As our staff worked on this 18th annual Top 100 issue over the past several months, a few themes came to mind. With merger and acquisition (M&A) activity continuing at a feverish pace, we knew we would be providing comprehensive coverage of this topic. We also wondered what all of this activity meant to the thousands of companies that aren’t on the Top 100 list? No matter what type of company you work for, today’s M&A environment affects you in some way. Maybe there are fewer familiar faces at your local or state association meetings. Maybe you picked up an account or two because a nearby competitor was purchased. Maybe your phone is ringing a little more frequently asking if you’re interested in learning how to assess the value of your company in anticipation of a possible sale.

As such, we asked PCT contributor Anne Nagro to talk with M&A advisers, Top 100 companies and non-Top 100 companies for the article on page 20. In “15 Ways Acquisitions Affect You,” she explores the current M&A environment and how it affects all companies. From seeing more start-ups to focusing on financial fundamentals, it’s an interesting read to see how small, medium and large companies are making the most of this hot market.

Not that you need it...but do you want proof of just how hot this market is? This year’s Top 100 list, which ranks companies based on their 2018 revenues, shows that in the past 2½ years, almost 25 percent of the PCT Top 100 has been acquired/absorbed by another firm. Think about that for a minute…

  • It means hundreds of employees have new employers.
  • It means at least 25 companies have joined/re-joined the PCT Top 100 to fill in those spots.
  • It means a chance for owners of family-run businesses to both cash out and provide new opportunities for their children and employees.
  • It means merger and acquisition activity in the pest management industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

How do we know it’s not slowing down? Well, because up to the minute this issue was sent to the printer, we were working on an article about a new private equity firm entering the pest management industry. On April 30, Certus, a new pest control company led by Mike Givlin (who formerly was with The Steritech Group and Anticimex) arrived in the Northwest U.S. The company purchased two firms in the Seattle area in deals brokered by Kemp Anderson, Kemp Anderson Consulting. While these transactions don’t affect this year’s Top 100, Givlin told PCT one of the goals for his company is “to make it in the top 5 on the PCT Top 100 list in the next 10 years.”

That’s a tall order, but not one that’s unattainable. Take a look at Anticimex. The Swedish-based company made its first appearance on last year’s PCT Top 100 at #19 and rose to #12 with revenues north of $100 million in 2018.

Now back to the 24 companies off (or soon to be off) the list in the past 2½ years…

Nine companies came off each of the 2017 and 2018 (this year’s) lists. And since the fourth quarter of 2018 and this year thus far, we know of six companies that will be off next year’s list (Triple ‘S’ Termite & Pest Control, purchased by Anticimex in October 2018; Assured Environments, purchased by ServiceMaster in December 2018; Clark Pest Control, purchased by Rollins in January; Innovative Pest Management, purchased by Anticimex in January; Inspect-All Services, purchased last month by ServiceMaster; and JP McHale, purchased this month by Anticimex).

A few other thoughts regarding this year’s list:

  • There are four sets of ties this year (numbers 25, 59, 74 and 98), which is the most ever.
  • Keep in mind the list reports on 2018 numbers. As such, if the company has made changes to its number of offices or employees in 2019, it won’t be reflected on the list.
  • There are 14(!) companies on this year’s list that weren’t on last year’s. Most of them truly are “new to the list” but a few skipped filling out the form the past year or two for whatever reason. Just remember “new” is a relative term.

The author is editor of PCT.