He Did $1b in 2016 Transactions (Takes on avg 3%) at his M&A Firm Marlin and Associates with CEO Ken Marlin

Ken Marlin

In Episode #561, Nathan interviews Ken Marlin. He’s the founder and managing partner of Marlin and Associates – an award winning mergers and acquisition business focused on investment banking. They are headquartered in New York city with offices in San Francisco, Washington DC and Toronto. Ken is also the author of The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street: 11 Key Plans From Battlefield to Boardroom which was published in September. From 1971-1981, Ken rose in rank becoming a Marine Captain and Infantry Commander. He’s applied his Marine Corps principles to leading successful businesses.



iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Soundcloud, How to Subscribe

Famous Five:

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:42 – Nathan introduces Ken Marlin to the show
  • 03:00 – Ken is not doing it for the money
  • 03:13 – Marlin and Associates tries hard to be the trusted advisor to people who want to buy or sell middle-market, technology companies
  • 03:26 – Buyers and sellers pay Marlin and Associates retainers
    • 03:55 – “The bigger the deal, the smaller the percentage”
  • 04:20 – Ken shares their success in 2016
  • 04:42 – Marlin and Associates gets 8-10 clients a year
    • 04:58 – Marlin and Associates is service-oriented
    • 05:45 – Marlin and Associates negotiate with all phases of the transaction
    • 05:54 – Marlin and Associates help buyers understand the strengths and weaknesses of the companies they’re planning to buy
  • 06:21 – “We always try to play the role of the honest broker”
  • 07:09 – There are no risk-free transactions, so the question that should be asked is how much risk is there?
  • 07:38 – The average amount of transactions
  • 08:27 – The types of seller and buyers
  • 09:05 – The #1 reason a deal blows up
    • 09:31 – From a seller’s perspective, transactions are made from trust
    • 10:00 – It’s important that they have a set of financial projections they’re going to meet
  • 11:25 – “Perfection is to give people a set of forecasts that you’re going to meet and to meet it”
  • 11:52 – Key principle from Ken’s book is “take the long view”
  • 13:12 – There are people who buy companies without a clear understanding of how that acquisition helps advance them towards a strategic goal
  • 14:30 – Ken talks about the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft
  • 16:41 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. There are no such things as risk-free transactions—the question that should be asked is how much risk is there?
  2. Give your client a set of financial projections that you’re going to meet—and, meet it!
  3. Work around your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel
  • Toptal– Nathan found his development team using Toptal for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Jamf – Jamf helped Nathan keep his Macbook Air 11” secure even when he left it in the airplane’s back seat pocket
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives