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November 28, 2022

Auction processes in M&A are very challenging for strategic buyers and corporate development teams need more than a compelling offer to compete in an auction. This article will discuss how to run an accelerated M&A process featuring Kirti Gavri, Head of Corporate Development for Wizeline.

"When you are a public company, sometimes speed is your differentiator." – Kirti Gavri

Standardized M&A process

Corporate development teams need more than a compelling offer to compete in an auction. According to Kirti, speed can be a differentiator, which can help edge out the competition. In order to run an accelerated M&A process, it boils down to the standardized processes.

What worked best for getting it done with the desired speed is identifying and understanding the internal navigation or the internal organization well. Understand and define the stakeholders and the processes that would be used for each step through that deal cycle.

  1. Initial diligence request list
    Prepare the initial request list ahead of time because things move fast when approaching due diligence. They should be standardized, rather than starting from scratch in every deal. 
  1. Templates
    Prepare standard templates of LOIs, IOIs, approval matrix, and trackers. Templates allow teams to have a view of the transaction's status at any given time. Also, document and create a template for each deal type’s standard operating procedures.
  1. Identify key stakeholders 

Identifying the business sponsor and project manager participating in the deal ahead of time significantly helps speed up the M&A process. Also, have a standard M&A team. Assign one person in every function to be the point of contact for every transaction so they already know what to do and can start assembling their team. 

Initial due diligence

After signing an NDA, a deal team should have enough information to formulate the deal's strategic rationale and potential synergies. Team members and stakeholders starting that preliminary due diligence and preparing the business case internally in parallel makes a lot of impact on the timeline.

Managing red flags

To manage red flags effectively in an accelerated process, have a regular daily cadence with the stakeholders, not just the business stakeholders but also the diligence work, the legal team, and the finance team. 

This way, everyone will be aware of the red flags on the same day they are identified. 

Also, use a due diligence tracker. Trackers give team members a view of every work stream and who’s leading. Then, during meetings, teams can go through what key risks are identified, so everyone understands how each risk will impact other work streams. 

Integration planning

Always prioritize integration to ensure deal success. One of the best practices is to have a dedicated integration management office (IMO) that works closely with the corporate development team. 

The integration team should be actively involved in the M&A process from the due diligence stage, post-exclusivity. As soon as the integration team gets involved, corporate development can help them understand the assumptions made to the target company and the deal's strategic rationale.

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