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44 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2019 And sometimes, it doesn't have anything to do with the global dynamics or economy; it has to do with what's going on in each company, such as, "It's a great time to sell my company because we just peaked out and we know that it's not going to do that again," or, "It's a great time for us to acquire a company because we want to diversify, invest, etc." Other times, it is the global dynamics, which are interesting right now. For example, I hear that some Chi- nese companies are looking to buy businesses outside of China. Do you see that? O'Neil: I've heard talk in the same realm, and I don't know what's driving it other than maybe pricing. The tariffs and cost benefits are prob- ably parts of it. There has been a consistent push from large OEMs that want some in- region capability and continuity, whether it's North America, Europe, etc. If they have engi - neering and development teams in Silicon Val- ley, and they're spending a billion dollars with a U.S. company, then they want them to make sure that they can have the service and support to take it through the R&D process into NPI and launch into low-cost regional production to capture and retain large opportunities. You need to be in a position to support engineering efforts, not just low-cost, high-volume produc - tion efforts, but I don't know that that's new. Feinberg: One of the things that I've been told by some associates in that area recently is that they are looking to either build or buy outside of China, and it's not necessarily the tariffs; it's just the general trade environment. I have also heard speculation that the agreement on trade between the United States and China is nearly final, but the Chinese don't want it to take effect for six years. Trump says, "No. The day we sign it, it takes effect," and that's what's holding it up. In other words, we're hearing that they're still trying to negotiate something. One of the thoughts is if the Chi- nese don't keep their word; would it matter? In six years, Trump will not be the president of the U.S. anyway. O'Neil: Yes, six years is a long time. Feinberg: So, why wouldn't China want to say, "We agree to pay you negative tariffs on every- thing, but it doesn't take place for six years." The global dynamics are interesting. There are trade disagreements, and a trade war, between the two countries with the largest economies in the world. If you take the two of them together, they would represent more than 50–60% or more of the global economy. One factor with any acquisition is the kind of technology you are getting; it is not just about sales but also future opportunities. Have you made some acquisitions with manufacturing? O'Neil: Most of my experience has been domes- tic, not international, and in the $5–100-million range, which isn't massive. But you touched on something earlier about if it's a good time for me to sell right now. I've heard about a bunch of places for sale, so if someone walks in with the Brinks truck, there's a discussion to be had. It's an interesting time in that the num- ber of founders who started in the '80s and '90s are hitting retirement and either having trouble with a succession plan or asking how much longer they want to be doing this. Right now, the economics are favorable from a buyer perspective, but from a seller perspec- tive, multiples look like they are up. But some- thing that doesn't support multiples being up is that there's a lot of availability right now. A lot of people are open to having those dis- cussions, and it's a good thing for people to consider what it is that they're looking to do. It's never a great idea to sell just because your multiples are high. Is it the strategic thing to

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