Three years ago our Rhode Island-based company managed the sale of a $4 million annual revenue premium retail seafood company in Manhattan. While working with buyers in that transaction, we realized that marine businesses were largely overlooked by the middle market investment community in the Northeast, unlike much of the Southeast which benefits from maritime-specific brokerage firms.
Various exit planning forecasts predicted that between 4.5 to 17 million small businesses would hit the market for sale in 2012-2018 period — thanks to baby boomers approaching retirement and taking steps to sell their business before the next downturn in the economic cycle. The 2013-2015 period was projected to be the peak of the baby boomer selling boom.
Fisheries-related businesses, ferry services, onshore dock services, marinas and passenger vessels are examples of ocean and coastline business model transactions that we broker.
Our top segment focus is on marine protein, which is comprised of the major seafood processors who process the seafood, brand the products and sell to distributors. We will selectively represent seafood wholesalers and just last week we completed a sale of this type of business.
I would say 60 percent to 70 percent of the calls we get are very emotional. They’ve lost their job, or there’s been some life-cycle issue – death, a divorce, a family issue – and they’re buying their first business. Those people … we take them through an interview to profile what works for them.