Global M&A Network recently honored the winners of the prestigious M&A Atlas Awards (USA) during a gala held in their honor. The independently governed awards recognize M&A excellence in numerous categories spanning value-creating transactions, outstanding firms, top professionals, and legendary leaders in mergers and acquisitions.
At the awards, Mike Firmage, Managing Director and Co-founder at Horizon Partners, was named Boutique Investment Banker of the Year for innovation in transaction strategy, process, and structuring. The significant recognition comes following prior receipt of numerous industry honors for excellence in deal making and client advisory. These include several “transaction of the year” awards as well as distinction as a Rising Star (M&A Atlas Awards) and Emerging Leader (M&A Advisor).
“Each leadership and professional award recipient is among the top influencers and change makers in the industry, with a distinguished record of the highest performance and deal execution standards, vision in shaping their organizations and industry, as well as a matchless combination of personal humility, support for the community, and commitment to excellence and innovation,” said Shanta Kumari, CEO of Global M&A Network.
Of the award, Mike said, “I am humbled to be recognized for the work that I have been so passionate about throughout my career and am grateful to past and present colleagues and clients for their contributions to the endeavors culminating in such an honor. It takes numerous hard-working and dedicated professionals to create award-winning outcomes and I am grateful to work with folks of that caliber at Horizon and at our client companies.”
At the gala, Mike and the rest of the Horizon Partners team were also honored with the Recapitalization of the Year and Boutique Investment Bank of the Year awards for their work on Kayne Partners’ and Kennet Partners’ recapitalization of Spatial Networks, developers of the category-creating Fulcrum App. In the transaction, Mike conceived of and architected the combination of a leading growth buyout firm that had historically focused on smaller buyouts and a top tier growth equity investor that had traditionally focused on minority investments. In doing so, he successfully brought the Spatial Networks board an investor group that would provide a diversity of thought, experience, insight, and expertise uncommon in transactions of this category.
These three awards come a year after Mike and the Horizon Partners deal team won multiple ‘Transaction of the Year’ distinctions at the M&A Atlas Awards and M&A Advisor Awards for Silversmith & Spotify’s acquisition of a majority equity stake in DistroKid. At the time of the awards, DistroKid Founder & CEO Philip Kaplan said:
“Highest praise for Mike. He’s able to assemble, finalize & close the most complex and stressful deals with grace. If you’re an entrepreneur looking at M&A opportunities for your business–and are lucky enough to be able to work with Mike–do it. Simple as that. You will be amazed.”
Since founding Horizon with Sandy Kory in 2010, Mike has led or co-led Horizon’s completion of over 20 sell-side M&A transactions — approaching $1 billion in total value — for founder-owned lower middle market technology companies. Based in San Francisco, Horizon specializes in sell-side M&A, predominantly for bootstrapped SaaS, mobile, and other tech companies. In many of the firm’s engagements, Mike and other Horizon professionals have served in a mix of strategic advisory and interim CFO roles before engaging M&A markets on their clients’ behalves, representative of the unique “artisanal financial advisory” approach that they have pioneered.
Mike developed his early orientation to operations-focused, long-term, and hands-on financial advisory while at Hillhouse Capital Advisors, a boutique financial services firm that he founded prior to Horizon. There, he served in deep operational roles – often living on-site for months at a time – at client companies during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. During this time, he closed multiple industry-changing transactions at a time when few deals were getting done. He attributes much of this success to the unique level of knowledge, strategic insight, and foresight only gained through feet-on-the-ground operational execution merged with the M&A process. He credits similar philosophies for helping his team deliver a level of work output and quality that have led to top decile transaction multiples in many of his firm’s recent engagements.
Mike holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, graduating with Distinction in Finance & the Law. He received a B.A. in Finance from the University of Utah where he graduated with highest honors.