The May/June 2023 issue of DBusiness magazine features the success story of Blue River’s Co-founder and Managing Partner, Bryan Berent,  who was recently recognized by ACG Detroit as 2022 All Star Investment Banker of the Year

/ DBusiness Magazine/ At a time when deal flow in the M&A sector was hindered by high inflation and rising interest rates, Bryan Berent, co-founder and managing partner of Blue River Financial Group in Bloomfield Hills, says the firm had its best year ever in 2022. The middle market M&A advisory firm, which represents both buy-side and sell-side transactions, was founded 20 years ago.

Over the years, it’s developed an expertise across many disciplines including manufacturing, health care, and distribution, while cultivating specialties in software and industrial automation markets. Last year, Blue River completed 26 transactions — nearly double the deal flow from the previous year. Despite current economic headwinds, Berent says the firm will close 35 transactions this year.

“One reason we’re successful is that we have open and honest conversations; nothing is isolated,” Berent says. “Everyone collaborates, including in our hiring process. To keep growing, we’re adding professionals, and we continue to invest in technology.”

At the same time, Blue River is reaching a wider audience. “We’re building a better brand,” Berent says. “We hired a really good marketing director, which has led to more external branding. We do more press releases (than we did) before, and we’re on social media. We also had (just) one person leave in the past two years. It helps when people stick around. It builds momentum, and we’re not seeing people come and go.”

That consistency helped the 36-person team provide advisory services to several notable deals last year, including working with Prime Technologies Inc., a provider of calibration management software, on its sale to TMA Systems, a portfolio company of Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston- based growth equity firm with $3.3 billion of capital under management.

Mark Simner, CEO of TMA Systems, says the deal, which was announced in October, delivered on several goals, including a reduction in organizational costs, growth in the return on assets, and improvements on “overall time to value.”

In a separate deal, Blue River advised Grommet, an e-retailer and portfolio company of ACE Hardware, in its recent sale to GiddyUp, a performance marketing network that drives online sales among hundreds of popular brands.

“Over the last two years, we’ve been working with ACE Hardware to assist them with their spin-off and acquisition strategies,” Berent says. “Grommet was one of their spin-offs. It was a nonstrategic asset, and we were happy to take it to market. We found a number of interested parties and, as it turned out, Grommet was a very good fit for GiddyUp. Now ACE Hardware can look to invest in other opportunities, such as the service industry.”

Original content is available in the digital issue of the May/June 2023 issue of DBusiness magazine.

Bryan Berent is Managing Partner and co-founder of Blue River. Bryan brings over 20 years of expertise to small to mid-size business clients, and has deep experience in analyzing the financial, operational and investment components of businesses. He holds an MBA, with honors, in Corporate Finance and Corporate Strategy, and a B.A. in Accounting and Statistics, from the University of Michigan. Bryan’s full bio is available here.

Bryan Berent

Co-founder | Managing Partner

About Blue River

Blue River Financial Group is a middle market merger and acquisition advisory firm headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It assists corporations, private equity groups and individuals in the sale and acquisition of businesses, and has completed assignments in multiple business segments. With over 20 years of experience spanning across 50 global industries, Blue River provides a suite of services to middle market clients including corporate development, private equity support, valuations and transaction consulting, placing a premium on relationship-centered transaction counsel and client focus.