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Rebecca Buckman  |  June 5, 2014
Buyout Power, with Bikes: CEOs Discuss M&A, Europe, Debt at Offsite

This week, nine top executives from Battery’s buyout portfolio gathered in Boulder, Colo. for a two-day retreat focused on cultivating best practices in today’s somewhat unpredictable—but mostly favorable—global economic climate.

The CEOs and other executives represented both software and industrial-technology companies headquartered in the U.S. and Europe. During sessions at the St. Julien Hotel, participants discussed topics including recent M&A processes and bid strategies; trends in European M&A; tips for building relationships with potential acquirers; and navigating the current debt environment. Presenters included Jesse Feldman and Chelsea Stoner, both Battery general partners; Battery Vice President Morad Elhafed; Jeff Tognoni, CEO of Jeeves, a Sweden-based ERP provider; and Russell Fleischer, the CEO of HighJump Software, based in Minneapolis.

The takeaways? Participants agreed that Europe can still be a fertile ground for both software and manufacturing-industry acquisitions, if potential acquirers understand and deftly navigate local business laws and customs. They also discussed today’s very attractive debt environment and key terms companies are seeing for acquisition financing.  On the exit front, there was a healthy debate around best practices during the sale process, as well as a period set aside for the executives to share war stories and experiences.

Buyouts represent about 25% of the money Battery invests; the remainder goes to early- and later-stage venture-capital deals. Battery has been building up its buyout practice over the last decade.

The retreat also included a 19-mile, downhill bike excursion along Boulder’s storied Switzerland Trail, site of a historic, narrow-gauge railroad line built in the late 1800s.

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