14 August 2020
BDA’s Charlie Maynard on opportunities in the Asian M&A market
BDA Co-Founder and Senior Managing Director Charlie Maynard talks about opportunities in the Asian M&A market and how BDA runs an excellent sellside process and delivers the best results for clients.
In this working-from-home chat with BDA senior leadership, we talked to Charlie Maynard. Charlie co-founded BDA Partners with Euan Rellie 24 years ago in Singapore and New York. He has spent many, many years in different countries in Asia before and after founding BDA. We talked about the opportunities he sees in the Asia M&A market, and how BDA runs excellent sellside processes and delivers the best results for clients.
What opportunities did you see in the Asian market when setting up BDA in 1996?
We realised that there was a gap in the market, because the big banks were talking about being interested in global M&A and how important Asia was to them, but in reality they were much more focused on Western M&A and Chinese IPOs, where the big bucks were. While we understood that Asian M&A was a tough market, but we reckoned we could build a business by entirely focusing on it.
How has BDA evolved over the years?
When we started out in 1996, we were largely a buyside shop, working for large, primarily Western MNCs looking to acquire in Asia. The buyside work was very useful in terms of helping us understand sectors and what clients wanted. For the first ten years of BDA, the sellside market and particularly the private equity buyout based sellside market didn’t really exist. But around 2006-2007 there were signs that it was beginning to take off, and that was when we made the switch to focus on the sellside which is 80% or more of our business today.
The other two big changes were a few years back when we started both to build out and focus on our six core sector expertise including Industrials, Chemicals, Health, Technology, Consumer & Retail and Services as well as to set up a dedicated financial sponsors group coverage team which would focus full time on our relationships with sponsors.
How are BDA set up to deliver the best results for clients?
To run excellent sellside deals, you need to have global reach in order to access all buyers and be agnostic as to where the buyer comes from. There are very few parties that can really access all relevant buyers, regardless of geography, and why this business that we’re selling is attractive. We are one of the very few M&A advisories who can do that.
You also need to have the sellside process nailed. We are very, very process oriented. We systemize and automate the basic bits of a sellside process, which are normally repetitive, so we can focus on the difficult, critical bits which are specific to individual transactions and help our clients as fully as possible by adding real value. This is another key differentiator that we have in terms of systems and processes compared to our peers and competitors.
What can we expect from BDA Partners for the next five years?
If you do M&A, you want to be doing sellside M&A. The growth in the buyout market over the last 5- 10 years has been enormous in Asia. And if you look at the capital that has been raised over the last 1-3 years, it’s clear what we have seen to date is only a fraction of what we are going to see in the future. It’s a huge and rapidly growing market, but because of the complexity and global reach required, there are very few advisors that can effectively service this market. Sellside M&A advisory will remain our core business and we’ll continue to focus on raising our deal size.
Beyond that, we started to get involved in debt advisory and restructuring by a partnership with Zerobridge, as well as trying out principal investing with BDA Capital Partners. There are quite a lot of exciting opportunities for other avenues of growth in addition to the core M&A business.
What have been the biggest challenges in BDA’s journey so far?
The hardest challenge has been creating the global network we have today, where each person in each office can deliver much more than they are able to do individually. This has taken a lot of time and it is completely and utterly about the people inside BDA. It’s ever evolving and must always be improving and progressing through our team efforts. Keeping the team moving forward and focused across nine different offices and 12 different time zones will always be challenging.
What are you most proud of about BDA?
It is the team that has created this seamless global network that allows us to deliver the best results for our clients. I love our team and I love our team spirit. Very, very few organisations have as diverse and international a team which truly works together in a fast, coordinated and intelligent way. I love the fact that we have so many people from so many countries liking each other and enjoying working as a team – and that this teamwork delivers great results.
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