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Flying Solo: Single-shingle M&A Advisor Michael O’Hare runs his M&A practice with no staff and is thriving


In 2019, New Jersey-based lower middle market sell-side M&A advisor Michael O’Hare reached out to Renee Becker, the founder of healthcare staffing firm Becker Health. Renee and her husband Dan had been thinking about selling their Pennsylvania-based business, and they took O’Hare’s unexpected call.  

“We weren’t on the market officially, but had been considering an exit over the years,” said Dan Becker, previously the company’s COO and CFO.

O’Hare continued to contact the Beckers quarterly. In 2020, Becker Health’s focus on high-level nursing created a multifold surge in revenue. The company wasn’t in the market looking for a buyer, but buyers started making unsolicited offers of varying degrees of seriousness. O’Hare advised the couple to put any transaction on hold since their business was skyrocketing.

The Becker Health Transaction

Becker Health’s revenue increased significantly over the course of 2020 and 2021, said O’Hare. “We had offers on the table, but saw the projections.” In October of 2021, O’Hare kicked off his M&A outreach process via Axial and confidentially connected with MedHQ, a private equity-backed strategic buyer backed by 424 Capital.   

In April 2022, MedHQ completed the acquisition of Becker Health. MedHQ is a provider of human resources and financial management services to healthcare providers.

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Running O’Hare Management as a Solo M&A Advisor 

Fast forward to March 2023, and O’Hare Management is running flat out. Over the past 18 months, Michael has advised seven business owners on the sale of their companies, and the forward pipeline is full. He continues to focus on transactions in the lower middle market, and works with clients with revenue of $5 million to $200 million.

O’Hare typically finds clients through extensive research on companies that operate in the IT service and healthcare sectors of the market, and then works tirelessly to find them the right buyer, at the right time. Given his knowledge of the sectors in which he operates, O’Hare will advise clients to wait to sell if he sees a better sale price down the road. “It could take five months or five years” based on the state of the market, he said. 

O’Hare purposely runs his M&A advisory firm as a single employee boutique — with no partners, no employees, no junior talent or back-end administrators — in order to maintain a “high-touch approach” with his clients, who appreciate his availability and expertise. Leveraging CRM, deal marketing systems, and data services make this approach to M&A advisory increasingly possible.  Clients who hire Michael value that they can work solely with Michael O’Hare, the founder of the advisory firm. “I want to maintain a pulse on each part of the process, and once I engage with the client we become a team 24/7 and we tackle the process that’s in front of us,” he said.

O’Hare said he works long hours to keep up the pace of his escalated dealmaking schedule, since dealmaking is his passion. “I have had so much experience with these deals that once I’ve got the right set of buyers engaged, I know what to look for and how to manage the process to a great outcome.”

Michael is a “bulldog for his clients,” stated Keith Squires, founder and president of privately owned cybersecurity consultancy PathMaker Group, near Dallas. “His ability to get a deal negotiated is a strength,” he said. “He also let the animal out of the cage at the right time when it was needed, and didn’t hesitate to state our case.” 

During an extensive search for an M&A advisor, Squires contacted O’Hare in 2018 after his growing company was “getting pounded with inbound inquiries” from potential buyers, he said. Four years later, in December 2022, Georgia-based cybersecurity services provider Simeio acquired PathMaker Group, with O’Hare advising PathMaker on the deal. Simeio is backed by Axial member ZMC, a private equity firm in New York.

“One of the criteria we had [when searching for an M&A advisor] was someone who could get down in the mud and do all that rough and tumble negotiating on our behalf,” Squires noted. “A Wall Street trader from New Jersey fit the bill pretty well.” 

2023 & the Year Ahead

The dealmaking continues for Michael O’Hare. In 2023 so far, he has advised IT consulting firm Sophisticated Systems Inc. [SSI], on its sale to private-equity backed IP Pathways LLC, a technology service provider in Urbandale, Iowa. He is also currently advising two ERP consulting companies on deals, one of which is set to close in March, an identity and access management consulting business and two staffing companies. 

Many of O’Hare’s clients, including Dan Becker, said they couldn’t have handled their respective transactions successfully on their own.  “Mike negotiated a very good deal for us,” said Becker, now the company’s vice president of operations, staffing and recruitment under the MedHQ umbrella. “He found us a great partner who is helping us grow the company. The timing was right to sell to a bigger entity.”

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