Private Equity: How to Analyze a CIM Effectively?

johndoe89's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,732

All, I work at a middle-market fund (started about 8 months ago here) and wanted to learn from someone qualified (associate level or above) who works on the buyside what the best and most efficient way to analyze a CIM is (Confidential Information Memorandum, for those who're not aware is a 40-50+ pg book that basically markets a company to potential strategic/financial buyers and is usually put together by an investment bank working on behalf of the client, the company.

It contains critical confidential information on the company's history, business model, operations, financials, management etc. i.e. anything an investor would need to learn about the company to be able to make an informed decision and submit a non-binding initial letter of intent if they're interested in buying the company.

We typically receive a flood of CIMs every week - some we can reject outright because we don't invest in a particular sector, but a lot of others legitimately sound like great businesses at first glimpse. I am normally intimidated by the amount of CIMs I need to read and analyze (and I'm sure everyone who works at a junior level at a fund has this problem) and haven't yet perfected a structure or a systematic slice-and-dice method that can make me more efficient at analyzing CIMs. My VPs have been helpful as resources on best practices, but we don't seem to have a formal structure because everyone obviously has personal preferences. SO MY QUESTION IS: WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS?

Mod Note (Andy): Throwback Thursday, this was originally posted 3/3/2012, user @Sil pointed out this week that the comments in this thread are very high quality / helpful so I thought it would be good to add this to the frontpage.

How to Analyze a CIM in PE?

When working in private equity as an analyst one your main jobs will be looking through proposals for buyouts that you firm will evaluate as potential buyout candidates. These proposals are called CIMs.

What is a CIM?

A CIM is a confidential information memorandum is a document that investment banks prepare with companies in a sell-side M&A process. Sometimes this is also known as an offering memorandum or an information memorandum. The packet of information gives buyers information about the business, management and financials, and the market. The CIM can be more than 50+ pages long.

What to Look for in a CIM - Financials

Our users shared financial thresholds and metrics that they look at. Typically, analysts look at EBITDA figures and cash on cash returns.

firebi234:

My personal requirements are:

  • Low capex - usually less than 5% of revenues
  • Strong EBITDA margins - ~20%
  • Revenue growth - CAGR of 10%+
  • Sanity check of market size vs projected revenue growth

That should generally return strong IRRs. But really it should be based on your fund's investment criteria.

Ricqles:

The most important thing is looking at financials obviously after screening for industry you would do. Look at their assumptions on EBITDA or cash and do a quick back of the envelope analysis on how type of returns you can get. You wouldn't want to waste time on stuff you can even get 2x cash on.

What Makes a Good Take Out Target - Qualitative?

CompBanker - Private Equity Vice President:

I've been screening CIMs for a number of years now and the truth is that everyone has their own personal style. I prefer to review them at night or over the weekend when I can have a period of uninterrupted reading. I usually start by doing a 30 second flip through the financials to get a high level impression on size, margins, growth, and most importantly, ability to generate free cash flow. Then I go to the beginning of the book and just start reading.

I find the most important thing to identify is competitive differentiation - essentially what will enable this business to continue growing and win market share from competitors. I try to determine the value add that the company's products or services provide to the customer base and any barriers to entry - this helps me understand the company's margins both historically and through the projected period. I need to figure out the buying criteria, aka whether the company is competing on price, service quality, or some other metric. Finally, industry plays a very important role, primarily because it dictates the base rate that I can expect the company to grow at over the next five years.

There are obviously other things that come into play (recurring revenue, customer concentration, cyclicality, etc), but usually these things can all be determined based on the business model anyways.

User @red08 shared a good sniff test look through of a CIM:

red08:

I do a quick flip through the book:

  1. Company and the industry
  2. Financial metrics (rev and EBITDA growth, margins, capex, cash flow gen); quick comps for valuation range
  3. How they cycled
  4. Value-prop (reason to exist)
  5. Mgmt team

Then I go back to page 1 and start.

