Mergers & Acquisitions

M&A Talk Podcast

M&A Talk is the #1 podcast on mergers & acquisitions. At M&A Talk we bring you exclusive interviews with experts in business sales, valuations, mergers and acquisitions, and more. We talk to the most experienced professionals in the industry to uncover their secrets.

Selling Your Company to a Private Equity Firm vs. a Family Office

Selling Your Company to a Private Equity Firm vs. a Family Office

James Carey

Family Office | Private Equity

When selling a mid-market business, you may run into a family office interested in acquiring your company. But, what are family offices, how do they work, and what do they look for in a target? In this episode with James Carey, a partner at a private family office, we discuss the differences between a family office, private equity firms, and strategic acquirers, look at how family offices create value, and define growth equity. We also talk about the elements of the family office capital growth toolkit, mistakes an owner may make in consultations with growth equity investors, and tips to avoid these mistakes.

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Guest Profile

James Carey is a Partner at Next Sparc Growth Partners; a professional family office that makes direct investments in rapidly growing founder-led and family-owned businesses. and leads the Business Development efforts at the firm. Before joining Next Sparc, James was a Vice President and the Head of Business Development at Peterson Partners, a diversified private investment firm focused on growth equity and venture capital investments. Prior to joining Peterson Partners, James was a Director at H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity investment firm with over $50 billion of equity capital under management where he sat across the entire family of funds. Earlier in his career, James was an Associate at New River Capital Partners, an affiliate of Huizenga Holdings, where he was responsible for Corporate Development. James received a Bachelor of Science  in Business Administration from the University of Vermont in Burlington. 

Topics Covered

  • What is a family office, and what role do they play in buying companies in the middle market? [2:00]
  • What is the difference between a private equity firm and a family office? [4:34]
  • What should a business owner who is selling their company know about growth equity? [11:47]
  • What do family offices and private equity firms look for in an acquisition? [17:26]
  • How involved are most private equity firms in the operations of the companies they acquire? [23:34]
  • How do family offices grow the companies they acquire? [32:13]
  • How do private equity firms increase the value of the companies they acquire? [37:36]
  • How has the role of family offices in the M&A world changed over the past few years? [38:45]
  • In terms of exit paths, what is the preferred exit route for a growth equity investor? [46:41]
  • How do private equity firms and strategic buyers typically structure their acquisitions? [54:03]
  • What mistakes do business owners commonly make when meeting with investors? [57:28]
  • How will the role of family offices change in the future in the M&A world? [59:24]

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Resources Mentioned



The Art of Selling a Business With $10 Million to $100 Million in Revenue

Written by Jacob Orosz, President of Morgan & Westfield

For a business to sell for what it’s really worth – or even more – you need to properly prepare. But too many entrepreneurs put off planning the sale of their business until the last moment. Acquired – The Art of Selling a Business With $10 Million to $100 Million in Revenue will help you prepare your business for sale and walk you through the sales process, dodging the pitfalls along the way. With a significant amount of your wealth tied up in your business, planning your exit is one of the most critical initiatives you’ll undertake.

Read more