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