User @johndoe89 shared a detail review based on multiple years of PE experience:

johndoe89 - Hedge Fund Vice President:
  1. Financial Fit:I recommend starting from the financials in the back. If your fund is anything like mine, you will be pretty restricted in terms of the size of the cos. you can invest in. For eg, in our case, if the co. as below $5M in EBITDA, we would only consider it if the story was really really compelling (an industry or management team we knew well or had invested in before). This helps screen out a lot of companies that you're gonna be on the fence about if you start reading CIMs the traditional way from the front.
  2. Transaction Structure: Look at the transaction structure section next and jot down what type of deal is on the table. Generally its some generic crap like they'll consider all kinds of proposals but in some cases they'll explicitly say they're only looking for a majority buyout or only looking to bring on a minority investor. That can help save time if your fund doesn't do it.
  3. FCF Generation Ability: Always do a back of the envelope to compute the company's FCF profile (EBITDA-Capex). Shitty companies won't give you this calc but it'll only take 2 mins for you to realize from the EBITDA and capex numbers that the company doesn't generate much free cash, in which case you won't be able to put on too much leverage. You should generally have EBITDA and Capex given. If Capex isn't available, ask the bankers.
  4. Industry Tailwinds (or Headwinds): Spend some time reading through the industry and make sure the industry has strong tailwinds/ is growing at a high single digit rate. A lot of times you could be looking at a growing asset but in a shitty industry. In that case you really have to spend time figuring out the secret sauce because a shitty industry can bring down even the best company along with it. Generally stay away from those.
  5. Organic vs Acquisition Driven Growth: On that note, really scrutinize organic vs acquisition driven growth. A lot of companies (especially those previously owned by PE) make several acquisitions over the course of the fund's investment. Try to figure out what is the true organic growth rate for the platform company and attempt to segregate performance of the add-ons.
  6. Call w/ Bankers: Generally we always did a call with the bankers after going through the CIM and jotting down our questions. This quickly helped kill opportunities due to transaction dynamics that weren't discussed in the CIM. Not sure how it works at your fund but try to get these calls in asap after reading the CIM. It ll help you not waste time.

Finally, a classic bad associate habit is killing a deal because you just don't have the time and interest to work on it. I understand that. Just try and commit to developing a good legitimate set of reasons for killing one. Otherwise senior folks start to think you're trying to brush off work. Be careful about this one as it happened to one of my fellow associates.

Distressed Asset Confidential Information Memorandum

Distressed PE investing can require a different skill set and our users shared their thoughts.

NewGuy - Hedge Fund Portfolio Manager:

Slightly different perspective, but as a distressed guy, I usually see these after the company's debt starts being offered at attractive levels. I usually model the company's capital structure and LTM financials quickly, then if interesting break out a few prior year financials for like for like comparisons.

After this, I tend to quickly flick through the CIM when I realise I don't actually know what the company does yet. It's very easy for me to read as I can just skip past all the growth assumptions and focus on the company's key value drivers and market positioning. I rarely spend more than 1 hour looking at a CIM.

Cries - Asset Management Vice President:

Same here, but I'm also on the distressed credit side.

  1. sketch out the cap stack with all relevant terms, pricing, and cumulative interest exp
  2. sketch out last 3 yrs high level financials, then form expectations about the near & medium term (if im familiar with the industry or biz model)
  3. calculate cumulative leverage, FCF multiples, and interest coverage at each level of cap stack
  4. read the business description & and MD&A provided
  5. go back to the beginning and read through from pg1

Read More About CIMs on WSO

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Comments (45)

Mar 2, 2012

i see nobody is commenting so i will drop a line. i used to be in M&A so i did a bunch of those. I dont work with CIM specifically but i look at a lot prospectus so it's more or less the same

the most important thing is looking at financials obviously after screening for industry you would do. Look at their assumptions on EBITDA or cash and do a quick back of the envelope analysis on how type of returns you can get. You wouldn't want to waste time on stuff you can even get 2x cash on

then i personally like to look at the management bios first, to see if they are credible guys

then looking more into the company to get a sense of their competition and market share of the industry

if all these pass i will take a deeper look into their detailed descriptions.

returns should be the single most important filter

Jan 7, 2015

You can make good returns on almost anything as long as the price is low enough! If it is being shopped around with a CIM, 9 times out of 10 everybody is going to have similar return requirements, so the price is just going to end up reflecting that. The question is: why will I pay a bit more than the next guy and still make my returns?

