SUCCESSFUL ACQUISITIONS

M&A Insights from David Braun and Other Experts

Latest Articles

Acquisition Goals

Companies buy companies to grow, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In reality, there can be multiple reasons for an acquisition. Here’s a snapshot of some of the most common: Increase Top Line Revenue – The ultimate objective in any business is higher earnings, and to reach that goal you will eventually have to […]

M&A: THE STATE OF PLAY

I was struck by Matthew Karnitschnig’s excellent article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. His opening line was perhaps an overstatement — “M&A is almost dead”. But the gist of his piece is right on the money. Mr Karnitschnig’s theme is the one I have been pounding in this blog for the past few weeks. In the world of […]

Why Buy?

If  you are contemplating growth through acquisition, let me offer one rather obvious piece of advice. Know why you are buying. At Capstone, we impose a strict and simple rule. Have ONE reason, and one reason only. A single reason, a single strategy, a single company: that is the discipline of success. Trying to fulfill multiple […]

External Growth — It’s Not Just Buying

My company Capstone is in the business of helping clients with external growth, and that usually means buying another company. But not always. It’s easy to miss a rich field of alternative opportunities if you just latch on to acquisition. Let me just focus on one of these: minority interest ownership. This surprisingly neglected tactic […]

Is It Growth You Need? Or Recalibration?

Common sense suggests that growth is simply about getting bigger — having more customers, more markets, more products and more revenues. In reality, a successful growth strategy should help you become increasingly focused and effective. Of course you want to increase your profits, but higher earnings don’t automatically flow from supersizing your company.  In fact, […]

A Follow-Up Question

  In my last post I was talking about perhaps the most fundamental strategic question: What business are you in?  This question actually goes beyond how you define your product or service. It extends to the kind of customers you are seeking. Here’s something I often ask clients who are looking to grow by acquisition: […]

Before You Buy, Ask Yourself This

  One of the most potent tools we use at Capstone to help our clients prepare for an acquisition is a set of seven strategic questions. They are so simple, so obvious, that you’d think them unnecessary to ask. Yet they are often skipped over in the rush to grow. Let me share with you […]

Acquisition Is A Journey — Do You Have A Map?

  The statistics are frightening. By most reckonings, 77% of company acquisitions fail. That failure rate has nothing to do with luck. It is the telltale statistic of widespread ignorance. Now when I say “ignorance” I don’t mean lack of expertise. That’s the paradox.    I often encounter clients who tell me, “Yes, we have […]

M&A 2009: A Book In The Works

  If you want to read a decent book on M&A, be prepared to spend $70 or $80, and set aside several days to plough through a heavy-duty tome for business students. There are exceptions, but for the average business reader there’s remarkably little to guide you through our world of deals.   So I’m […]

The growth ceiling

The Growth Ceiling And How To Break It

“Our strategic plan calls for us to double our size…” I hear it often. As a plan, it’s usually very successful in doubling the stress of frustrated executives. By massive efforts to improve products and smarten the marketing, they can get revenues from $100 million to $125 million. But $200 million? They pay lip service to […]

From “Doing Fine” To “Stepping Up”

The year is closing out and it’s budget season again, a time to look ahead to 2009. Despite the chilly economic climate, there are plenty of companies doing pretty nicely thank you. At Capstone we have a number of successful clients who have their current operations nailed down. Products are selling, customers are loyal and […]

Light On The Horizon For M&A

Dark times on Wall Street and gloom in the real economy… but for companies seeking external growth there are gleams of hope from distant quarters. Funds continue to pour into the US from abroad. I just spent time with an economic development group hosting a contingent of matchmakers from China — entrepreneurial types looking for […]

A New Monster Hybrid – Can A Merger Help?

I was asked the other day what can be learned from the possible merger of GM and Chrysler. Specifically, what might this union of giants teach the M&A market lower down the food chain? As I’ve said elsewhere, this is a time when corporate mergers can appeal to those struggling with a hostile economic climate. […]

The Rise of the SPACs

When it comes to funding acquisitions, banks are still holding tight to their money — unless you count the special case of banks buying other banks, which is causing quite a stir in the wake of the government bailout. The fact is, this is still a tough time for M&A, especially in what I have […]

M&A After The Vote

Writing this post on November 5th, one is bound to be thinking about the outlook for M&A under a new Democratic government. The people I do business with are looking at two major unknowns: tax and regulation. Both are cause for concern as the political map gets redrawn, and both may have a depressing effect […]

Mergers Or Acquisitions?

Watch out for one defensive M&A strategy in times of financial stress. Instead of selling, weaker companies under threat may seek mergers with other victims of the crisis. Expect to see quiet talks between struggling competitors, looking for ways to wring out the costs and create a new, stronger entity.

Why Are Banks Suddenly Being Nice?

A short while ago, banks were pressuring struggling companies and seemed only too eager to move them into the “distressed” category, or effectively force them to sell. Recently, there’s been a dramatic reversal of attitude. The last things banks want on their hands is a host of collapsing companies. So you’ll find a very liberal […]

Seller Beware

I’ve noticed some company buyers willfully slowing down the acquisition process at this time. Why? They smell bankruptcy in the air. The longer they can string out the negotiations, the more desperate the seller’s condition and the lower the price. It’s tough for sellers to defend themselves in this environment. I’ve noticed some company buyers willfully slowing […]

Private Equity Is Quietly Waiting

What I called “the wedge” in my post, The Wedge: M&A from $1B – $10B, is the natural hunting ground of private equity. And this is where we can expect the least activity during a crisis of credit. These buyers hate to put in 100% equity. They like a good measure of debt in the […]

A Buyer’s Market in M&A

In every crisis there are winners as well as losers. Today companies seeking growth through acquisition can pick up bargains — if they have the cash. Small, over-leveraged companies are choosing to sell rather than go to the wall. As for the publicly traded corporations, they are under pressure from shareholders to get out of […]