By: Yolanda Rivas
2 min read February 2020 — Orlando needs to promote itself as a hotbed for investors and companies as it enters more and more into the spotlight as a destination for private investors and venture capitalists. Historically, much of the local M&A activity has been on the sell side, said Michael A. Okaty, office managing partner at Foley & Lardner LLP, in an interview with Invest:.
Are you seeing a comeback of the corporate consolidation trend in the Orlando market?
Yes, I think that’s been happening for the last several years. We are seeing both consolidation of strategic owners who are trying to grow and consolidate, but also financial buyers, private equity and family offices that are trying to consolidate what would otherwise be fragmented industries into larger companies with more economies of scale.
We live in a middle-market city so more often than not we would tend to be on the sell side, representing a solid, family-owned, multidecade, multigeneration business that has gotten to the point where the founders are looking for liquidity and there are buyers, both strategic and financial, out there looking to roll up. Home-grown businesses based here over the last few years tend to be on the sell side. We don’t have a lot of large, publicly-traded companies based here, but we have a lot of defense and aerospace companies, like Siemens and Lockheed, but they are in a different league. Still, companies in Orlando, to the extent that they are engaging in M&A activity, are probably on the sell side.
What are the fastest areas of growth for the firm in the Orlando market?
Healthcare M&A, both in consolidation as well as provider practices and primary care groups. There’s also the area of medical office buildings, and we do a lot of work in the senior housing area. Healthcare and healthcare M&A is a really hot, growing area.
Private equity and venture capital, regardless of the industry, are also moving. They are looking at everything from diversified services like home plumbing and electrical to software technology, cybersecurity and health-related services. The interest of private equity and VCs in Florida, and Central Florida in particular, is increasing.
Another big area in Central Florida is simulation. Orlando is the capital of the simulation industry, both for medical and military simulation and engineering. The same kind of simulation that can be used in the military field can be used in healthcare. For example, surgeons are using simulation to practice surgery before actually doing the procedure.
Are there any particular areas where you are looking to expand your reach?
Real estate, the hospitality industry and healthcare. We have a major presence in real estate, and in particular in the hospitality industry, representing the vacation clubs that are based here in Orlando and the senior housing industry nationwide. We have a major presence in those areas.
To learn more about our interviewee, visit:
Foley & Lardner LLP: https://www.foley.com/en/offices/orlando