About Paul Giannamore

Managing Director at The Potomac Company where I head the firm’s strategy consulting and investment banking practice. I edit The Potomac Pest Control Executive, a newsletter read by over 10,000 pest control professionals in over 25 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. I am a certified and accredited business appraiser, a graduate of Cornell University and I speak Italian, Spanish, Arabic and broken French. Join me on LinkedIn and Join me on Google+

Rollins to Acquire Northwest Exterminating Co for $120 Million in Cash

 

Rollins, Inc. has entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Northwest Exterminating Co., Inc. to acquire its pest control business. This will be a cash purchase, and the transaction is expected to close in early August, subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions and regulatory approval. This is Rollins’ largest acquisition since it acquired HomeTeam Pest Defense in 2008. [Read more…]

Potomac Announces 6 Transactions: Singapore, Anticimex, Canada, and Brad Harbison of PCT Magazine and No Severed Horse Head

As we slowly begin to move into pest control M&A season, we’re pleased to announce six transactions:

Brad Harbison’s (Managing Editor, PCT Magazine) Pest Control Business was Acquired by (…wait for it…) in a Competitive, Strategic Sale Process

What pest control company ensures that the home of industry glitterati and managing editor of PCT Magazine remains pest-free? [Read more…]

The Curious Case of Western Exterminator: How One Mistake Cost the Shareholders Millions on Their Sale to Rentokil and How You Can Avoid Making the Same Mistake

On the morning of November 29th, 2011, I arrived at the offices of the wealth management firm Greycourt & Co. in Pittsburgh to meet with David Lovejoy, the grandson of Ray Lovejoy, one of the founders of Western Exterminators (“Western”). At the time, David was the head of a voting block (one of three) that controlled about 40% of the equity of the business.

I was in Pittsburgh that morning on behalf of our client, Scotts LawnService (“Scotts” or “the Company”). The President of Scotts had recently engaged Potomac to advise Scotts on its formal entry into the pest control industry. [Read more…]

Do You Make These Mistakes with Your Pest Control Employment and Non-Competition Agreements?

We all remember the scene in the movie Jerry Maguire when Jerry finally has had it with his client Rod Tidwell. He corners Rod in the locker room and makes the following emotional appeal:

I am out here for you.Help Me Help You

You don’t know what it’s like to be ME out here for YOU!

It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok? Help me… help me, help you Rod. Help me, help you. HELP ME…HELP YOU!

While my job is not always a pride-swallowing siege, I often find myself in similar conversations with clients. One area that I find myself discussing more than I’d like is the topic of employment agreements. Like heart disease, they’re a silent killer. Not everyone will have issues with them, but those that do are often in for a real ass whipping. [Read more…]

Forbes Magazine on Pest Control M&A

Alterra Forbes Potomac

In the May 31, 2016 print edition of Forbes, the magazine discussed the recent acquisition of our client Alterra by Terminix as well asPotomac Company Forbes Magazine transaction multiples in the industry. Karsten Strauss, in his Forbes article said:

“After three and a half years in operation Alterra shot to $75 million in revenue–at just the right time. In recent years consolidation in the$7.8 billion U.S. pest-control industry has been pushing valuations as high as 2.5 times revenue, twice the usual multiple. That’s been fueled partly by a string of U.S. acquisitions by Rentokil, a U.K. company. Last year Royce hired Paul Giannamore, a pest-industry specialist with the Potomac Co., a boutique investment bank, to negotiate a sale to Terminix, this one for an estimated $135 million. “He couldn’t have timed the market better if he’d tried,” Giannamore says.” [Read more…]

Potomac Announces Strategic M&A Transaction for Catseye to Fund Future Growth of the Brand

Catseye USA Team

The Catseye USA team (Catseye Pest Control’s parent / media company). I am in the mix as well. They say a camera adds 10 pounds to you, apparently they had 3 or 4 cameras on me.

Well, the cat’s out of the bag…(sorry, that’s something my father would say while the rest of us would just roll our eyes… I guess I’m getting old) ServiceMaster is now the proud owner of certain assets of the Catseye family — a PCT Top 100 pest control company.

To the outside world, this looks like a simple transaction. [Read more…]

Pest Control Transaction Multiples Peak as Rentokil Initial Acquires The Steritech Group for $425 Million

Rentokil Acquires SteritechSteritech Acquired by Rentokil

As many of you have heard me say in a variety of industry speaking engagements over the last two months, valuations in the pest control market have peaked and will likely remain elevated for the next six months or so (we’ll be publishing a report on that next week and you can get it here when it comes out).

Rentokil’s acquisition of Steritech for $425 million (2.8x revenue / 28x EBITA) in cash likely represents the high water mark in terms of valuation and pricing.

John Whitley, founder of Steritech, has come full circle as he used to run Rentokil North America decades ago before founding Steritech. It’s awesome to be able to sell your business to your former employer for $425 million in cash and I salute John for building a phenomenal company — and after running it for decades — to exit at the exact right moment.

If he would have sold this business two years ago, he would have been lucky to get $250 million for it — what a huge difference two years makes. [Read more…]

Action Pest Closes & Four M&A Mistakes

We’re smack dab in the middle of pest control M&A season in the northern hemisphere and transaction multiples continue to creep up.

This morning I chatted with a client who sold his pest control business last year. He said, “Us guys who sold last year are the biggest losers of the bunch. If only I had waited another year…” [Read more…]

Pest Control Revenue Multiples and Rules of Thumb Lead to Serious Mistakes

In all my years as an M&A advisor, I have never…. Let me repeat that, I have never, ever seen an industry so littered with rules of thumb than I have since I began working in the pest control industry.  Pest control companies sell for:  “One times sales”… “dollar for dollar on revenue”… “1x recurring sales… etc.”

Everyone you talk to knows exactly how pest control companies are valued and everyone has a very simple solution to your valuation issues and concerns – a simple rule of thumb.  Buyers and sellers who rely on this nonsense generally get what they deserve, they overpay for a target or sell their pest control business for much less than they should have. [Read more…]

Have Pest Control Acquisition Multiples Hit Their Zenith? Valuations Up Almost 150% in a Decade

Picture this for second.

We just jumped into a time machine and went back in time exactly 10 years — it’s now September 15, 2003. We landed at a closing table whereupon an owner was about to sell his pest control business for exactly $10 million. We quickly grabbed the seller and all of the documents from the table (financial statements, operational information, etc.) and brought them back with us into the future, to a closing table, on September 15, 2013. All else being equal, that seller would be receiving a wire transfer for $14.6 million, instead of $10 million. [Read more…]