How to choose the right M&A adviser

Choosing the right adviser is crucial for success in business transactions but it’s not an easy task.

In this article we highlight key factors to consider when selecting an M&A adviser, from comparing bids and looking beyond the price, to understanding the importance of personal chemistry and the advisor's independence.

Collect pitches from multiple advisors

Standard practice dictates a potential seller should request pitches from several advisors in a ‘beauty parade’. Not only does this allow for a price comparison, but it also helps sellers evaluate the different qualities and experiences each can bring to the table. Proposals at this stage provide an overview of how an adviser will position the business to maximize value, which buyers or investors they consider most suitable and how they will manage the process.

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Your M&A adviser should work solely in your interest and be free from any external agendas.

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This variance in approach is also reflected in the amount of time an adviser invests in preparation. The effort can range dramatically, from 100 to over 1,000 hours, directly influencing the sale value for your business

While the experience and knowledge of an adviser are important, their commitment to extensively engage with your specific case is vital. By choosing a partner ready to invest significant time and effort, you ensure your business is presented in the best light, maximizing its potential value.

Personal chemistry is key

Sellers will work closely with an adviser for many months – thus it is important that you feel comfortable with the person or team. You must communicate effectively and share a common vision for the deal. Personal chemistry cannot be underestimated in difficult decisions and negotiations.

Ensure the adviser is independent

Your M&A adviser should work solely in your interest and be free from any external agendas. A seller must verify they have no conflicts of interest and can provide unbiased and honest guidance throughout the process.

Look beyond the price

While price is a factor in any deal, it should not be the sole metric of your choice.

Most advisors charge a percentage of the sale value. If the fee of one adviser is one per cent higher than that of another, but they can generate more than an additional one per cent in value to the deal, they should be your clear choice.

Understand not all advisors are created equal

The M&A process may appear standardised – but the depth and quality of each step can greatly differ. The thoroughness of the work undertaken by advisors may vary significantly.

Consider the creation of a sales prospectus, for example. One adviser may simply use existing analyses of the company, which, while time-efficient, may lack depth. Another adviser, however, might choose to delve deeper, conducting comprehensive research to produce unique analyses that more convincingly highlight the true value of the company. 

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We don't hide behind jargon and complexity. Instead, we aim to open up the black box of M&A, illuminating the path with clear insight, simplifying the process, and delivering valuable information.


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