Spotlight on Daniel Franklin - Mergers, Acquisitions and Investments
This year has seen the introduction of two new companies into handl Group’s ever-expanding portfolio, Harrison Associates and Advanced Child Care Assessments Ltd, as part of our ongoing mission to add value, innovate and maintain the highest standards, and create disruptive ideas that shape the market.
Daniel Franklin joined handl Group to lead Mergers, Acquisitions and Investments in March 2019 with a focus on expanding the already impressive business portfolio. As the year draws to a close, we’re taking a closer look at his background and role, what the field of mergers and acquisitions entails, his personal experience at handl Group, and his goals moving forward.
Can you describe your career journey into working in mergers and acquisitions?
Having qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant, I’ve spent most of my career in commercially-led finance roles, gaining a wide breadth of experience within a range of different industries. I was grateful to be given the opportunity to work for an established industrial investor in a Portfolio Management role, which enabled me to utilise my knowledge and experience from being a Finance Director. It was during my time in this role that I was introduced to M&A and deal-making.
Since taking that opportunity, I’ve held board positions as Finance Director, Managing Director and Investor Director, setting me up to join handl Group with a broad skill set.
What is your role at handl Group?
I support the handl Group Board of Directors in executing their strategic goals by identifying, securing and completing acquisitions and investments of synergistic businesses to overlay organic growth of the existing portfolio.
My role spans from deal origination, agreeing headline terms between key stakeholders of the target and handl Group, through to the management of the acquisition process, ensuring agreed timescales are achieved. Following this, I’ll remain with the portfolio company as part of its senior management team post-acquisition, ensuring our strategic vision is executed.
Why did you choose to join handl Group?
I was immediately drawn to the forward-thinking nature, aspirations and enthusiasm of the handl Group team and its autonomous Board of Directors. There was flexibility in the role I have come in to do, as it is completely new for the portfolio and therefore it was an opportunity for me to ‘put my stamp’ on it.
Furthermore, the underlying financial strength of handl Group enables an acquisition strategy to be properly executed, coupled with the acquisition proposition offered by handl Group being completely different from that of a traditional corporate group, private equity or venture capital fund.
What's unique about handl Group's acquisition strategy?
We are selective about who we wish to work with and will only consider an acquisition target if we believe it complements and benefits our existing portfolio. We typically target mid-market organisations that have market-leading expertise so that we know once we position a business to grow exponentially, the right people are at its core.
What sets us apart from other investors is that we acquire a business for it to be run autonomously. handl Group will act as a strategic partner who isn’t bound by timescales to deploy funds and realise gains, which means that our approach to investment appraisal is to achieve sustained and long-term success.
What do you consider to be the greatest opportunity on the horizon for the portfolio of businesses?
Through the deployment of disruptive technology and collaboration of expertise across our portfolio of brands, I believe we are poised to capitalise on ever-increasing challenges and changes within our existing markets.
What does a good acquisition look like to you?
First and foremost, for an acquisition target or investment opportunity to appear attractive, it needs to complement our existing portfolio. If this isn’t identifiable then we won’t pursue.
Secondly, the business needs to present an exciting opportunity for us to add value. Finally, we will target mid-market businesses and early-stage market disruptors with aspirational leaders who want to join our journey.
What has been the greatest learning curve so far?
Personally, it has been understanding the nuances of the industries and sectors handl Group’s portfolio of companies operate in. My background has predominantly been in the manufacturing, engineering and marketing sectors, so it has meant I have had to educate myself quickly on the healthcare, insurance and legal fields.
Do you have any advice for someone coming into this space?
Success in Mergers and Acquisitions, just like the majority of professions, comes from forging good, honest relationships and taking the time to understand the businesses you are meeting with - it’s hard work and time-consuming, yet extremely rewarding.
I’d advise anyone coming into this space to have a defined strategy and to be clear from the outset what your intentions are, ensuring that you and the vendor(s) are aligned throughout every stage of the process.
Finally, assess every opportunity on its own merits. If you can’t add shareholder value, walk away from the opportunity.
What does 2020 have in store for handl Group?
The existing portfolio of companies are all set to grow organically following our internal investments into new products and services, infrastructure, sales and marketing, which is exciting. The acquisitions and investments into start-up ventures will also bolster the underlying portfolio performance.
We will continue to seek out exciting new acquisition and investment opportunities to deliver our strategic plan, and hopefully we will see new additions being added to the portfolio in the first half of the year as a result of negotiations in Q4 of 2019. Follow us on Twitter/LinkedIn/Website Blog to be first in the know!