M&A Negotiation Key to Success: Remember the Goal - dummies

M&A Negotiation Key to Success: Remember the Goal

By Bill Snow

Buying or selling a business can be a messy affair. M&A insiders call it “making sausage” because it’s an ugly process with a tasty end result. (Well, assuming you’re not a vegetarian. In that case, think of a messily prepared falafel.)

As a result, those caught in the throes of a negotiation can lose sight of the end result: a closed deal. In fact, the experience of negotiating can be so frustrating that many people simply throw up their hands in frustration and scuttle the process.

But whether you’re Buyer or Seller going through the M&A process, set your sights on that final, satisfying goal of closing the deal. Avoid getting testy and try to tamp down the irritability that almost always comes as the result of a heated negotiation.

If you’re seemingly at an impasse, tell the folks on the other side that you’re not trying to be punitive, capricious, or unreasonable. Tell them that you understand a deal will only get done when it’s mutually beneficial to both sides. Ask them to sit down with you, face to face, to try again to hammer out a deal.

Seemingly dead deals have been revived because of a willingness of both sides to continue talks toward a creative, mutually beneficial deal. If you need to, hire advisors who have structured deals before.