Urge To Merge

M&A services: not just for the big guys anymore
This story first appeared in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

After years of feasting on corporate America's desire for mergers and acquisitions, many financial Web sites are offering M&A services to entrepreneurs.

CapitalKey Advisors Inc. has formed partnerships with Merrill Lynch & Co. and FleetBoston Financial to take over M&A deals that the financial giants couldn't afford to handle. "It's hard to make money on very small transactions," says Neal Goldman, a CapitalKey founder and managing partner.

CapitalKey hopes to profit as a go-between for business owners and investors by squeezing cost out of the M&A process. The company collects and packages information that investors need-and uses technology to reduce costs.

Goldman's job got a little easier when the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act became law. Now, CapitalKey can have investors electronically sign confidentiality agreements, speeding dissemination of deal info.

And the trend is likely to grow, as banks warm to CapitalKey steering business their way. "[M&A is] attractive [for banks] in that it's an additional way to cross-sell their services to their existing customer base," says Joe Morford, a San Francisco financial services analyst at Dain Rauscher Wessels, a full-service securities firm. That bodes well for partnering with major banks. Now the only question is, Are you ready to sell?

Freelance writer Chris Sandlund is a former editor of Success and Home Office Computing magazines.

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