ACQUIRING A BANK - INVESTORS? ADVICE?
It has been just under a month of saying, "Hey, I am going to get a search fund together and do this (See my first post: https://www.searchfunder.com/article/viewarticle/6898)". And now, I am at a crossroads.
I've started by reaching out to my close contacts to share with them my PPM and Pitch Deck. I've been a bit opportunistic with others in the search fund community to share with them, as well, to get an experienced eye on it. However, simply by reaching out to my immediate network, one of my contacts, who is a CFO of a local bank, was suprised to see this. "Jeremy, I never knew you wanted to run a company. If that is the case, we need to talk in more depth". Well, we talked... It turns out, he had an investor that is looking to acquire a bank. Of course, I didn't put this as an industry to be identified, as the capital is too much to raise and I couldn't do this by myself. Through our conversations, we decided to put together an executive team that would acquire a bank and run it.
Fast forward to today. We set up a lunch with this investor. He is a very prominent investor and businessman here in the Los Angeles market. We had a 5-hour lunch over many bottles of wine and discussions (apologies if my writings are a bit amiss, but this is the reason). We plotted out the acquisition target, the strategy on acquisition and the executive team. He doesn't mind being the sole investor, but is open to other investors if they see it as a potential fit for their portfolios. He and I got along really well in many respects and is very easy going.
So, I ask a few questions of the group:
1. I didn't feel comfortable asking if he was committed enough to put in an initial investment (The actual search funds... We have an acquisition target, after all). This was because he committed to depositing $25mm in my friend's bank (The CFO) and he can see the deposit (I can't for obvious reasons). So, this was his commitment. Is this the right strategy? Should I be bold enough to say, "Hey, your $25mm in the bank isn't enoug - I need to see bank statements or a deposit to some escrow account"? I would be put off by this, myself, as an investor.
2. If, for some reason, he isn't committed, I feel as though I would be setting myself back several months should I put my search on hold. I've already looked at 3 deals and declined 2. I am vetting one out this weekend. However, if this is serious, it looks as though we are moving swiftly and, as long as the regulators are good with this, we should be a go within a few short months.
3. Is this something search fund investors would be interested in? We are looking at an acquisition of around $20-30mm, but we would also need additional working capital for infrastructure investment. The bank is cash flow positive, but we are building out to scale quickly and acquire additional banks. Please let me know your thoughts on this.
4. Does anyone have experience on this? I was thinking of setting up a Special Purpose Acquisition Co. (SPAC) to allow us to leverage the capital markets to make additional acquisitions. This may prove useful in the current Hertz/Robinhood era (if you don't know what I'm talking about, it's more of a joke), but the ownership wouldn't then lie with the investors. Thoughts on structure?
I have many more questions, but these are my biggest right now. Mainly, I want to know 1. Keep going on my individual search or trust this will go through? (All indications look like it will). 2. How can I get a commitment from someone like this to ensure I don't waste my time? Keeping in mind, it is a small community bank, but the platform is there.