Chicago Program | The Boards Role in Choosing Between Private Equity and Strategic Buyers

    January 25, 2017
    5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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    University Club of Chicago
    76 East Monroe Street
    Chicago, IL 60603

    Strong companies are now, more than ever, getting to choose between Private Equity or Strategic Buyers for a liquidity event. The principals of these companies often find themselves negotiating term sheets with both options before settling on one.

    Top questions are:

    • What criteria do principals consider when choosing the Private Equity option? 
    • How do PE’s differentiate themselves and price when faced with a strategic competitor vying for the same deal?
    • What is the role played by fiduciary and advisory boards of both the company and the PE’s in these deals, whether these are formal boards or more ad-hoc?
    • What are key differences seen in terms and upside between the 2 choices
    • After the deal:
      • PE stories about wins and losses against strategic buyer
      • Were principals and advisors happy with the choice?


    In this interactive panel discussion, middle market growth company business owners and one or more private equity principals will share their stories and answer questions from the moderator, Arthur Mertes, Esq., Managing Partner of Synergy Law Group, LLC and the audience.

    You’ll leave with insights into the buyout criteria used by business owners and a greater understanding of how boards can impact these decisions.  As importantly, since there will be networking before and after the panel discussion, you’ll get a chance to share a drink with some current connections and make some new ones. 


    Kelly Cornelis
    Partner, LaSalle Capital

    Kelly joined LaSalle in 2005 and is responsible for sourcing investment opportunities, overseeing due diligence, structuring and negotiating transactions, portfolio management and investor relations. Prior to joining LaSalle, Kelly was a Vice President at SB Partners, a lower middle market private equity firm. Before joining SB Partners, she worked for William Blair & Company in the Corporate and Debt Finance departments. Kelly was a founding member of the Chicago Women in Private Equity, is a committee member of PE WIN (Private Equity Women's Investor Network) and served as a board member of MBBI (Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries). A Moline, Illinois, native, Kelly holds a BBA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

      J Schwan
    CEO, solstice

    J is the CEO and Founder of Solstice, an innovation and emerging technology firm that helps Fortune 500 companies seize new opportunities through world-changing digital solutions. J's mission is to transform the way the world does business through the application of human-centered-design and experiential technologies. J was recently inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, was a 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, was named one of Chicago's Tech Week 100 and has had recent work inducted into the Computerworld Hall of Fame. Solstice helps Fortune 500 companies take their customers' breath away, capture new market share, and ultimately discover the incredible potential they've yet to tap into. As strategists and consultants, Solstice helps organizations evolve their digital strategy to solve mission-critical problems. As designers and engineers, Solstice builds incredible hardware and software experiences that transcend a standalone product and transform an organization’s relationship with its customers. As instructors and coaches Solstice helps companies evolve into a high-speed culture of innovation. In 2015, Solstice chose to be acquired by St Ives Group (SIV.L)., allowing Solstice to be a part of a dynamic portfolio of 14 different digital and marketing services companies. St. Ives’ strategy is to invest in fundamentally solid, growing digital services companies with great culture and provide them with the capital and tools they need to grow on a global level. This acquisition has provided Solstice a platform to extend its operations internationally, while also providing a North American foundation for the expansion of the St Ives Group’s other digital capabilities.

      Alex Brown
    CEO & Founder, 10th Magnitude

    Alex Brown sees cloud as the biggest tech industry tsunami since the Internet, and he is harnessing its power to enable his clients’ businesses to thrive. Alex’s holistic approach to business and technology stems from more than two decades in the tech industry. When he approaches clients’ technology solutions, he views their businesses and markets in a holistic way to help them add the most value with the least resources. Alex currently sits on Microsoft’s Global Azure Advisory Committee and the Board of the Xchange Network, as well as several non-profit boards. Alex received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin in economics and an MBA from Yale. Alex founded 10th Magnitude in 2010, and it has grown up in the cloud. 10th Magnitude transforms business IT using Microsoft Azure, DevOps, application modernization, IoT, CI/CD and DevOps-based Azure managed services. 10th Magnitude is one of the first Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform Partners and a Chef Certified Partner. 10th Magnitude helps businesses transform with innovative, cloud-based solutions that harness the power of Microsoft Azure. The company combines elements from multiple deep cloud competencies, as well as the most efficient and innovative technology tools and platforms to help clients become more agile, more customer-focused and more operationally efficient. 10th Magnitude is headquartered in Chicago with offices around the U.S. and clients worldwide. In October 2016, 10th Magnitude chose to partner with the private equity firm Pamlico Capital. Pamlico Capital, based in Charlotte, NC, was founded in 1988 and invests in growing middle market companies in the United States. Pamlico Capital seeks growth equity and buyout investments of up to $100 million alongside proven management teams in its target industries: Business & Technology Services, Communications, and Healthcare. Since inception, the firm has invested over $2.5 billion. 10th Magnitude’s current management team maintains significant ownership of the company and continues to manage the firm with support from Pamlico to build on the success they have driven since founding 10th Magnitude in 2010.


      Arthur E. Mertes
    Esq., Partner, Synergy Law Group, L.L.C.

    Arthur E. Mertes, is the law firm’s founding Partner, and a founding member of PDA and part of its Private Equity Committee. Art counsels companies, investors, business owners, boards and executives in the areas of Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities & Finance, and Technology & Licensing Law, many times acting as an outside general counsel for his clients. A classically-trained M&A, securities private placement and IP / IT licensing deal attorney, his experience is transactions-intensive and includes work with privately-held middle market and emerging growth companies, financial institutions, family offices and investors. Art started his law career in the mid-1990s with the M&A practice of Altheimer & Gray. He also has Fortune 500 sales and distribution experience. Art has presented and lectured on topics including Mergers & Acquisitions, Venture & Angel Financing, Intellectual Property, Joint Ventures and others. He has been an active Board Member with M&A trade group MBBI, chairing several annual conferences, and he serves on other non-profit boards. Art received from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign his J.D. (magna cum laude), MBA (highest honors for academic achievement), and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

    Thank you to our host Synergy Law Group, L.L.C.!


    $0.00 Pre-Paid Founder Ticket

    $30.00 Founder Ticket

    $30.00 Member Ticket

    $0.00 Founder Guest Ticket

    $45.00 Guest Ticket