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  • TA Associates’ deal-sourcing prowess has expanded to add-on acquisitions and human-capital sourcing.

    Over TA Associates’ 50 years in business, the firm’s most defining capability has been investment sourcing - relentlessly sifting through thousands of deal opportunities in search of the best growing companies.

    The firm’s proprietary sourcing platform has increased in value as its mission has broadened. The generalist outreach from TA’s earliest days gave way to industry-focused sourcing efforts. Then, with the observation that add-on acquisitions have historically been key drivers of value creation, TA devoted greater effort to finding merger and acquisition targets for its portfolio companies (on a no-fee basis). This effort has seen significant success – in 2010, TA sourced one of five add-on acquisitions for its portfolio companies, but since then, TA has sourced about one-third of the 189 add-ons.

    TA’s sourcing prowess is often bolstered by pairing a talented executive from its network with the right leadership opportunity. “We can source an investment opportunity that may only be interesting with a new CEO, and match the two together to create an opportunity,” says TA Associates Chairman Brian Conway.

    Conway points to a recent TA investment as an example of this talent-pairing success:

    In early 2018, food giant Hershey acquired TA portfolio company Amplify Snack Brands. The investment began with a shared vision between TA and consumer brands veteran Tom Ennis, who TA had known for a number of years, to build a “better-for-you” snacks platform. After an extensive search, TA formed a partnership in 2014 with the founders of SkinnyPop Popcorn, who had created a successful snack product but recognized their limitations in scaling the company, and brought Tom Ennis onboard as the new CEO.

    TA’s commitment to expanding human capital sourcing for its portfolio companies has led to the hiring of dedicated staff to support this effort within the firm’s Strategic Resource Group.

    Describing the firm’s efforts to constantly improve and evolve its outreach capabilities, Conway says: “We can't be complacent; we can't stand still. We have this multi-dimensional asset that we can marry with our industry knowledge, helping us create unique investment opportunities.”