Ep 29 Marcus Bailey on counter-culture business, investing in entrepreneurs, tall poppy syndrome

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Marcus Bailey says he’s always been a little different. When his mates got jobs in bars while at uni, Marcus got a liquor licence for his bedroom and sold discounted wine (before discounted wine was a thing).

This fascination with buying and selling set the foundation for his corporate finance advisory firm, Fortis Ago, which has completed $434 million in Mergers and Acquisitions in the last 18 months. 

Marcus shares insights into Fortis Ago’s work with VinoMofo, a high profile Australian wine marketplace, which included a sale and then buyback. 

He says M&A is like going to the casino; betting big, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. Dealmakers become “emotionally bipolar” - months are invested into a deal, and there are no guarantees of getting paid until the money is in the bank.

For Fortis Ago though, winning has been the only option. Key to the success has been the team's ruthless approach and fierce competitiveness. And also the Adelaide market which Marcus says is, perhaps surprisingly, “plentiful” for M&A work.

But working in South Australia has presented massive challenges. Marcus says battling Adelaide's “tall poppy syndrome" has become the norm, and ‘success’ is now a dirty word.

In response, Marcus started the Engine Room, an organisation to support South Australian business owners.

More information:

The Engine Room
Fortis Ago

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