Member Highlight: Scott Estill

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ROLE/FIRM: Partner at Lancor

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Every month, we will feature an active member of the ACG New York community in a brief interview. Reflecting industry insight and personal perspective, this feature will introduce industry leaders and offer advice on the tools you need to succeed in the ever-changing middle market.

 

1. Quick Basics - Role/Firm/Focus/How long have you been an ACG member?
I have been an ACG member for over a decade and spent the last six years on the Board of the New York Chapter. Lancor is both a PE focused search firm and an executive lead, deal generation and investment angle creation firm. With offices in New York, San Francisco, Cleveland, London, Brussels and Dubai, we complete ~100 searches each year for our PE clients and work with them to both identify and diligence new investments by harnessing the insight we gain from our vast executive network.

2. What do you think are the biggest obstacles in the middle market today?
The biggest issue in the market today is based on supply and demand. There are record numbers of PE firms, traditional LPs making direct investments, family offices acting like traditional sponsors, and sovereign wealth funds investing in companies. The result is often expanding multiples and lower average IRRs based on these higher purchase price multiples. We help create conviction around new investments through asset specific, operational insight and partner with the PE firms and Executives on both add-on M&A options and ultimate exit strategies long before making the investment.

3. How has ACG helped you in your career?
ACG is such a wonderful organization because it brings together the entire M&A community and helps to facilitate transactions. Many of my closest business relationships started and were nurtured through the events put on by ACG.

4. Can you tell us about your greatest success story/proudest achievement?
I have built a few different businesses (from investment bank to merchant banks) in the past 20 years and much of this success can be attributed to the connections I made through the ACG community. I have enjoyed building a business where everyone wins. The executives have a much more fulsome and transparent look at opportunities. The PE firms gain better insight into how to drive outsized returns—before they spend large dollars in diligence. At the end of the day, we are incentivized to find the right deal, for the right price with the right team backed by the right sponsor.

5. What changes do you foresee happening in the middle market in the next 3-5 years?
The early bird get the worm. The best investors will be chasing deals earlier and more consistently to give them the edge they need to justify the multiples. The PE returns still beat much of the traditional public market, so LPs will keep providing capital and the key to success will be early angles to get the required conviction to pay the required multiple.