Arabic and broken French. Join me on LinkedIn

Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary – November 5, 2018 – I’m Calling a Top, American Pest / Anticimex Acquires Triple S Services, Valuation Multiples Peak

7 November 2018
Stockholm, Sweden

Well, this is going to be a long one. 

I intended to write a short post-Pestworld piece, but I just had so much great material from Pestworld and the subsequent two weeks of meetings that this post has really taken on a life of its own.

I had meetings in Stockholm this week and now I am on the flight back to Switzerland — which is going to act as my tomato timer on writing this article. So, I apologize in advance if this one gets a little messy.

I am going to make a risky move and officially call a top in the pest control M&A market for this cycle. In doing so, I am going to attempt to provide you more fact than opinion and you can come up with your own conclusions. If I’m wrong, at some point, this will provide some great fodder for the glorified real estate agents out there.

But as usual, before we get to the juicy stuff, we’ve got some transactions to announce.  [Read more…]

Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary – October 1, 2018 – All Eyes on Rollins: The ROL Complex and Asset Prices in the Pest Control Industry

Consultants and business advisors love to use witless cliches and platitudes. Not only that, when they utter this crapola, they say it as if it’s deep insight or profound, original thought.

I know this because I, like you, am forced to attend stupid seminars and conferences in order to rack up professional continuing education credits.

PestWorld is coming up in less than a month. If you want to hear some nonsense, just show up and listen in on some of the mind-numbing BS seeping through the hallowed halls of PestWorld business educational sessions. You’re guaranteed to hear some pencil neck, standing in front of a circa 1991 powerpoint presentation, spouting such drivel as, “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” 

Or better yet, you’ll hear something like, “Run your business every day like you have to sell it tomorrow”… or is it, “run your business like you’ll never sell it?” Who knows. I guess it depends on who’s talking. Of course, after delivering that line of cheese, the speaker will pause for a second, scan the crowd with that little smirk on his face. In his mind, he’s serving up a platter of profound business wisdom akin to delivering a modern-day version of the Sermon on the Mount. [Read more…]

Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary – September 17, 2018 – M&A Season Has Begun and It’s Gonna Be a Hot One

Pest Control Meetings at Dusk in Singapore

In my last Weekly Commentary I said that I would be trying hard to write on a weekly basis… and then I disappeared for five weeks (my lame excuses to follow). I guess even I dramatically underestimated how busy it was going to be this M&A season.

Labor day (early September) officially marks the start of pest control M&A season in North America and it’s begun as the busiest one I’ve seen in my 15 years in the industry. Transaction multiples have continued to edge higher. Every time I think we hit a top…. well, we don’t.

Right out of the gate, three PCT Top 100 companies are already under LOI and this morning we closed a transaction with ServiceMaster that would have been in the 80’s on the PCT Top 100 had the company reported. That transaction will be announced next week and with it comes with some interesting learning opportunities for all of us, which I’ll discuss next week.

On Monday, we advised on the sale of Guaranty Pest Elimination to Modern Pest Services, which is Anticimex’s largest acquisition in New England since the acquisition of Modern. The target operates in four states and will help Modern accelerate growth in New England, more on that below.  [Read more…]

Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary – July 30, 2018 – Where to Stash Your Cash When You Sell

 

In this week’s commentary, we’ll be exploring:

  • Driving Value: The Importance of Route Density
  • Potomac Announces the Sale of Banks Pest Control to Rollins, Inc.
  • Where to Stash Your Cash When You Sell (or Even if you Don’t Sell)
  • Meetings in Singapore & Malaysia
  • Western Governments are Totally and Completely Broke … and They Want Your Money
  • A Highly Recommended Deal Attorney

Driving Value: The Importance of Route Density

Two of the most powerful levers you have to drive profitability in your business, and therefore value, is pricing and route density. We’ll save pricing for another day.

Where I see more than half of pest control companies not really thinking through things is on the density side. Sure, it feels good to cover an entire region. “I service from NYC to Baltimore, I’m YUUUGGGEEE!” 
[Read more…]

Orkin Acquires Banks Pest Control

Potomac is pleased to announce the sale of its client, Banks Pest Control, of Bakersfield, CA, to Rollins, Inc., the parent company of Orkin.

Banks Pest Control was founded by Orland Banks in 1969. What began as a one-man shop grew to a company of over 40 employees and one of the largest privately held pest control companies in the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary – July 16, 2018 – Outlook for the 2nd Half of 2018

In this week’s commentary, we’ll be discussing:

  • What’s in Store for the 2nd Half the of Year
  • Rentokil North America Acquires Innovative Pest Management
  • Pest Control in the Emerging Markets
  • A Little More on Knocking Doors

(Grand Kempinski Hotel, Cairo, Egypt)

So I’ve been a little slow in publishing the weekly commentary lately… it’s been very busy out there. As you’re about to see over the course of the next six months, the PCT Top 100 is about to be rearranged … again.

This week’s commentary is going to be a little short and we’ll get back to normal next week.

Although I am going to touch on my recent trip to the emerging markets of the Middle East and North Africa — namely, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — first I want to get into my thoughts on the second half of the year… [Read more…]

Pest Control M&A Weekly Commentary – June 4, 2018 – A Visit to Anticimex’s Stockholm

In this week’s commentary, we’ll be discussing:

  • Skadedjursbekämpning is Swedish for Pest Control: A Visit to Anticimex in Stockholm
  • Potomac Announces the Sale of Stout Pest to HomeTeam, Our Ninth Transaction of the Year

Skadedjursbekämpning is Swedish for Pest Control: A Visit to Anticimex in Stockholm

If Fosters is Australian for beer (yes, I know our Australian friends are having a fit).

And Fahrvergnügen is “the joy of driving…”

Then Skadedjursbekämpning is Swedish for pest control. Actually, that’s exactly what that mouthful means, it’s “pest control” in Swedish, and I got an earful of it last week. [Read more…]

Pest Control Private Equity and Search Funds, A Public Service Announcement

This is a friendly message to those in the private equity and search fund space, in hopes to save you (and us) a lot of time.

The pest control industry is a great business and I am very happy that you have interest in it.

We are contacted on a daily basis by private equity firms and search funds looking to get into the pest control industry. On very rare occasions (perhaps once per year), we include non-strategic acquirers in process. In the current environment (May 2018), it is almost impossible for financial buyers to compete with strategics. [Read more…]

Pest Control Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) – Weekly Commentary – May 21, 2018

In this week’s commentary, we’ll be discussing:

  • Market Overview // Rentokil Acquires PCT Top 100 Advanced Pest Management
  • The Long Read: Should You Knock Doors? The Economics of Door-to-Door Sales
  • What Do You Really Need in Terms of M&A Tax Advice?

[Read more…]

Should You Knock Doors? The Economics of Pest Control Door-to-Door Sales

Illustration Credit: PCT Magazine, Feb 2016

Since PCT Magazine printed its February 2016 cover story, “Who’s Knocking at Your Door?” [Download it here: PCT Whos Knocking at Your Door], I’ve received a litany of questions on door-to-door sales. This article was printed on the heels of the ServiceMaster acquisition of Alterra, which, at the time, was the largest door-to-door (“D2D”) pest control company on the globe, having gone from $0 to $75 million in the three years prior to the acquisition.

In 2017, we estimate that approximately $150 million in pest control revenue was sold on the doors in North America.

I find that most of you fall into two broad camps when it comes to door-to-door sales: [Read more…]