Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Brendan Burke.Here’s that interview.
About the interviewee
Brendan Burke is Headwaters’ Director of Business Development. In that capacity, he oversees the sourcing and execution of transactions amongst Headwaters’ banking teams and serves as the liaison to Mergers Alliance, an international consortium of middle market investment banks.
Brendan joined the analyst program at Headwaters in 2004, immediately engaging on transaction teams working across different industries on many types of deals. Being asked to assist on several of the firm’s marketing efforts revealed a deep set of creative and innovative skill sets, leading to his elevation to Director of Marketing in 2005.
Over the next five years, he engineered a series of marketing coups and breakthroughs for Headwaters, including multiple awards for brand identity campaigns, industry vertical campaigns, and recruiting campaigns of every stripe and complexity.
In 2012, he was awarded 40 UNDER 40 by the M&A Advisor, an organization that recognizes and connects the world’s leading M&A professionals.
Brendan serves on the Board of SalesChute, a software company specializing in e-commerce. He is a graduate of Pomona College.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Headwaters MB is an independent, middle-market investment banking firm providing strategic merger and acquisitions, corporate finance services and merchant banking through proprietary sources of capital. Headwaters is headquartered in Denver, CO, with 6 regional offices across the United States and partnerships with 16 firms covering 25 countries. We have 70+ professionals.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
Headwaters works with middle market companies, which we define as those with enterprise value between $25 – 250 million. These can be entrepreneur or family-owned businesses or institutionally backed companies like the portfolio companies of private equity or venture capital firms.
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
Today’s capital markets are inherently international in scope. Our company, Headwaters MB focuses on helping entrepreneurs and business-owning families raise capital or sell their business. In that activity, we find ourselves having to reach overseas to corporate acquirers or capital sources very frequently. In many cases, we need to reach the CEO, CFO or Head of M&A of a foreign company quickly and discreetly. The deal customs and polite ways to approach corporate leaders vary wildly from country to country and our targets don’t always speak English.
Our solution is a network of partners called Mergers Alliance. Mergers Alliance is a group of corporate finance specialists who advise organizations who require international reach for their M&A strategies. We use our local partners to navigate the local markets for the benefit of our customers.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
Cold calling has never been an efficient way to approach anyone with a business proposition. Clients hire investment bankers for a variety of reasons, but ready access to important capital sources tops of the list attributes that make a banker successful or not.
Cultivating and harnessing the power of transaction networks is absolutely critical in the modern deal market. We have built a system of confidentiality amongst 300 investment bankers in 30 countries to discuss our clients’ transaction opportunities.
So the best practice is to make sure that a banker who speaks the language and talks the talk of the local deal community to make the outbound call to an overseas prospective business partner.