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Why Specialized Commercial Due Diligence is Vital for PE Funds


February 8, 2022

By: Kyle Johnson

2021 was a record-breaking year for private equity, with total deal value reaching $1.2 trillion according to Pitchbook, and it isn’t expected to slow down in 2022. With record amounts of dry powder in the market ($1.32 trillion as of September 2021), S&P Global states that the demand for deals is driving valuations up. Between the pressure to find the right deals in a market that is flooded with opportunity, and the high prices that have to be paid in order to win a deal, commercial due diligence is more important than ever in order to ensure funds are being spent wisely. 

A process that was once reserved for large cap funds with extra capital to spend on assessing a company’s potential end market in order to determine the soundness of the investment, commercial due diligence is quickly becoming a necessary standard operating procedure for all proactive PE funds. With this evolution of who is utilizing commercial due diligence comes the evolution of how it’s performed– no longer is it an activity reserved for generalist consulting firms. Private equity firms have discovered that in order to drive alpha in a sea of beta, smaller, more specialized commercial due diligence providers can provide them with more unique insights quicker. 

Going Deeper Faster 

Any consultant can accomplish commercial due diligence’s goal of providing intelligence on a target’s total addressable market, prospects for growth, competitors, risks, and other vital information through initial industry research. But specialized consultants with pre-existing industry knowledge don’t have to waste their time scratching the surface trying to gain a sense for the industry. Instead, they can provide a heightened sense of value by using their base knowledge to dig deeper and therefore provide more in-depth insights in the same amount of time.

This is why it’s no surprise that over the past 3 years, commercial due diligence has remained the #1 Use Case in the BluWave Due Diligence Index. Firms have recognized the long-term value that lies in going outside of their normal providers to work with small shops and independent consultants that can provide deeper insights faster.  

Providing a Head Start for Value Creation

Commercial due diligence isn’t just a process that helps PE funds make wise investments – it establishes a foundation for future growth. The average holding period for PE assets is five years, which is a sound reminder that funds are often interested in forging long-term relationships with the companies in their portfolio. This is why it’s essential for the commercial due diligence process to be more than a routine vetting exercise and a perfunctory look at a company’s market. It should help funds explore opportunities for growth and methods of adding value that can turn a company into something its leaders never imagined. 

By providing deeper insights into the nuances of an industry and having experience within it, specialized commercial due diligence providers are uniquely equipped to identify various opportunities for a target’s growth. With multiples at a historic high, this head start on value creation initiatives ensures your team will be able to hit the ground running and provide quick returns on the investments. 

Ensuring Available Capacity

In a market flush with M&A activity, we experienced deal surges in 2021 that led to provider scarcity, especially within the larger go-to commercial due diligence providers. A benefit of specialized commercial due diligence providers during these times is their more available bandwidth. Because they aren’t being run to with projects across 8 different industries, they have the capacity to take on the projects that fall directly within their sweet spot. Even when service provider constraints have strapped the market, BluWave has maintained a 100% fill rate with commercial due diligence requests. 

Over the past year, we have seen many firms that have resorted to a smaller, more specialized provider in times of scarcity permanently switch their processes going forward to always using a specialized provider due to the valuable insights they gained. In times where other PE firms are struggling to get the insights they need on the timeline they need, equipping yourself with unique insights quickly will provide you with competitive edge. 

 

Interested in seeing how we’ve helped PE firms by connecting them to the specialized commercial due diligence providers they need? Check out these case studies: 

 

We’d be happy to get started on connecting you to the specialized commercial due diligence provider you need, just give us a shout or use the “Start a Project” button in the banner above.