Changing the world of M&A is certainly a lofty goal but if necessity is the mother of invention, we have seen the institutionalization of M&A forcing new ways to generate alpha. Long gone are the days when you could simply lever a company with cheap debt and then pay off that debt to generate an IRR that would consistently beat the public market. The real owners of creating this differentiated alpha are the operators that have spent their careers in the P&L trenches. Many of the best private equity firms have seen this evolution first hand and so we have developed a unique business to connect the most thoughtful private equity professionals to these return focused, operationally savvy executives.
My “Aha! moment” came after spending almost two decades as an investment banker. We would spent a great deal of time working to win the right to sell an asset and thought that all of the answers could be found when building complicated financial models to spit out the true value of a company. In fact, the models could spit out any answer you wanted and after reviewing hundreds of models and comparing them to the actual outcomes, I realized that it was the operators that determined the delta between good, bad and even exceptional returns.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying "the only constant is change" and we believe this holds true in the world of M&A today. Perhaps we are changing only a small part of this industry but I enjoy being a river guide for the best Operators around the world as they think through ways to deepen their understanding of how to augment their career. This can often be accomplished without making a career change and done so through board roles, co-investment opportunities and equity participation. I have enjoyed this privileged position to make thoughtful connections between the world’s best operators and private equity investors and look forward to helping both groups work together to create this differentiated alpha – and to change (even a little bit) the world of M&A.
Scott Estill is a partner at Lancor and has more than 20 years of deal generation, M&A, financial services and executive recruiting experience. He leads Lancor's New York City office.
Through Lancor's Advisory practice, Scott and his team assist private equity funds with originating and appraising potential transactions, sourcing industry experts for pre-acquisition due diligence, and finding backable senior management teams.
Scott has worked within the banking and private equity ecosystem as a banker and by serving C-suite and board level multinational clients within the private equity and family office sectors.
Prior to Lancor, Scott co-led the NY/North American office at Skill Capital and co-led the executive search while building their deal origination practice. Clients included Apax, Bain, Blackstone, GTCR, New Mountain, Warburg Pincus and others.
Prior to joining Skill Capital, Scott was a Partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ New York office and responsible for building the same type of executive-led Merchant Bank and was a member of the Global Financial Services Practice. He was also responsible for middle market banking, private equity and real estate executive search.
Before joining Heidrick & Struggles, Scott spent ten years as the Co-Founder and Director of Coady Diemar Partners, a 30 person, boutique investment bank focused on M&A and Capital Raising. Based on his success at Coady Diemar, he was honored as one of M&A Advisor's 40 under 40 M&A professionals in North America. Prior to this, Scott was a Banker at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, Credit Suisse First Boston and Hambrecht & Quist.
Scott received an MBA from both London Business School and Columbia Business School and a bachelor’s degree in both economics and finance and business management from Gettysburg College. He also graduated from the INSTEP economics program at Cambridge University.
Scott is on the NY Board of the Association of Corporate Growth, a global organization focused on M&A deal makers (bankers, private equity professionals, lawyers, accountants, etc.) and business leaders with 56 chapters and over 14,000 members located around the world. He is on the Board of Unison Advisors, an independent investment manager and registered investment advisor that specializes in valuation based multi-asset strategies and the Board of BluWave, a private equity-focused consulting advisory firm. Scott also lectures for M&A and finance classes at both Columbia and Fordham Business School.
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