Joined Lanier Securities LLC as President/CEO

Jeff Villwock announced that he has joined Lanier Securities LLC as its President & CEO.  Lanier will privately place debt and equity securities through the direct solicitation of investors and provide investment banking services including M&A and corporate advisory services.   We intend to provide alternative investment products to individual investors through direct investment into companies and by marketing funds which will provide investors diversity and high yield current rates of return.

Lanier Securities is in the process filing a New Membership Application for FINRA’s approval to operate as a licensed broker/dealer.

This is a new era of capital formation in the US.  The JOBS act gives smaller companies a new opportunity to be properly capitalized.  We will use our experience to find good companies that deserve to be well capitalized, and then work with these companies through their life cycle.  It is our goal to become a firm known for raising capital for deserving private companies and assisting those companies to create value for shareholders.

This is an exciting time for capital formation in the USA and I believe we have an opportunity to make a meaningful difference for companies seeking capital and for the investors that wish to invest.

Fed to Investors: Economy So Bad, We Can’t Raise Rates 0.25%

When the Fed announced that rates will continue to be Zero, the stock market soared — for about an hour and then plunged.  Today down another 200+points.

Why?  Real simple — The Fed actually said that the world’s economy is so fragile that a meaningless rate increase of 0.25% was potentially a real problem.  And I’ll give them credit for being right about this — had the Fed raised rates, the Dow probably would have been down 500 points instantaneously.

Someone sent me this picture a couple of days back — and if a picture is worth 1,000 words, this one is probably what weighted on the Fed.
















This is downright depressing.  In the last 7 years, food stamp use has soared, as has the federal debt, the amount of money printed, student loans (which are future losses) and health insurance costs.  Obamacare reduces costs??  Really – don’t think so.

Déjà Vu All Over Again? Business Owner: 3 Actions to Take.

Yogi Berra was credited with saying, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”  The market rout this afternoon (Tuesday, August 25, 2015) felt a lot like 2008.  How should a business owner react?

While the 2008 crisis was triggered by credit issues in the United States, today’s crisis trigger is China and a plunge in commodity pricing.  Some of the commodity price pressure was also caused by a China slowdown, so at least for now, China is the epicenter of the crisis, rather than the US.

If you are a business owner considering selling some or all of your business, or if you want to raise equity or debt capital, what does this mean to you??

If we go back and look at a variety of financial calamities, there is one common denominator.  Whether it is the Russian debt crisis, the Asian currency crisis, the 1987 market meltdown, or the more recent 2008 Lehman Brothers, Enron financial meltdown, or last month’s Greece default and China today, investors step back to see what will happen next.  In stock investing, one learns not to try to catch a falling knife – it can be painful.

Banks always react after the crisis is out of control. 

Greece: Potential Implication to Selling Your Business

If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about Greece and how this tiny part of the EU is upsetting equity and debt markets worldwide.  But if want to sell your business in 2015 or 2016, then you need to be alert to what’s happening beneath the headlines.

As I write this today, the equity and debt markets are the strongest and most available since early 2007.  Private equity and corporate cash is at record levels and we are seeing more interest in good deals than perhaps at any time in the last 10+ years.  Debt is plentiful, cheap and relatively easy to get.  Prices are at or near record levels for private companies.

Simply put … this may be the best time in at least 10 years to sell.

But that could change in an instant.  If we take a look under the covers of the financial markets and talk to the decision makers, people are getting nervous.   Nervous is bad … all equity and debt markets rely on confidence.  What we all experienced in 2008 was confidence being flushed down the drain.  If someone in Greece doesn’t have confidence in their bank,

Lessons of the Italian Perspective

In the past six months we have had the great opportunity to travel outside the US three times – to the Dominican Republic, Belize and now, Italy. I’m writing this shortly after 1pm on our seventh day of this beautiful country – sitting outside with a mozzarella and tomato sandwich watching the people go about their daily business, which at this time of day principally means eating lunch.

Unlike the Dominican Republic, Belize and the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America, life in Italy is a different paradigm and it holds some valuable lessons for those of us living in the American culture.

Our first day was in Rome set the stage for six days in the Tuscany region of the country. Rome was important as a first stop in that the age of the country & culture was reinforced everywhere we looked. Our tour guide explained that one area we visited was a “new” section of Rome – meaning that the buildings were just 200 years old. It took me a while for that reality to sink in to my American brain. Most of what we saw was over 500 years old, and much of it in excellent shape.

Is a 9 to 1 Increase in Company Valuation Acceptable?

If we could work with you to increase the value of your company by $1,000,000, would it bother you if we were paid $100,000?

And we don’t want to get paid until you get paid, so we’re not asking to get paid on some theoretical increase in value, but an increase that comes from a recapitalization or sale transaction.

In fact, if we increased your value by $10,000,000 – would you really care about the $1,000,000 we would be paid. If you’re smart, wouldn’t you want us to get paid $5,000,000?

The way we look at this is that you get 9x what we get, yet we are in a joint venture / partnership where we assist your company. If we yield zero value, we get zero. If we help you create value, we get 10% of the increase – not 10% of what your company is already worth – that’s all yours – but 10% of the increase in value.

Can we do this for anyone? No.

We need to be highly selective about the companies we work with for the simple reason that we still only have 24 hours in a day,