‘Buyouts expanded to include M&A’

Renewed Prime Foundation Partnership with BDO focuses on M&A

In the renewed Prime Foundation Partnership, BDO Belgium aims to expand the research domain of management buyouts to include M&A. This dimension will be given a physical identity in the new M&A Centre. Veerle Catry, Partner at BDO Belgium, and Professor Mathieu Luypaert explain.

Ms Catry, what has BDO Belgium achieved through this partnership in the past three years?

Veerle Catry: ‘Our corporate partnership with Vlerick focused exclusively on management buyouts and buy-ins. The many successful initiatives we launched together with Professor Miguel Meuleman in the Platform for Entrepreneurial Buyouts or PEBO enabled us to clearly present ourselves as a ‘thought leader’ in the field of management buyouts. During the Buy Your Own Company Conference we contributed our expertise to a large audience of buyers and sellers, while the Buyout Monitor allowed us to participate in in-depth discussions with the intermediaries who play a key role in buying and selling firms in the mid-market segment (Ed: the segment on which BDO focuses) and the Entrepreneurial Buyout Academy provided us with access to potential buyers. Thanks to these privileged contacts with buyers and sellers BDO is able to optimally perform its matchmaker role, which is still the most challenging aspect of our business.’

You plan to extend your scope to M&A in the next three years to come.

Veerle Catry: ‘Indeed. We will continue to add to the available knowledge and expertise concerning management buyouts. One of our planned initiatives is a publication illustrating the buyout process from start to finish and featuring a new buyout event in Wallonia. At the same time, we are extending our research domain to M&A. The new M&A Centre, with Professor Mathieu Luypaert as its driving force, will bring together not only the former PEBO initiatives, but also several existing and new educational programmes and research initiatives in the broad field of mergers and acquisitions. In the next three years, we plan to collaborate on an M&A Monitor and sponsor the Centre’s various programmes and initiatives.’ Catry smiles: ‘There’s a lot going on!’

Professor Lupaert, where did the initiative for an M&A Centre come from?

'We recently witnessed a strong surge in M&A activity. The combination of cheap debt, rising stock prices and abundant cash reserves pushed 2015 towards record M&A volumes, surpassing even 5 trillion USD globally according to Dealogic. The renewed partnership between BDO and Vlerick aims to shed light on recent trends in the broad domain of M&A, with a strong focus on BDO’s midcap segment and buyout transactions.'