For M&A investors, 2021 will be a year to remember. How will 2022 stack up? As we head into the new year, Harris Williams Industry Group Heads share their views on which trends will drive growth, key investor considerations, and the opportunities to be found in each of the industries we cover. We look forward to pursuing these opportunities in partnership with our clients in the months to come. 

How do you feel about M&A conditions heading into 2022 within your industry?

All of the fundamentals are in place for another great year of M&A in specialty distribution. Financial investors still have plenty of capital to invest, and they’ve been raising new funds this year. Lenders remain active, and businesses are generally performing well. Even if 2022 doesn’t match the record-breaking 2021, it will be a remarkable year in its own right.

What should M&A investors keep top-of-mind in your industry this year?

Strong investment theses have never been more important. The market is moving so quickly and is so competitive that buyers simply don’t have time to pursue opportunities that likely won’t pan out. They also lack the time to deeply research a new vertical or horizontal subsector before deciding whether to get involved. 

And, as we said last year, buyers should focus on distributors that have shown creativity and flexibility in dealing with issues like COVID-19 and supply chain challenges, especially those using novel approaches to source employees, inventory, and customers.

sd_quote-graphic_v1.pngName a few of the most significant trends that will drive growth in your industry in 2022.

Both the global labor shortage and the stalled supply chain are creating at least as many opportunities as challenges. Specialty distributors with the scale and professionalization required to recruit, hire, and retain a talented workforce are pulling ahead right now, providing higher service levels and more value than the competition.

Likewise, distributors able to cultivate the relationships required to keep inventory levels up are now in a position to take share from companies unable to deliver. We’ve seen time and again that the best companies apply their scale and superior capabilities to take share and grow in challenging times. 

sd_baltimore-lewis-graphic_v2.pngHow has your team delivered exceptional client service in this busy market?

At the most basic level, we’ve been focused on how we work with each other within Harris Williams. Collaborative, cross-industry knowledge sharing becomes even more powerful as the firm continues to grow. If one of our teams has a challenge, it’s nearly certain another team has just addressed it. That focus on communication within the firm allows us to quickly bring proven ideas and solutions to our clients.

Describe the market in three words: 

RESILIENT, COMPETITIVE, DYNAMIC

Select 2021 Transactions by the Harris Williams Specialty Distribution Group

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The Harris Williams Specialty Distribution Group has experience across a variety of sectors, including automotive and heavy duty aftermarket; building products; consumer; electrical and communications; foodservice; healthcare; industrial; and technology. For more information on the firm’s Specialty Distribution Group, visit the Specialty Distribution Group’s section of the Harris Williams website.

To learn more, please contact our senior bankers.