Jan 7, 2015

You can make good returns on almost anything as long as the price is low enough! If it is being shopped around with a CIM, 9 times out of 10 everybody is going to have similar return requirements, so the price is just going to end up reflecting that. The question is: why will I pay a bit more than the next guy and still make my returns?

Mar 2, 2012

My personal requirements are:

Low capex - usually less than 5% of revenues
Strong EBITDA margins - ~20%
Revenue growth - CAGR of 10%+
Sanity check of market size vs projected revenue growth

That should generally return strong IRRs. But really it should be based on your fund's investment criteria.

Mar 2, 2012

Thanks a lot guys! Ricqles my approach is actually a lot similar to yours. I hope we can get a discussion going here on people's different perspectives, think we all stand to learn a lot. The problem is it's really hard to find experienced PE professionals lurking around here as much as "sophomore non-targets", so its difficult to solicit top-quality advice with a few exceptions of course.

I understand that's the market Patrick's going after anyway, but I would think there'd be more people like Compbanker etc. giving back after picking up so much from here over the years. Most people write posts like "Thanks WSO! I made it" and keep hustling blah blah, but they go completely AWOL right after and get entrenched in their jobs (which is understandable, but taking time out to give a little bit of advice to the junior folk never hurts).

    • 1
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Best Response
Mar 3, 2012

I've been screening CIMs for a number of years now and the truth is that everyone has their own personal style. I prefer to review them at night or over the weekend when I can have a period of uninterrupted reading. I usually start by doing a 30 second flip through the financials to get a high level impression on size, margins, growth, and most importantly, ability to generate free cash flow. Then I go to the beginning of the book and just start reading.

Unlike the posters above, I find the most important thing to identify is competitive differentiation -- essentially what will enable this business to continue growing and win market share from competitors. I try to determine the value add that the company's products or services provide to the customer base and any barriers to entry - this helps me understand the company's margins both historically and through the projected period. I need to figure out the buying criteria, aka whether the company is competing on price, service quality, or some other metric. Finally, industry plays a very important role, primarily because it dictates the base rate that I can expect the company to grow at over the next five years.

Once I figure out the above, I'm usually in a pretty decent position to make a call on whether I like the deal. There are obviously other things that come into play (recurring revenue, customer concentration, cyclicality, etc), but usually these things can all be determined based on the business model anyways.

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May 18, 2017

I agree. Competitive differentiation is important. As historical data might help, but historical is historical, never guarantee a future.

Jul 3, 2017

Thanks for this post - how will you go about reviewing the CIM in during 2-3 hour case study? (Incl model and investment case write up)

Mar 3, 2012

All I ask myself is.. Why does this business exist? If I like the answer and the financials make sense we're good to go.

Mar 3, 2012

If you're getting a CIM from an investment banker it's probably a crappy opportunity anyways so don't stress.

    • 3
Nov 5, 2016

The market has become so efficient now though, that if you're at a mid-to-large sized fund that looks companies typically above 15m of EBITDA, it's extremely hard to find non-banked deals. I even get add-on opps these days with just a couple of million in EBITDA.

Mar 2, 2012

Comp - thanks a ton for the advice, that's very helpful, +1 for you. I'm trying to figure out why WSO won't show the credits I bought to be able to award you, will distribute once i get that worked out. All the othes- really appreciate it too.

Mar 3, 2012
johndoe89:

Comp - thanks a ton for the advice, that's very helpful, +1 for you. I'm trying to figure out why WSO won't show the credits I bought to be able to award you, will distribute once i get that worked out. All the othes- really appreciate it too.

Check the email you plugged in when you bought them. WSO will email you and ask you for which username you'd like them applied to.

    • 3
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Mar 2, 2012

Done Comp, I've thrown a couple others out that I owe you, thanks again for all the help.

