I and my partner are in the process of acquiring our first company as part of a wider roll up in the professional services space. All acquisitions will be in the same industry and closely related. I have been contemplating the pros and cons of merging companies versus keeping them separate. One key factor to consider is multiple arbitrage in each scenario. How does each option impact the valuation of the HoldCo when we exit? Does keeping companies separate limit the valuation? Is a 'network' of like companies less attractive to buyers than one, much larger company?

How would you value a network of companies? Would you simply value each company according to a multiple of EBITDA then add them together?

Any insight appreciated.