The Chapman Story
Paul Chapman founded Chapman Associates in 1954. Since then, Chapman Associates has closed over 2,300 transactions with a market value in the billions of dollars.
In founding Chapman Associates, Paul Chapman defied the conventional wisdom of the day by selecting the media and broadcast industry as the focus of his business. Conventional wisdom declared that radio stations were obsolete due to the introduction of television. Instead, Paul believed industries in transition provide the best opportunities. He always said, “There is a buyer for every company if it’s offered at a fair price.”
Unlike other M & A intermediaries then (and now), Chapman Associates started out exclusively representing sellers and based its income on commissions earned from completed transactions, not from retainer fees. Paul felt that an intermediary had not earned his fee until the transaction closed. Paul also believed that in order to create a market for a company you had to confidentially present the opportunity to as many buyers as possible simultaneously.
In a matter of a few short months, Paul Chapman was not able to handle all of the business that came to him. He expanded to include another Associate in 1955. He reasoned that two Associates networking and sharing opportunities would be able to close more transactions than each could on his own. This approach worked so well that Paul eventually created an umbrella organization to provide the administrative and operational support to the growing number of Managing Directors that wanted to join him.
As the organizational demands increased, Paul Chapman withdrew from direct involvement in transactions in order to manage the growing company. This marked the beginning of a transition in Chapman Associates. During the 1970’s Chapman Associates grew rapidly, tripling in size in three years.
During this growth phase, Paul decided to diversify Chapman Associates and add the General Business division. Chapman Associates Media focused exclusively on arranging radio, television and cable deals. Chapman Associates General Business focused on arranging middle market transactions in all other industries.
In 1983, after twenty-nine years in the business, Paul decided to sell to three top producing media Associates in order to pursue his life-long hobby of historical research and writing on a full time basis.
The new owners of Chapman Associates, Inc. on Jan. 1, 1985, sold all of the non-broadcast general business division assets to Chapman Associates General Business, Inc. Joe Denny in 1988, acquired those shares not already owned and became the sole owner of Chapman Associates. Mr. Denny joined Chapman Associates in 1979 and became the top producing Managing Director in 1982. In April, 1989, the professionals of Chapman Associates agreed to provide maximum participation in client relationships, from first contact to closing.
Early on in Joe’s career, he decided to take Paul Chapman’s successful industry focus model and concentrate Chapman’s efforts on a different industry in transition – the transportation industry. At the time, the transportation industry was beginning to go through the throes of deregulation and there was a great deal of uncertainty about who would survive and how. Hard work, industry knowledge and unquestionable ethics helped make Chapman a leading M & A firm in the transportation industry.
Today in its seventh decade, Chapman has expanded the middle market industry focus to primarily include transportation, information technology, manufacturing, healthcare and food. This in additional to further industries served including insurance, wholesale distribution, business-to-business services and selected others. Chapman’s goal is to continue its growth while maintaining the highest quality of personalized M & A services.