    • 2
Mar 6, 2012

Slightly different perspective, but as a distressed guy, I usually see these after the company's debt starts being offered at attractive levels. I usually model the company's capital structure and LTM financials quickly, then if interesting break out a few prior year financials for like for like comparisons.

After this, I tend to quickly flick through the CIM when I realise I don't actually know what the company does yet. It's very easy for me to read as I can just skip past all the growth assumptions and focus on the company's key value drivers and market positioning. I rarely spend more than 1 hour looking at a CIM.

    • 3
Jan 7, 2015
NewGuy:

Slightly different perspective, but as a distressed guy, I usually see these after the company's debt starts being offered at attractive levels. I usually model the company's capital structure and LTM financials quickly, then if interesting break out a few prior year financials for like for like comparisons.

After this, I tend to quickly flick through the CIM when I realise I don't actually know what the company does yet. It's very easy for me to read as I can just skip past all the growth assumptions and focus on the company's key value drivers and market positioning. I rarely spend more than 1 hour looking at a CIM.

Same here, but I'm also on the distressed credit side.

1. sketch out the cap stack with all relevant terms, pricing, and cumulative interest exp
2. sketch out last 3 yrs high level financials, then form expectations about the near & medium term (if im familiar with the industry or biz model)
3. calculate cumulative leverage, FCF multiples, and interest coverage at each level of cap stack
4. read the business description & and MD&A provided
5. go back to the beginning and read through from pg1

Jan 7, 2015

JD,

I work at a MM investment bank in on the M&A team. I write a number of CIMs, and I can attest to the fact that focusing on the financials is the best place to start.

Typically a lot of the other information in the CIM focuses on positioning the company. As a result, these sections can be difficult to filter through. In the end, our job is to sell the company; therefore, we will apply the lipstick as needed to get buyers interested in our client. This is especially true in the the investment considerations and capabilities/products sections.

I agree with Ricqles. The company needs to pass the sniff test from a financials, returns, and investment criteria standpoint before you try to weed through the more qualitative sections of the CIM.

Ricqles would you mind elaborating on the back of the envelope returns calculations that you perform to screen companies?

    • 1
Jan 7, 2015

JD,

I work at a MM investment bank in on the M&A team. I write a number of CIMs, and I can attest to the fact that focusing on the financials is the best place to start.

Typically a lot of the other information in the CIM focuses on positioning the company. As a result, these sections can be difficult to filter through. In the end, our job is to sell the company; therefore, we will apply the lipstick as needed to get buyers interested in our client. This is especially true in the the investment considerations and capabilities/products sections.

I agree with Ricqles. The company needs to pass the sniff test from a financials, returns, and investment criteria standpoint before you try to weed through the more qualitative sections of the CIM.

Ricqles would you mind elaborating on the back of the envelope returns calculations that you perform to screen companies?

Mar 2, 2012

Thanks guys on your advice and reviving this thread

Jan 7, 2015

Usually just start with the introduction to get a general feel for what the company does. Then turn to the financials and start writing down questions as I go. Check to make sure it's at least 10% cash flow margins, decent revenue and/or EBITDA growth, make sure capex requirements aren't ridiculous, check the historical working capital requirements. If anything strange catches my eye I'll write down a question for the bank so by the time I'm done I have a short list of questions to ask. Look for environmental/legal issues. Check the bios of the people in charge. Look at the employees and see if there have been any labor issues or high turnover. Check for customer/supplier concentrations that might be a risk to price into the purchase price. Write down if the building is owned by the company/seller. Start trying to get an idea of what future capex requirements could be based on the limited info provided.

Overall it takes me like an hour on reviewing a CIM to prepare for an IOI. We usually don't spend a lot of time on CIM's unless we get past IOI stage, at which point we'll look much closer.

    • 3
Jan 7, 2015

First thing you do when you get a CIM from a bank is discount management projects by at least 10% lol

Jan 18, 2015

I do a quick flip through the book:

1. Company and the industry
2. Financial metrics (rev and EBITDA growth, margins, capex, cash flow gen); quick comps for valuation range
3. How they cycled
4. Value-prop (reason to exist)
5. Mgmt team

Then I go back to page 1 and start.

