Bridgepoint Merchant Banking

A Des Moines, Iowa-based investment banking and private equity firm

About Bridgepoint Merchant Banking

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking is a private equity and investment banking company that provides mergers and acquisitions, capital acquisitions, capital raising, and corporate advisory services. The company mainly targets lower and middle-market investment firms. It was founded in 2006 by Adam Claypool and Matt Plooster, who currently serve as managing principals of the firm.

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking

According to the company’s website, Bridgepoint’s principals list more than 117 years of combined experience in investment banking, with over 169 completed transactions, valued at a total of more than $158 billion. The firm operates as a division of Bridgepoint Holdings, LLC and is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

Services Offered by Bridgepoint Merchant Banking

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking offers the following services:

Mergers and Acquisitions

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking works with companies exploring strategic alternatives such as mergers and acquisitions of other businesses to increase their market dominance. Since its inception, the firm has transacted M&A deals exceeding $36 billion. It has a network of buyers, from family businesses, private equity firms, and other companies planning to make acquisitions of new listings.

The company’s M&A branch provides services in buy-side advisory, sell-side advisory, recapitalizations, leveraged buyouts, and management buyouts. On the sell-side, Bridgepoint targets transactions in the $1 million to $20 million EBITDA range, while on the buy-side it targets transactions in the $5 million to $500 million bracket.

Capital Raising

The private equity firm helps companies raise capital for expansion or to facilitate the acquisition of other small firms. Areas of expertise under capital raising include equity, senior debt, subordinated debt, venture capital,  and mezzanine financing. Cumulatively, Bridgepoint has raised over $74 billion in capital for its clients. The firm maintains strong relationships with potential institutions for capital sourcing, including private equity firms, family offices, venture capital firms, angel investor networks, and banks.

Bridgepoint is also a source of direct investment capital for companies seeking to grow through debt restructuring and equity injection. It invests capital directly into companies through its proprietary private equity and venture capital funds.

Advisory Services

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking provides advisory services in various areas to companies seeking to grow, raise capital, or change ownership. The firm’s roster of professionals has advised on more than $158 billion in transactions over the years. The company’s advisory branch provides debt capacity analysis, recapitalization analysis, equity financing planning, and M&A services, as well as complex financial modeling.

Recent Transactions

$60m Financing for TransWood Carriers, Inc.

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking recently completed a $60-million global refinancing deal with Transwood Carriers, Inc., acting as the sole financing arranger. The firm worked with its network of financiers to source capital to finance the transaction. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch financed the transaction.

$45m Uni-tranche Facility to Support Dividend Recapitalization

Bridgepoint’s principals, in their roles as registered representatives of M&A Securities Group, were the sole financing arrangers for a $45-million Unitranche dividend recapitalization for a family-owned business located in Omaha.

Capital Raising for ScoreVision

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking acted as the sole advisor to ScoreVision, an Omaha-based technology company, during its capital raising. The transaction’s terms were not disclosed. ScoreVision uses an app-driven system and digital ad-sequencing software to operate jumbotrons for schools and sports facilities.

Bridgepoint Merchant Banking’s Management

Adam Claypool

Adam Claypool is the co-founder and managing principal of Bridgepoint Merchant Banking. He has nine years of experience in private equity fund management and has created and managed two private equity funds. Claypool holds FINRA Series 7, 63, 65, and 79 licenses. Since the creation of Bridgepoint, he has completed over 40 transactions and has raised over $450 million in capital over the last seven years.

Apart from Bridgepoint, Claypool also serves on seven corporate and non-profit boards. Recently, he was appointed as a mentor for the Des Moines Global Insurance Accelerator. An alumnus of the University of Iowa, he also sits on the Governance and Audit committee of Iowa Innovation Corporation.

Matt Plooster

Matt Plooster is a managing principal and co-founder of Bridgepoint Merchant Banking. Previously, he worked in Morgan Stanley’s IBD and the Global IBD at Deutsche Bank Securities. He has over 14 years of experience in investment banking, as well as four years of experience in private equity fund management.

Plooster has completed over $41 billion worth of transactions, both in capital raising and in M&A. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and is an alumnus of the Columbia Business School. He holds FINRA series 7, 63, and 79 licenses.

Wm. Lee Merritt

Wm. Lee Merritt serves as a managing principal at Bridgepoint Merchant Banking. His core expertise includes business planning, transitioning, and financing activities. Before joining Bridgepoint, Merritt worked as the Senior Director and Vice President of business development at First National Bank. His other previous roles include managing partner in M&A and business law in Woods & Aitken and tax accountant at Touché Ross & Co. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska.

James Mackay

James Mackay serves as a managing principal at Bridgepoint. His specialties include investment banking, corporate finance, and consulting. Before joining Bridgepoint, Mackay served as the President and CEO of a $5.6 billion advisory firm and as Senior Vice President at H&R Block Financial Advisors. He also founded a regional securities firm and three venture capital funds. Mackay holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. He holds FINRA Series 7, 63, and 79 licenses.

Joe Liss

Joe Liss serves as the transactional principal at Bridgepoint. His areas of expertise include investment banking, all areas of M&A, and corporate finance transactions. He’s completed over $62 billion worth of M&A and capital-raising transactions.

Liss previously worked as the head of Deutsche Bank’s Chicago M&A group. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Liss holds FINRA Series 7, 63, and 79 licenses.

Related readings

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