October 7th, 2013 Market Update

With no movement over the weekend on the US budget, markets are continuing to retreat and have again overnight in Asia as market there were off about 1.25%.  Europe at midday is showing declines of 0.75% and US futures are lower by about three quarters of a point.  Canadian futures are about a half a point lower.

It would seem that both side continue to dig in with the right side of the aisle playing a game of chicken with the left.  As the debt ceiling deadline gets closer, we are now getting comments from some of the biggest holders of US debt, namely China at $1.2Trillion and the Euro Union at a little under that number.  The politics of the day are no longer an issue as far as the stake holders are concerned.  The term, get it done seems to be the message that is being broadcast across globe to the Americans.

Gold is trading higher this morning by about 8.00 to 1318, oil is off a buck at 102.87 and the loonie is off a third of a cent to 96.84.  Debt markets are rallying on the budget impasse with the US and Canadian 10 year bonds are yielding 2.61% and 2.55% respectively.

Our US strategist Tony Dwyer makes some interesting points on the current situation which I have included below:

  • The government shutdown and heated debt limit debate should push any possible “tapering” into the first quarter until the Fed is able to forecast the economic impact.
  • The trend of the economic data remains positive with Consumer Confidence, Housing, Employment, and debt service ratios at/near the best levels of cycle. The steepness of the yield curve and historically narrow corporate spreads suggest years of growth ahead.
  • Bank lending standards continue to ease as manufacturing expands, suggesting business spending a long way away from turning negative.
  • Q3/13 EPS reporting season is beginning with consensus expectations of 4.5% growth vs. a year ago. Every reporting season since Q1/09 has seen final results ahead of beginning of season expectations by an average 5.5% (2.8% over past four quarters), suggesting upside to EPS over coming weeks.
  • The valuation expansion that began in November 2011 continues to track the past two non-recession valuation expansions, suggesting our 2014 SPX target of 1,955 may be overly conservative for both time and price. Our target is based on 17x our 2014 estimate of $115. We view both our multiple and EPS assumptions as very conservative. The government shutdown and debt limit debate should push out expectations of Fed “tapering,” which keeps the yield curve steep and long-end near current levels.
  • While absolute corporate credit yields are off the low, as is typical at this point in the cycle, the Investment and Speculative Grade debt-to-UST yield has moved back to the best levels of the current cycle.
  • Corporate credit new issuance continues at a record pace. That is going to fund a lot of buybacks, M&A and other pro-equity moves.
Kenneth A. Dick, BA, CIM, CFP, FCSI

Branch Manager & Portfolio Manager | Independent Wealth Management

Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management



Keys to Negotiating a Successful M&A Deal

Keys to Negotiating a Successful M&A Deal  Whether you’re buying or selling a business, a few guidelines can help you negotiate a deal more effectively and improve your chances for an advantageous outcome. While you’re probably already familiar with basic negotiation strategies, most parties to an M&A transaction can use a refresher course when it comes to what may be the biggest deal of their lives.

Know Yourself

Good negotiators start by knowing themselves. Before you enter into sale negotiations, take time to identify your goals and your tactics for achieving them. If you’re buying, what’s your “reservation price”-the most you’re willing to pay? Would you be able to walk away from the deal if the seller refuses to budge on price?

If you’re selling, similar questions apply:

  • What’s the lowest offer you’ll accept?
  • Are you in a hurry to sell?
  • What conditions will you require as part of the sale?

For example, the retention of certain employees may be a priority. Also be prepared to speak confidently about your business’ strengths and address any perceived weaknesses. Since the buyer’s negotiating leverage emphasizes your weaknesses, you need to be aware of them and ready to provide a solution that mitigates an adverse effect on the buyer’s offering price.

Know the Other Party

Knowing the other side is as important as understanding your own priorities. This knowledge allows you to map out the negotiation ahead of time. As a buyer, you should have a thorough understanding of the business-gained through extensive due diligence.

If you’re a seller, it’s essential to know that your buyer can afford to purchase the business and, if the deal will be seller-financed, how well the company will be run while the note is being paid off. It’s also helpful to learn if your buyer has looked at many other businesses. Buyers who know they have other options if your deal falls through will probably drive a harder bargain.

Gathering knowledge involves more than research; you also need to be a good listener.

If you’re talkative by nature, make an effort to speak less and listen more when meeting with the other party. The better you understand them, the greater chance you have of anticipating their moves and preparing counter offers.

Build a Relationship

There are plenty of opportunities for differences of opinion in any business transaction, and a business sale is no different. Establishing a cordial relationship can go a long way toward reducing misunderstandings or unintended offenses. Social occasions such as dinner or a golf outing can break the ice. Expressing interest in the other party’s opinion and a sense of humor also can help build a good working relationship.

Going back on your word, exaggerating points or misrepresenting facts in an attempt to strengthen your position, on the other hand, can damage goodwill. Finally, don’t try to box the other party into an untenable position-it’s a tactic that’s likely to misfire.

Flexible is Vital

Selling a business is a complicated process, of which price is only one component. When entering the negotiation stage, keep in mind other items that are subject to bargaining:

  • Down payment amount;
  • Interest rate on a seller loan;
  • Collateral;
  • Seller warranties;
  • Earn-out provisions;
  • Non-compete agreements.

Also consider the structure of the deal-whether the company’s stock is being acquired, or just its assets. In general, sellers prefer a stock sale and buyers prefer an asset transaction, which provides better cash flow after the deal.

Good negotiators take advantage of the multifaceted nature of the process by remaining flexible throughout. This may mean compromising on some elements to get the ones that are most important to you, such as those related to financing terms, the closing date, employee retention or seller warranties.

With so many moving parts to consider, flexibility can get you past obstacles. If you’re hung up on a tough issue-say, the price of a particular asset-try putting it aside temporarily, moving to less controversial points such as the price of other assets, and then circling back later.