Jan 18, 2015

deleted extra post

Mar 2, 2012

Someone reached out to me to ask if I had any tips on this topic after having spent a few years in PE. The below is my chicken scratch. Hope you all find them helpful.

  1. Financial Fit: I recommend starting from the financials in the back. If your fund is anything like mine, you will be pretty restricted in terms of the size of the cos. you can invest in. For eg, in our case, if the co. as below $5M in EBITDA, we would only consider it if the story was really really compelling (an industry or management team we knew well or had invested in before). This helps screen out a lot of companies that you're gonna be on the fence about if you start reading CIMs the traditional way from the front.
  2. Transaction Structure: Look at the transaction structure section next and jot down what type of deal is on the table. Generally its some generic crap like they'll consider all kinds of proposals but in some cases they'll explicitly say they're only looking for a majority buyout or only looking to bring on a minority investor. That can help save time if your fund doesn't do it.
  3. FCF Generation Ability: Always do a back of the envelope to compute the company's FCF profile (EBITDA-Capex). Shitty companies won't give you this calc but it'll only take 2 mins for you to realize from the EBITDA and capex numbers that the company doesn't generate much free cash, in which case you won't be able to put on too much leverage. You should generally have EBITDA and Capex given. If Capex isn't available, ask the bankers.
  4. Industry Tailwinds (or Headwinds): Spend some time reading through the industry and make sure the industry has strong tailwinds/ is growing at a high single digit rate. A lot of times you could be looking at a growing asset but in a shitty industry. In that case you really have to spend time figuring out the secret sauce because a shitty industry can bring down even the best company along with it. Generally stay away from those.
  5. Organic vs Acquisition Driven Growth: On that note, really scrutinize organic vs acquisition driven growth. A lot of companies (especially those previously owned by PE) make several acquisitions over the course of the fund's investment. Try to figure out what is the true organic growth rate for the platform company and attempt to segregate performance of the add-ons.
  6. Call w/ Bankers: Generally we always did a call with the bankers after going through the CIM and jotting down our questions. This quickly helped kill opportunities due to transaction dynamics that weren't discussed in the CIM. Not sure how it works at your fund but try to get these calls in asap after reading the CIM. It ll help you not waste time.

Finally, a classic bad associate habit is killing a deal because you just don't have the time and interest to work on it. I understand that. Just try and commit to developing a good legitimate set of reasons for killing one. Otherwise senior folks start to think you're trying to brush off work. Be careful about this one as it happened to one of my fellow associates.

Good luck all!

    • 7
Oct 6, 2016

Just to add to excellent responses by Compbanker and others...

In addition to knowing if the financials make sense and what the competitive differentiation / value-add is, I like to ask "Is the company making the right amount of money for the value they offer?" and "What can we, the new owners, do differently to change their trajectory?"

There's a couple of ways to triangulate on the first question (analyze customer ROI, compare pricing for similar services in other areas, etc.) but this helps you both avoid businesses that are overearning and identify potential catalysts for a price reset up.

As a quick case study, looking at cable businesses I generally think they are making too little money vs. the value of what they offer. These are monopoly providers with limited competition outside of cities and a product (high speed data) which is increasingly valuable to customers, and yet they bump their prices only 3-4% a year. You can argue that they monetize that increasing utility through high video bills, etc... but at the end of the day if all of your internet providers doubled your monthly price, you'd probably still pay it.

On the other hand, we were looking at online ad networks a while back... these businesses basically aggregated bad banner ad inventory on low-traffic websites to create enough traffic to sell to advertisers. No real value-add there, but worst was they were routinely charging 100% markups to do this aggregation. You saw a number of them go public on the industry tailwinds and high cash flows from this markup, but they've all crashed as dollars and margins flow away from them. Classic example of businesses over-earning even in a growing industry.

