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Private Equity Strategies

Tools Of The Trade: Deal Parties Capture Value With New Escrow & Paying Agent Service

Monday, April 29, 2013

By: Bailey McCann, Private Equity Strategies

Maximizing the value of M&A consideration set aside in escrow, often millions of dollars, has historically been an afterthought for parties hustling to get deals done. However, SRS | Shareholder Representative Services, a post-closing expert for private-company mergers and acquisitions, has re-engineered M&A escrow, paying agent and investment services in an effort to streamline the process. SRS partnered with Capital One Bank for the market-wide launch of Acquiom, the company’s answer to M&A escrow services.

"Acquiom is focused on common M&A escrow and paying agent pain points that we’ve seen across more than 400 deals," said Mark Vogel, co-CEO of Shareholder Representative Services, in an interview with Private Equity Strategies.

Acquiom was designed from the ground up with input from hundreds of buyers and sellers to provide simple documentation, fast payments, reduced transaction costs and competitive interest rates on deposits. Through operational efficiencies and simplified forms, merger parties can save tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per deal in transaction fees, spend less time on documentation of administrative matters, and benefit from streamlined disbursements.

"Shareholders can get paid the same day as the deal closes," Vogel says. Most payments can now go through wire transfer or electronic check rather than the more traditional process of mailing a paper check. "If you have a small shareholder, it doesn’t make sense to go through the whole process of sending a check for $200, especially when you can send a wire transfer."

Operationally, Acquiom will offer a single combined agreement for paying agent and escrow agent services, saving on paperwork. All deposits will go into an FDIC insured money market account. Tax reporting, escheatment compliance and lost shareholder services are also included at no cost.

According to Vogel, SRS partnered with Capital One on the product, which will be offering the service at no cost to its clients. "Capital one got it immediately," he says. "They are a bank focused on innovation, and they thought these services fixed key business challenges."

However, Vogel wants to make Acquiom more than a one off. "We built Acquiom to set a standard for the market." Currently, SRS has relationships with most major banks involved in these types of transactions. He also says they have plans to expand these and other services. "There are still plenty of problems to solve in the market, we plan to invest in solving them."

This article was published in Opalesque's Private Equity Strategies our monthly research update on the global private equity landscape including all sectors and market caps.
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