Walter Whitehead always knew the value of a dollar.
He recalls listening to adults talk about money when he was a child growing up in South Central Los Angeles. Their fixation piqued his interest and signaled to him how important it was to have.
It was a fascination that began early. Spurred by that curiosity, Whitehead unwittingly began studying finance long before he could drive, shave or even work.
Walter J. Whitehead, Managing Director at Madison Street Capital. (WW’s LinkedIn)
When he was 9, Whitehead checked out a book called the “Ultimate Credit Handbook” from the public library in his Inglewood neighborhood. The book taught Whitehead the ins and outs of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
He also learned the culture of money.
“It was always just apparent to me from a very young age that money is very important,” he said. “So naturally I was just drawn to finance.”
That natural inclination catapulted Whitehead, 35, toward starting his own investment banking firm less than two years out of college. He’s now a financial adviser who lends his expertise to businesses looking to close merger and acquisition deals.
It’s all part of his lifelong dream to improve the financial literacy of African-American communities to help shrink the racial wealth gap.
“I’ve always wanted to help shape, improve and evolve the habits of my community. I want their values to shift from looking rich to being wealthy,” he told Atlanta Black Star during a recent interview.
Mergers and acquisitions are a pair of intertwined business transactions that have been around for centuries. Simply put, a merger is two businesses consolidating ownership, while an acquisition is one company absorbing another into its fold.
When most people hear the terms, they think of billion-dollar deals involving mega-corporations like Exxon and Mobil merging in 1999 or Disney swallowing up 21st Century Fox two decades later.
But those are high-profile deals at the top levels of industry. Whitehead said M&As are far more common in the “middle market,” a large segment of industry carved out for businesses that gross between $10 million and $1 billion annually.
Middle market businesses powered the economy before the pandemic. They accounted for 30 million jobs and more than $10 trillion in revenue, representing about a third of the nation’s private sector GDP, according to Investopedia.
That’s the wheelhouse in which Whitehead operates as a managing director at Madison Street Capital, a Black-owned boutique investment banking firm. He brokers merger …….