On the second question, "What can we, the new owners, do differently to change their trajectory?", it really depends on your firm's style and background--the most obvious answer is if you can merge the target with an existing portfolio company and unlock business logic and financial synergies, but many other examples abound. For example, the Vista Equity guys are famous for completely changing the operations of businesses they acquire, most of the time creating huge financial savings that other buyers can't get. That'll help you differentiate your bid and take from everyone else, who are just bidding the CIM.

    • 2
Oct 11, 2016

Thanks for the replies on this

Oct 11, 2016

@AndyLouis, could we get this included in one of the Hall of Fame threads? This thread is immensely helpful.

    • 3
Oct 11, 2016

yeah good idea ill get it in there

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Oct 11, 2016

I interned at a middle market bank so I was on the other side (I was putting together CIMs)...I'd say focus on:
1. EBITDA growth: does it seem like the company can grow more on this?
2. Working Capital: An interesting thing for middle market companies to look at
3. Customers - how diversified / concentrated is their customer base? (important for middle market companies)

And obviously the other important things such as cash flow, revenue streams etc. Opportunities to grow organically through acquisitions, expansion of business lines etc.

Oct 12, 2016
  1. Financials - what are their margins, what is prior growth and what is forecasted growth
  2. Exec Summary - if I can't tell what the business does or what their competitive advantage is after reading these 10 pages it probably isn't for us (strict TMT/ bus. services focus).
    First look at a CIM is typically no more than one hour for our Associates and myself - I only spend more time with one if the associates think we can skip the banker call and go straight to an IOI.
Oct 13, 2016

I typically look at how straight the text boxes are, then check and make sure that there are no formatting or data error sin the footnoes (most common place for them), and that similarly formatted pages have the exact same positioning of all boxes / headers / graphics / words etc (this is not so much a mistake as it is over-the top professionalism). After that I see If I look the Cims overall format (ie background color, font style etc.). If it only has one or two mistakes in it MAX, then I will buy the company for 10 BB +, but definetly not over 12 BB.

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Oct 13, 2016

In a previous life I worked in private equity.

We used to keep notes on why we abandoned or pursued different opportunities. Often times I would pull these notes when examining a business and see what the hesitations and the positive notes were. Using these as a guideline, analyze the project so that you're thinking like your bosses -- not only training you to better examine your deals but also allowing you to increase the percentage of deals that close.

    • 1
Oct 18, 2016

This is not a foolproof method, but it helps. (Note: the following assumes that the company meets your size minimum, is not a distressed deal, and is in an industry your fund would potentially invest in.)

1) Flip to financials. Graphs should be moving up and to the right. Margins should be above 15% ideally.

2) Read the quick description of what they do at the front. If it's an industry I'm not familiar with at all, I'll typically do a quick google search "XYZ industry trends" and "XYZ M&A news". If you are smart, this has already got your wheels turning about potential pit falls in the industry in question, competition, etc.

3) Quickly calculate LTM EBITDA. Now look at what EBITDA they are projecting for the current year. If there's a big jump, make a note of it. Also make a note of any drops in revenues in the historical financials listed in the CIM.

4) Call the associate on the deal (if not associate, call MD). Say "I have taken a quick look at the CIM here, but you know this company inside and out--can you give me your take on it? What are the key focal points, from your perspective?" The banker, who likely put the book together, will then explain in 3-5 minutes the highlights of the document it would have taken you two hours to read. Yes, they're telling the glossy version of the story, but so is the CIM.

5) Ask: Why are they looking to sell? If the banker says "the owner feels that valuations have gotten really favorable in his industry" or something along those lines, that means the owner is going to sell to the highest bidder. I usually get off the call soon after getting that response. If he says something like "the owner is in his 50s, he's built a great business, but his whole net worth is tied up in it; he wants to take some chips off the table and have a capital partner to grow it for a few more years" or something along those lines, keep listening.

6) Refer to your calculations from 4. If the EBITDA margin is expected to have a big jump in the current year (which is likely the EBITDA the company is hoping to get valued on), ask how. If it's going to drop, ask why. If revenues have dipped in the past, ask what happened (often times this is either due to it being affected by the cycle, commodity price fluctuations, or having a big customer leave) (if it's the latter, ask why the customer left).

