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TRANSACTIONS KNIGHTLY ENVIRONMENTAL MERGES WITH BLACKSTONE ENVIRONMENTAL Blackstone Environmental announced it has merged with Knightly Environmental. For the past 30 years Knightly Environmental, an environmental consulting firm, has specialized in the assessment and remediation of petroleum contaminated soil and groundwater sites across the Midwest. Knightly Environmental will expand Blackstone’s environmental consulting team, contributing expertise in Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, groundwater monitoring, site remediation

supervision, asbestos inspections, storage tank closures, waste stream sampling, and site investigations. Blackstone Environmental is excited to welcome Knightly Environmental to the team and to continue growing its talents to provide clients the best services and staff for their environmental needs. Blackstone Environmental is an employee- owned full-service environmental engineering and consulting firm founded in 2010. Blackstone is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, with offices in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.

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WILL SWEARINGEN , from page 1

solid base of options. But if you do get the itch to answer an email or a call regarding the sale of your business, just know that setting up meetings and exchanging information with external buyers requires patience, diligence, and – perhaps most importantly – a cool head. As a seller, you are now in a seat that requires you to respond to offers (with some sense of urgency) from external buyers. If you have other partners and next tier leaders, you are also likely contemplating internal ownership offers to them. This can be overwhelming! Unfortunately we see firms that are unprepared for the range of conversations that need to take place and miss great opportunities when they are right in front of them. If you find yourself pursuing an external sale of your business, keep a few things in mind: 1. Make sure your financials are clean and can be analyzed in industry context. Ensure your finance department (staff and systems) is tuned to be able to develop accurate reports on a timely basis. Understand that quality and consistency with your financials drive value and rapport down the line. 2. Don’t be offended by an initial offer that “seems low.” It’s a draft of something that takes time to shape. Negotiations are based on differences of opinion on value and other key terms. If it feels like a good fit, don’t let a lowish offer shut the conversation down. Find a few points that align with your goals and communicate those areas of alignment. Valuation is one thing, but risk sharing and deal structure really drive the amount you take home. 3. Know when to walk away. Many firms get caught in the dizzying activity of trying to sell externally and neglect the internal options. If the external market is responding in a way that doesn’t fit your expectations, be able to shift focus and build the necessary programs to grow your key folks so that option can become a reality. Sellers have the ability to respond to multiple offers. Some buyers start low. Don’t be offended. Remember it’s a negotiation. Know what you want. And if you intend to retire or cash in on your value, know what you need and work the problem so you can accomplish your goals. This requires planning and patience. Will Swearingen is a principal and director of ownership transition advisory services at Zweig Group. He can be reached at

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