When most people hear the term “mergers and acquisitions,” the impression that comes to mind is a merciless corporate raider, who acquires a weakened corporate behemoth, strips the business of its assets, and fires thousands of innocent workers in the relentless pursuit of profit. This caricature is the gist for Hollywood films, but it holds true for only a minute fraction of transactions. The vast majority of M&A deals are friendly combinations between companies in the same, or a very similar, business.
The arranging, financing, and documenting of these combinations is a large industry in and of itself—employing a sizeable number of people in many vocations. The industry’s attributes—and the process through which deals are conceived and closed—thus merit the close attention of a broad cross-section of individuals, such as: