Marc Leder

Hard Times Give Way to Smooth Sailing

Many people would probably underestimate Marc Leder because he calls himself a banker. They usually see bankers as boring, dry corporate stiffs who do everything by the books. They could not be more wrong about Marc Leder. True, the man has a quintessentially banker background, having graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. What’s more, Marc Leder worked for Lehman Brothers in New York and climbed his way to the Senior Vice President position. However, he was so curious about bigger challenges as well as opportunities that he quit Lehman Brothers in 1995 to establish global equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. with his Wharton classmate Rodger Krouse. The two ambitious men had a hard time convincing other fellow bankers to understand what they were doing, so it was completely unsurprising that they had to eat humble pie at the onset of their business. While today Sun Capital Partners Inc. is enjoying the fruits of its labor, Marc Leder still looks fondly at those tough early years.

From Having No Capital to Giving Capital to Others

Marc Leder recalls that Sun Capital Partners Inc. had its share of hard times. “When we talked to our friends who were in private equity, no one wanted to hire us as we didn’t have experience in private equity, just investment banking. So Rodger and I decided we would start a firm from scratch.” The two moved to Florida, “where the market was less competitive, and our strategy was to buy companies that others did not want to buy.” Marc Leder and Rodger Krouse had to start from absolute zero. “We started off sharing an office the size of a small conference room. I made the coffee, he made the copies. We had no capital.” They were not having so much fun, but they persevered. “We spent the first five years just by finding deals by hustling. Once we found the deal, we would go around and raise the money. We passed the proverbial hat around to get our first twelve deals financed.” Luckily, their hard work paid off, and today Sun Capital Partners Inc. boasts a varied portfolio containing companies across a wide range of industries like paper and packaging, retail, industry and restaurant.

Sun Capital Partners Inc. Wants to Buy You Out

Marc Leder is adamant that corporate culture is one of the first things that a global equity firm should check out in any possible target companies. He insists that a lot of cultural studies have confirmed that good corporate culture is one of the most reliable predictors whether or not the possible target company would be successful. Far from being just a theory, Marc Leder said corporate culture could be measured by four factors: adaptability, mission, involvement and consistency. Sun Capital Partners Inc. is also looking for companies that are in the lower middle and middle market with unrealized potential, with $ 50 million to $ 1.5 billion in revenue, coupled with having strong market position and the possibility of becoming a franchise. If this sounds like your company, you might want to give Marc Leder a call.

Sun Capital response to decrease in private equity transactions

Anyone who keeps tabs on financial news may have seen some interesting information published by Pitchbook over recent times.

Pitchbook were keen to highlight how significant private equity firms have proven to be within retail businesses over the last few years. However, something they also strongly focused on was the fact that the trend seems to be slowing down – not as many private equity firms seem quite as keen in backing retail propositions.

It’s at this point where it’s interesting to look at some of the key points in which private equity firms scrutinize whilst piecing together a deal.

In a recent interview, the CEO of Sun Capital, Marc Leder, revealed that there were several prerequisites a business must meet in order for them to be a viable proposition for the private equity giants. Let’s quickly take a look at some of these:

The business isn’t reaching its potential

Firstly, there’s little point in investing in a business if it’s already reaching its maximum potential. This is the first point Leder made in his interview and said that there have to be obvious ways in which the business can improve and achieve more.

It needs to be a business that can benefit through operational expertise

Something that a lot of private equity firms pride themselves in is their operational abilities. In other words, they are able to step into a business and implement changes based on their knowledge and infrastructures they already have in place.

Similarly to above, if there’s no obvious way that a business can be benefited operationally, it’s probably not going to be considered by a company like Sun Capital.

It needs to be a market leader

Just because a company leads the market doesn’t mean to say that it’s reaching its full potential. In the case of Sun Capital, they prefer to invest in companies which are leading their sector and are proven to be important to their customers. It’s here when they can step in and make the difference which we have spoken about.

However, something that Leder didn’t cover in that interview was when a company doesn’t become a viable proposition for Sun Capital.

This brings us back to the Pitchbook statistics, which claimed that the retail market for private equity companies was slowing.

Sun Capital have since responded with their own outlook on this. Even if a company easily satisfies the three requirements that Leder set out in his interview, they can’t do anything to guard against high valuations.

In other words, even though a private equity firm might be able to add value to a company, there becomes a valuation which means that it’s just not feasible.

This appears to be the main reason for the slight downturn in the amount of private equity-backed deals which are going through for retail businesses right now. Nevertheless, Sun Capital have remained defiant and insist that it’s still a market they will look at – as their huge portfolio shows.

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