Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) among privately-owned companies have slowed down in the past three years as buyers adopt a wait-and-see attitude amid the poor economic conditions, says MD of M&A firm Deal Leaders Africa Andrew Bahlmann. Deal Leaders Africa is a sell-side M&A advisory firm to privately owned companies. “Our clients are brilliant entrepreneurs but they are not necessarily cut out to sell their businesses,” Bahlmann says. The company’s team of 18 professionals is  working on 42 transactions. “On average, we bring on three transactions a month. The typical transaction size is between R60m and R500m. That is the space we play in,” he says. Bahlmann says traditional M&A transactions are driven and controlled by the buyer. But Deal Leaders Africa’s model works the other way around — the company searches for buyers on behalf of its clients. “We cast the net wide. In the listed space, you have a defined market. In the unlisted space you do not. You have to create the market t...

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