Franklin Partners is a preeminent merger and acquisition advisory firm specializing in private company sell-side transactions.

Having sat on all sides of the deal table—as lenders, corporate executives, outside directors and business owners—we bring uncommon expertise to M&A transactions.

We understand the challenges of lower middle market transactions. We prepare owners and management for the rigors of the business sale process—and we manage the process to success.

We are adept at uncovering the unique attributes of a business, and presenting them in compelling ways. Our clients often create new market segments or find new ways to serve traditional markets. Their business models challenge conventional industry norms, and therefore require thoughtful presentations to convince buyers of their value.

We get beyond the usual suspects. We seek out buyers who will embrace fresh ideas. Our contacts include hundreds of buyers—public and private companies, family offices, and private equity firms with a broad range of investment themes.

We use competition to gain negotiating leverage and provide alternatives for our clients. We personally engage buyers at the most senior level to ensure our deal has their firm’s attention.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we have guided clients located throughout the United States to buyers around the world.


Our success is proven in diverse industries and sectors, and in many business models.


We have been engaged by service firms, including software delivered in a SaaS model, (Big) data and analytics delivered in a subscription model, and services leveraged with technology, in vertical markets such as healthcare, financial, education and logistics. Our clients have been young companies with meaningful market traction, as well as established market leaders that have reinvented their service models with technology.

We are adept at recognizing and positioning innovative solutions and business models—and the milestones and attributes that drive valuation—to capture the interest of aggressive acquirers.

FourCubed Management (affiliate marketing to online sports betting market), acquired by SharpLink Gaming, LTD (NASDAQ:SBET)

Inter-Tax, Inc. (SaaS fuel tax processing software and reporting services), acquired by Ceridian Corporation

PowerObjects (the largest Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner in North America), acquired by HCL Technologies (India)

Best Security (integrator of security solutions for retail industry), acquired by Prosegur (Spain)

Zepol Corporation (global business intelligence based on multi-national trade data), acquired by Datamyne, Inc.

The Weidt Group (SaaS tools and consultancy in energy efficiency for commercial and government buildings), acquired by EYP, Inc. (Long Point Capital)

BANKO (first nationwide live database of bankruptcies), acquired by Dolan Media Company

DCM LLC (nationwide database of deceased people), acquired by Norwest Equity Partners


Healthcare innovations attract investors and strategic buyers competing for the opportunity to scale these innovations and achieve promising high returns.

Smaller firms can realize high valuations without taking the execution risk, time and ownership dilution from building a full business model. We understand regulatory hurdles and qualifications, and we have important industry contacts and insights. We’ve obtained excellent outcomes with buyers who have the resources to scale the business.

Emerald Medical Services (Singapore-based engineer and manufacturer of complex medical products), acquired by IntriCon Corporation (NASDAQ: IIN)

Via Biomedical (manufacturer of specialty catheters), acquired by W.C. Heraeus GmbH

Top Tool, Inc. (medical component contract manufacturer), acquired by Cirtec Medical Corp.

CarTika Medical, Inc. (manufacturer of catheters and delivery products), acquired by Teleflex Medical OEM (NYSE:TFX)

Portable X-Ray and EKG, Inc. (mobile medical imaging services), acquired by a subsidiary of Otter Tail Corporation (NASDAQ: OTTR)

Vadnais Technologies, Inc. (leading manufacturer of precision coiled wire components), acquired by W.C. Heraeus GmbH

Inlet Medical, Inc. (laparoscopic surgery tools), acquired by Cooper Surgical, Inc. (NYSE: COO)

Technical Services for Electronics, Inc. (designer and manufacturer of specialty interconnect devices), acquired by Pfinsten Partners

Unit of Synovis Life Technologies, Inc. (medical product manufacturing), acquired by W.C. Heraeus GmbH

BIOMEC Cardiovascular (complex pacing leads), acquired by Enpath Medical Inc.

CONSUMER, COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL, DISTRIBUTION & MANUFACTURING (the leading DTC eCommerce retailer of decking materials), acquired by the Harbour Group

Bulk Reef Supply® (the leading marketplace for saltwater aquarium enthusiasts), acquired by Bertram Capital Management

Smith Systems, Inc. (innovative K-12 furniture), acquired by Steelcase Corporation (NYSE: SCC)

All States Ag Parts (largest DTC supplier of new, used and re-manufactured agricultural equipment parts), acquired by Kinderhook Industries

MarineTech (innovative after-market boating products), acquired by CMP Group (British Columbia), a unit of Ironbridge Equity Partners (Toronto)

Oxbo International, Inc. (manufacturer of niche harvesting equipment), purchased by Ploeger Agro BV (Netherlands)

Pride Engineering, Inc. (proprietary tooling for the can-making industry), acquired by May River Capital

Merrill Corporation, Real Estate Franchise Business, acquired by Xpressdocs (HarbourVest Partners and Polaris Venture Partners)

Pentagon Technologies, Inc. (technical cleaning services for semiconductor industry), private transaction

Electrochem Solutions, Inc. (engineered parts coatings for semiconductor equipment), acquired by a portfolio company of Aterian Investment Partners

Cherne Contracting Corporation (union contractor in energy and power industries), acquired by Kiewit Corporation

TricoTCWind, Inc. (maintenance and rebuild services for the wind turbine industry), acquired by a portfolio company of The Riverside Companies

Lakehead Constructors, Inc. (heavy maintenance in the steel and power industries), private transaction

Senior Advisors


Before founding Franklin Partners, Chip led a private manufacturing company with a direct-to-consumer model and with significant operational challenges. He was also the Chief Financial Officer of a NASDAQ company, and after graduating from business school, he was part of the acquisition team of a multinational, NYSE corporation (Owens Illinois, Inc.). Chip has been a board director of public and private companies as well as not-for-profit organizations (Minnesota Children’s Museum).

Chip is a graduate of Grinnell College and the Booth School of Business of The University of Chicago.


Joel joined Franklin 12 years ago, after gaining experience in commercial banking (Marshall Group) and from overseeing a multigenerational family bank. Joel is an insightful and creative dealmaker, with the ability to pull together competing parties to a common purpose.

Joel is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Carlson School of Business of the University of Minnesota.

Franklin Partners Inc.

222 South Ninth Street, Suite 3050
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402

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