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By virtue of their very nature, large conglomerates have all conducted M&A at some stage in their past.

Conglomerates are usually defined as a multi-industry company, and they’ve invariably become multi-industry through acquisitions.

Some of the biggest conglomerates in the world are now the companies that come up in everyday conversation: Mars, P&G, Nestle, Philips, General Electric and more. Below, we look at the ten largest acquisitions ever made by conglomerates.

By virtue of their very nature, large conglomerates have all conducted M&A at some stage in their past.

Conglomerates are usually defined as a multi-industry company, and they’ve invariably become multi-industry through acquisitions. …


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The rise of online platforms which allow people to buy and sell businesses has brought M&A to the doorstep of hundreds of thousands of small business owners.

The fact that profit-generating businesses can now be picked up for less than a million dollars means that deal making is no longer just the realm of blue chip companies: now a small business owner can quickly become a medium-sized business owner through a carefully planned acquisition strategy.

The key phrase here is ‘ carefully planned ‘. …


5 top IPOs of 2021
5 top IPOs of 2021

In economic terms, 2020 will be long remembered as one of the most turbulent of all time. But despite the turbulence, the year was a bumper one where IPOs were concerned. 2020 has seen companies as diverse as data analytics firm Palantir, online mattress retailer Casper, music publishing group Warner Media Group, and software company Snowflake listing. Snowflake was the biggest software IPO of all time.

This rush to make it to market shows no sign of slowing down, either: One of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in years — that of AirBnB — is expected to occur before the end of the year, having filed confidentially in August 2020. AirBnB has had a tough year, with tourism grinding to a virtual standstill, but investors see long-term value in the company, which could give it a valuation north of $30 billion. …


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The sometimes astronomical commissions charged by bankers means that there’s always an incentive to introduce technology to investment banking and the M&A process. Where some see high margins, the entrepreneur sees an opportunity, and increasingly that means bringing technology to the fore. A clear example of this is the numerous banking platforms that already exist, which bring the buy-side together with the sell-side, taking a nominal fee if a deal closes.

The ‘ digital disruption ‘ of investment banking may appear less obvious in investment banking than in other industries (it hasn’t wiped out investment bankers almost entirely in the same way that Uber has done for traditional taxi drivers, for example), but it is having an effect. …


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In a previous article on DealRoom, we listed the most anticipated Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) of 2021. But not all public listings are high profile.

For example, in the US, there are estimated to be a total of over 5,000 stock indices that cater to everything from small-cap regional firms, many of which you’ll likely never come into contact with, all the way up to the blue-chip companies listing on Nasdaq, NYSE and the Dow Jones.

What’s the attraction?

Well, probably the factor which links all of those companies in their desire to obtain a public listing, is that they want to raise capital. …


negotiation tactics
negotiation tactics

Every M&A negotiation strategy is just the sum total of the various tactics used. Having spoken to hundreds of dealmakers using its virtual data room services over the years, DealRoom has been able to glean some valuable insights into the M&A negotiation process and the tactics that the best in the industry employ every time they sit down to negotiate. Below, we share some of those insights, which we hope will be of use to anyone about to undertake M&A negotiations.

M&A Negotiation Tactics

  1. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
  2. Bring Empathy to the Table
  3. Price versus Terms
  4. Cool Heads Win Out
  5. Disregard Sunken…

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As a recent article on the biggest M&A failures showed, a lack of due diligence and value-destruction in deals goes hand in hand. In this article, we continue the trend, with more of a focus on the obvious lack of due diligence. The examples which follow, while not always listed among the biggest M&A failures, are clear examples of where everything could have been saved were it not for the absence of a proper due diligence process.

Almost inevitably, the first example is a deal which exemplified dot-com insanity:

HA-LO Industries and Starbelly.com (2000): US$240 million write-off

At the beginning of the 21st century, HA-LO Industries, a publicly-listed firm, was the largest company in the promotional products space in the world. If your company wanted to make sweaters, t-shirts, cups, pens or badges with your company’s name on them, the chances were at that time that you were going to turn to HA-LO Industries. …


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Negotiation is a sometimes overlooked area of the M&A process. Every time we see a public company which has been acquired at a price which implies a premium well over its market price, it’s worth stopping for a moment and considering that the premium was part of a negotiated price between both sides — and probably fiercely negotiated, by two teams of experienced M&A practitioners. Prices (and by extension, premiums) don’t happen by chance.

For this reason, whatever side of the transaction you’re on, negotiation skills could be worth anywhere between a few hundred thousand dollars in the lower middle market and literally billions of dollars at the upper end of the market. At DealRoom, we’ve found that much of the negotiations center around the details shared at the due diligence phase, which allow the buyer to see “ what’s under the hood “ of what they’re buying. …


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The Coronavirus pandemic may mark a historical inflection point for many industries, including mergers and acquisitions. Traditionally, many deals have been conducted through a combination of face-to-face meetings, conference calls and on-site inspections. Because of Coronavirus, two of those have largely become impractical (or impossible), accentuating the importance of leveraging technology in the M&A process.

DealRoom has also played a role in this ramping up of technology usage. It has seen a spike in the number and volume of digital documents uploaded to its clients’ virtual data rooms during the Coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that M&A practitioners are increasing the depth of their due diligence now that they can’t have face-to-face meetings. …


What constitutes a failure in M&A?

Simply put, value destruction. At DealRoom, we’ve hosted hundreds of successful deals. From our perspective, if the ultimate goal of M&A is value creation, the opposite has to be the destruction of it. There’s more than one way to destroy value, as the list which follows will testify. On this list alone, the best part of US$200 billion was blown on acquisitions which failed. Just think of where some of these companies could have better invested that money.

Failed Mergers and Acquisitions Examples

  • America Online and Time Warner (2001): US$65 billion
  • Daimler-Benz and Chrysler (1998): US$36 billion
  • Google and Motorola (2012): US$12.5…

Marsha Lewis

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