[View Point] Learn about M&A without leaving your office

Columns - View Point

June 29, 2012
Brad Harbison

Take a closer examination of successful, sustainable businesses and you’ll find that the leaders of these companies, both in the past and in the present, were adept at targeting opportunities and wise in developing plans to either sell their business or pass it along to a successor. Even if these owners preferred to grow more organically — as opposed to acquiring other companies — they always closely monitored M&A activity and had their businesses well positioned either to acquire other companies or to be sold.

It’s for this reason that PCT magazine provides ongoing in-depth coverage of M&A activity and keeps a pulse on fast-rising companies (e.g., PCT’s annual Top 100 issue and “Companies to Watch” features). The newest way PCT is providing our readers with valuable M&A educational information is our upcoming Mergers and & Acquisitions Virtual Conference & Trade Show, to be held on Aug. 8. Designed for anyone exploring the possibility of a sale, currently in the market for acquisitions, or laying the groundwork for succession planning, this one-day virtual event provides expert advice from the industry’s leading authorities on mergers and acquisitions and family business issues. Speakers and topics include: The Perfect Storm: Current State of the Mergers & Acquisitions Market — Lance Tullius, Tullius Partners; What is Your Company Worth? A Guide to Valuing Your Pest Control Business — Paul Giannamore, The Potomac Company; How to Finance a Purchase: What Are Your Options? — Michael Burr, Challenger Capital; Successful Business Integration Starts with Confidentiality — Rand Hollon, Preferred Business Brokers; and Tax Implications of Buying or Selling a Pest Control Business — Dan Gordon, PCO Bookkeepers.

In addition, attendees will hear from representatives from the event’s sponsors: Arrow Exterminators, Liberty Pest Management Services, Terminix International and Massey Services. These folks will share their company’s philosophy as it relates to mergers and acquisitions. One of the most exciting aspects of this event is that it is virtual, meaning attendees can learn from the comfort of their home or office. For additional information or to sign-up visit www.pctonline.com/virtualevent.


This month’s cover story, “Reality Check,” explores the pest management industry’s love-hate relationship with reality television. As part of our coverage I interviewed Robert Mercante, owner of Rambug Pest Control, and star of the soon-to-premiere A&E series “Rambug” (page 150). (PCTOnline also has a 60-second preview video of “Rambug” available at bit.ly/MYolRW.) As you’ll read (or watch in the video), the camouflaged Rambug crew is a macho and high-energy group. And Mercante was blunt that “Rambug” was “not a protocol show” — that he wants people to see the “good, bad and ugly” of his business. In so doing, Mercante is aware his company is open to criticism. Sure enough, within days after posting the video, comments both good and bad appeared on PCT Online, including:

  • “Here we go again! Another set up for the cameras to make us look like clowns.”
  • “Our industry has a hard enough time being taken seriously by the public. We don’t need to be looked at like fools.”
  • “One thing I was taught in life and have learned is that you don’t go judging someone or something before getting to know them or seeing it.”

My first impression was that the Rambug crew depicts an image the industry is trying to distance itself from; however, this reaction is tempered by (1) not having seen an entire episode; and (2) not knowing what the cameras don’t show. If the Rambug crew can solve pest problems and improve people’s lives, then why does their appearance matter — it doesn’t matter to their customers.


The author can be contacted at bharbison@giemedia.com.