Infrastructure Plan Remains a Key Focus

Public-private partnerships (P3s) are delivering critical infrastructure across the country. Today P3s provide communities with new tools and ways to address their infrastructure challenges.

Each year, over 1,350 leaders from states and localities, public agencies, and colleges, gather at the Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo (p3) to discuss infrastructure challenges faced across the county. They work together to find out how technology, advancements in project delivery, procurement, and life cycle asset management can solve these challenges. Participants receive in-depth learning, business development, and can network with a mix of owners, contractors, developers and service providers engaged in public private partnerships.  

At the most recent P3 event, the infrastructure plan remained a key focus. Several presentations and conversations focused on the impact that the current presidential administration’s spending plan could have on the infrastructure services industry. Under the discussed plan, approximately $1.5 trillion will be invested over a 10-year period which would impact several service industries including infrastructure, testing and inspection, and design. While the plan’s timeline is still uncertain, the potential for the proposed long-term infrastructure investment plan created optimism throughout the P3 event.

At the event, the former executive director of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau, Martin Klepper, noted that significant private investment, as well as state and local funds, will be instrumental in funding the total $1.5 trillion cost of the administration’s 10-year plan. Klepper indicated that the funds currently allocated to infrastructure projects will likely be used to help expand the existing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

The exact details of funding have yet to be determined but the potential of additional resources towards bridges and roads is encouraging for the infrastructure services industry.

Massive Infrastructure Spending Plan Sparks Conversations, Driving Future Opportunity

The presidential administration created a goal of implementing a $1.5 trillion infrastructure framework. The plan has sparked numerous conversations as has subsequently created significant excitement and optimism throughout the infrastructure services industry. The logistics of the plan haven’t been finalized but many experts in the industry believe that the success of the plan will be dictated by the private sector and the role it will play in funding and executing future projects.

Throughout the last six months, many of the largest publicly traded engineering and construction companies have seen increased expectations in M&A activity because of the recent increased performance of broader equity markets. Meanwhile, the infrastructure services industry has maintained its ability to deliver a strong financial performance, backed by an ideal transportation spending outlook and positive volume trends.

When compared to the positive macroeconomic backdrop, recent trends and fluctuations are fostering evolution and growth amongst infrastructure services as the industry responds to the changing demands and new market pressures. The Public-Private Partnership (P3) Conference & Expo in Dallas educated companies on how they can successfully adapt to the changing environment and new market trends.

The P3 conference featured nearly 65 exhibitors and more than 1,350 attendees. The William Blair team presented at the conference attended several different presentations and were apart of many conversations with executives and key decision-makers at the conference. Together the team examined several of the most pressing opportunities and challenges facing the infrastructure services industry. The team evaluated the impact these trends will have on dealmaking and capital-raising activity in the infrastructure services industry.

Mark Brady on How to Make Deals Close

Mark Brady, investment banker and M&A expert, recently sat down with Alex Verkhivker to share some of the lessons he’s learned from the merger of two iconic consumer brands.

Mark Brady is the proud alumnus of the Chicago Booth School of Business. Mark attributes his longevity in M&A to the economic and financial tools he gained at Booth. Booth provided him with a powerful means of understanding markets, prices, and incentives in the M&A environment. With Verkhivker, Mark outlined lessons learned from a successful acquisition while giving advice for both buyers and sellers on getting deals to close.

In 2008, Mars had decided to acquire the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, who William Blair represented, for roughly $23 billion. The deal brought the two largest confectioners together from a distribution standpoint. An important factor in making any deal close is the inclusion of a target termination fee built into the contract. In the Mars – Wrigley deal there was a built-in $1 billion reverse break fee should Mars walk away from the deal. Including a termination fee provides the acquirer with assurance that the target won’t consider other bids and protects the seller if the acquirer decides to walk away.  

Since only half of deals are considered successful, Mark gave a few more tips on how to make sure deals close:

  • Consider the right amount of competition. Buyers want to feel like they have a chance to win the bid process but you also want a healthy amount of competition between said buyers.
  • Sellers should be conservative when communicating performance expectations. If they are realistic, it increases that chance that the deal will close
  • Lastly, a seller and buyer need to have rigorous understanding of strategic alignment and how the acquisition will bring the two parties together to create value in the market.

See the full interview on the Chicago Booth Magazine.

William Blair’s John Cultra and Tom Wilson Receive More Accolades

William Blair closed the 2017 year on a very high note. Not only did William Blair do over $1 billion in revenue, but the firm and several of its employees received various prestigious awards for their impressive annual output. Most recently, John Cultra and Tom Wilson were named to the 2017 America’s Top 100 Financial Advisors list by Barron’s magazine this week.

John Cultra and his team members offer an impressive average of 22 years of experience in the financial industry, 12 of which have been at William Blair. Tom Wilson and his team boast an average of 26 years of experience in the financial industry with 22 years at William Blair. Both John and Tom’s teams serve high-net-worth individuals and families, foundations and endowments on investing, trust and estate planning, lending and philanthropy.

Barron’s magazine’s annual ranking is based on assets under management, revenue generated for the advisors’ firms, and the quality of advisors’ practices. Notably, Investment performance is not considered a deciding factor because clients have varied goals and risk tolerances.

William Blair’s global head of private wealth management, Ryan DeVore said “This honor recognizes the dedication and financial expertise John, Tom and their teams bring to each client they serve. These professionals truly showcase how William Blair’s independence and size benefits our clients through the collective wisdom of the firm’s research, our customized investment strategies, and our sophisticated financial planning resources. This is especially valued during this recent return of increased market volatility.”

Additionally, Tom and John were among the five William Blair advisors selected by Barron’s for its 2018 top state by state list released in March.

William Blair’s Atlanta Office Celebrates its Second Anniversary

William Blair team celebrated the anniversary of its Atlanta office. The firm celebrated by hosting a client luncheon where technology insights and trends were discussed. The Atlanta office opened in 2016 following two additional private wealth teams that were added in William Blair’s San Francisco, New York and Boston offices in 2015. The Atlanta private wealth management team of Kim Tyson Chenevey, Joel Dobbs, Craig Savage and Andy Thompson serve high-net-worth individuals and their families, business owners, foundations, and endowments.

William Blair’s global head of private wealth management group, Ryan DeVore noted that “This tremendous team has been a welcome addition to William Blair. Their financial expertise and acumen has been vital to serving our clients in Atlanta and the Southeast region. As we continue to selectively expand our private wealth and William Blair coverage across the United States, it is imperative that we continue to find wonderful professionals like the team we have in Atlanta.”

William Blair’s co-head of research group on technology, media, and communications, Bhavan Suri explained to the group that entities tied to robust data like cloud computing and storage, online retailing, and a new age of telecommunications will continue to see significant growth throughout the year. During his discussion, Suri noted that the expansion of software as a service technology and robots with artificial intelligence are two of the most exciting themes within the sector.