Jamie, Jeff & John Davenport
Owners, Official Pest Prevention
“Find somebody that you can trust, who’s been through the experience before, who knows the ins and outs of selling a business. You can’t replicate the experience of PCO M&A Specialists. For something that was our lives’ work — we spent 22-plus years working on the business — to have somebody who’s done this over and over again is invaluable.”
Official Pest Prevention
Fresno and Elk Grove, Calif.
Jamie, Jeff and John Davenport
PCO M&A Specialists Helps Davenport Brothers Make a Tough Choice Easier
At one point, pest control was the last thing Jamie Davenport thought he’d do. In the 1990s, he and his brother Jeff sold pest services for a door-to-door marketing firm to put themselves through college. When they decided they wanted to start their own business, they had been selling pest control so long it made the most sense to open a pest control company. Originally from Washington state, they settled on starting their business in the Sacramento area after touring friends’ pest control businesses and realizing the city had a lot of growth opportunity. As they were beginning to build Official Pest Prevention, their brothers, Bill and John, founded a pest firm of their own in Fresno. Eventually, Jamie, Jeff and John combined both companies under the Official umbrella, and Bill exited the business.
The Decision to Sell
The Davenports thought selling the company was a long way off — 10 or 15 years down the road. But as valuations in the pest control industry rose, they decided to test the market in 2021.
“We told ourselves that we didn’t want the time we sold to be the only time we went through the process,” Jamie says. They consulted with PCO M&A Specialists Managing Member Dan Gordon in August. They knew Dan’s work from his writing in trade magazines and his newsletter.
“Things were going well — we were profitable and growing,” Jamie says. “Valuations were really high and we didn’t know if it was the peak or not. To our surprise Dan and his team got us an offer that we felt like we had to take.”
In addition to a great offer, the stress of owning a business, which can be difficult, made their decision much easier to consider.
“We felt like we had all our chips on the table all the time,” Jamie says. “The stress of personnel issues and liability took its toll.”
The PCO M&A Specialists team, led by Dan and Steve Linskey, handled most of the work involved with putting the board book together to go to market. Jamie says he spent three to five hours a week for several months getting the company ready to sell, and the PCO M&A team seemingly “worked around the clock” to prepare for the sale, throughout the negotiations and during the due diligence process.
“There’s no way we could have done it without that kind of support,” Jamie says. “I felt like Dan and Steve were super experienced and totally trustworthy.”
When offers began coming in, despite being pleased with the valuations, Jamie says it was a tough call to make and “there were a lot of sleepless nights.”
“It often felt like we were stuck between a good decision and a great decision,” he says.
In the end, the Davenport brothers opted to sell their company to Anticimex. For the time being, they are all still on board full-time to continue growing the company. Jamie adds, “It has been nice to feel like you still have a part in the business, but you’re not 100 percent liable with all the chips on the table.”