FreightWaves 3PL Summit: Managing deal flows during a pandemic (with video)

The economic impact of COVID-19 on the mergers and acquisitions market has made it more challenging to complete deals, said Jason Bass, managing director at middle market investment bank Harris Williams.

“Having been fortunate enough to play a leading role in a lot of the marquee transactions that our industry saw within the logistics space from 2017, all the way up until mid-2019, the last six months have been challenging for sure,” Bass said.

Bass joined FreightWaves Chief Strategy Officer JT Engstrom on Tuesday at the FreightWaves 3PL Summit for a discussion titled “How to think about valuing a 3PL: Past, Present, and Future.”

Richmond, Virginia-based Harris Williams was founded in 1991 and focuses on the advisory needs of clients worldwide.

Bass is also co-head of Harris Williams’ Transportation & Logistics Group, which serves companies in industries such as automotive; heavy-duty vehicle niches; transportation equipment; 3PLs; and truck, rail, marine and air transportation.

“We’ve been spending time dialoguing with chief executives, private equity groups that own companies in the logistics and transportation space, sort of planning for how we might position those companies going forward,” Bass said.

Bass said his company has talked to clients about what “tactics” they should use to position themselves in the deal-making market once the pandemic winds down.

“If you think about your missed opportunities, perhaps a deal missed in 2019, and thinking you were going to do that deal in 2020, for a private equity group, sitting on a mountain of capital that needs to be put in play, it’s been quite some period now where you haven’t had those opportunities,” Bass said. “So the pent-up demand, the deferred nature of transactions, we do think that those deals will happen; it’s not like they will evaporate.”

Some of Harris Williams’ recent work in the transportation and logistics space includes advising Lazer Spot on its sale to Harvest Partners, advising GlobalTranz Enterprises, Inc. on its sale to Providence Equity Partners, and advising Nolan Transportation Group on its sale to Gryphon Investors.”

“What’s interesting about our industry is that we have freight cycles that sort of work around recessionary economic cycles,” Bass said. “Even in the face of a difficult freight market, we’ve still been able to make some deals and find some great combinations out there.”

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Noi Mahoney.

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