7) Assuming you haven't dinged the deal yet, ask about their growth plans. If it's M&A: do they have targets lined up? How many? If it's new geographies: how is that going to affect margins?

8) Ask the banker if he thinks those goals are realistic? He will almost always say yes, so ask why. Then the sneaky part: After he's finished telling you all the great things they're going to do to grow, say the following "Yeah. That makes sense. A lot has to go right here to his these projections, but they seem like they're doing a great job. So you think these things are achievable, even though they're stretch goals?" and then listen very carefully.. A good banker will correct you and say they're not stretch goals. But most bankers aren't good. This part is tricky because you have to be chummy (hence why are you are talking to the associate, not the MD) and make them comfortable enough to potentially accidentally admit something. They don't always come right out and say it, but they will often say something that gives you a clue on where to look for issues (i.e. yeah, they'll hit the goals. the e-commerce goals are steep but they've got a great new team) or something like that.

9) Ask about their competitors, what's the biggest risk to market share, etc.

10) Ask the valuation question. But do it subtly. Try saying "Do you have any idea what the owner is expecting or what his goals are?". That doesn't usually get it out of them, but sometimes. If he says, "we don't want to throw any hard numbers out there" say "Yeah man, I hear you. No worries. Out of curiosity though, and I just mean ballpark here, what are typical multiples looking like in the space these days? We haven't done a deal here before, just want to get a range."

11) If I have made it to this point without getting off the call yet, I usually ask if the owner has any non-financial things that are important to him (i.e. taking care of his employees, he's wary of losing control, scared of leverage, wants help hiring, wants help improving accounting or operations, etc). This is extra credit but it helps your bosses start to think about how they can really sell themselves to the owner if it goes to a management meeting.

TL;DR: Don't read the CIM, make the banker give you the highlights, write it up and email the summary to your boss. Takes 20-30mins.

Mar 27, 2018

Bump for an old thread with a shitload of good information.

Mar 27, 2018

My approach is a bit different. I skim the biz description and then I read the financials. With a basic understanding of the business - I ask myself what would I need to believe to make an acceptable return on this business. Is this a growth story, if so what are the growth drivers? Is it an acquisition story, if so what does the acquisition landscape look like. Etc. The bankers projections and the historical financials generally give you a clear path to what is going to drive returns. If the answer is I can't imagine how that would happen or my firm will never go for this, then I stop, otherwise I make a quick bullet point list of what I would have to believe to want to recommend this investment. I try to make it as specific as possible. Then I read the CIM. If after I've read the details it seems like there is a case supporting my "need to believe list" I ask myself what are the key risks. After writing down my initial key risks I ask myself do I still think this is interesting and are these the type of risks our firm underwrites. If the answer is yes, then i do a quick (10 minute) pff analysis. With that in hand, I then send an email up the food chain which says: "I gave this a quick read and think it is interesting because there is a path to a [ ]% return. I describe the path at a high-level. "My key concerns are (a), (b) and (c)." I then try to add an action item list of how i can learn more about the concerns prior to the bid date.

Mar 28, 2018

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Mar 28, 2018

I've never worked in PE but I was just curious about the process to get to the CIM.

Are there any gating items that you guys think about when getting a teaser and signing the NDA to get the CIM?

Or is the thought that the teaser won't give you enough information, so lets just sign the NDA and get the CIM?

Mar 28, 2018

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Mar 28, 2018

Typically when we get a teaser and a NDA, there is actually a bit of negotiation surrounding the NDA but I suppose this might be a bit more of a streamlined process for a Sponsor vs a Corporation.

Mar 28, 2018

I'll typically read the whole thing. Might skim over some sections and for our credit approval meetings will borrow some charts and graphs for a thesis and pitch.

Mar 28, 2018

guess i've been in banking too long then.. any other responses?

I'm making it up as I go along.

Mar 28, 2018
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Mar 28, 2018
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Mar 28, 2018
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I'm making it up as I go along.