CHAPTER 7 The Buyer Starts the Formal Acquisition Search by Alerting Intermediaries and Contacting Possible Sellers

Once the buyer has outlined its priorities, the time comes for it to enter the M&A arena. The resultant search process is a methodical grind through a wide array of prospective sellers, anxious intermediaries, and related participants.

If a would-be acquirer has followed the process outlined in the last two chapters, then groundwork has been laid, and the buyer is ready to search for suitable targets. A successful search program combines methodical hard work with occasional instances of pure luck; that is, “being in the right place at the right time.” But luck in the M&A business isn’t just happenstance. Being in the right place at the right time is the result of considerable effort. Sifting through prospective acquisitions, evaluating actual deals, stroking M&A intermediaries, and initiating direct contacts with other companies are just four of the ongoing activities that require time and expense. The situation is analogous to what a golf pro once told me: “There’s some luck in golf, and I found out that I’m luckier when I practice five hours a day.”

Laying the Groundwork

By way of review, an efficiently designed search program is preceded by these important determinations:

  • Proposed acquisition strategy. Having concluded that corporate growth can be fulfilled through buying other businesses, the buyer has made a self-assessment of its M&A objectives. Within ...

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