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60 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2022 Feature Interview by Dan Beaulieu D.B. MANAGEMENT GROUP M&A activity is on the rise and shows no indication of slowing down, even if interest rates climb. In the past two years, there were more than 45 deals. Where does your company fit in? In this interview with Dan Beaulieu, M&A expert Tom Kastner breaks down the market and who benefits most when it comes to buyers, sellers, and where you live. Dan Beaulieu: Tom, please tell us a little about yourself and your company. Tom Kastner: My firm, GP Ventures, is focused on M&A advisory services for tech and elec- tronics companies. I started the firm in 2008. My background is in the PCB and electronics industries, having worked for Hakuto, a manu- facturer of cut-sheet laminators. I worked for them in both operations and strategic invest- ments. GP Ventures now has five people—four in Chicago and one in Japan. We work on both sell-side and buy-side projects. Beaulieu: Tell me about some of the deals you have done in our industry. Kastner: I have completed over 10 deals in both the PCB and the EMS industries. We are cur- rently working on several sell-side and buy- side deals at the moment. Beaulieu: What do you see right now when it comes to M&A activity in North America? Why is there so much action? Kastner: ere is a lot of activity in the sector. I believe the main reasons are 1) an abundance of capital available for deals; 2) low inter- est rates; 3) the average age of owners is at or above retirement; 4) buyer confidence in man- M&A Activity: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

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