David Braun


David Braun is the founder and CEO of Capstone Strategic and author of Successful Acquisitions: A Proven Plan for Growth. His specialty is helping companies grow through acquisition.

Through consistent focus on this one specialty, David has built up a formidable expertise that has led to an acquisition success rate way beyond the industry average.

David Braun is a sought-after educator who has been teaching senior executives and financial professionals for over 21 years. His live seminars and online webinars are in high demand, and his blog is widely read by M&A professionals, business owners and all who wish to understand the dynamics of growth through company acquisition.


Market Criteria, Market Research

Markets First

I always emphasize to my clients the critical value of painstaking market research and selection before considering individual prospects. Simply by conducting thorough research, you immediately separate yourself from the majority of company buyers and place yourself at an important competitive advantage. Choosing Market Criteria Choosing the correct market criteria may be tricky. Here are […]

Pathways to Growth

Five Pathways to Growth

As you focus your attention on the growth of your company, there are five key pathways to consider: Grow Organically Exit the Market Be the Low-Cost Provider Do Nothing Pursue External Growth Before you even start planning an acquisition, remember there are other growth options available. It is an important realization that you do have […]

Cultural Integration Publicis Omnicom

Publicis-Omnicom Merger May Face Cultural Integration Challenges

The merger between two advertising giants Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group has caused quite a stir. The two companies combined to form Publicis Omnicom Group would have stock-market value of $35.1 billion, making this the largest advertising merger ever. Although Chief Executive Maurice Levy and CEO John Wren both stress this is a “merger of […]

Recent Posts

LOI Agreement

The Letter of Intent: A Gentleman’s Agreement

The Letter of Intent is more than a document in the acquisition process—it’s a milestone. The LOI serves as an important legal document, but it also brings a new level of commitment and resolve to the deal. I would caution against leaving the LOI to the “experts”. Although you are deep into the acquisition process […]

The Opportunity Matrix

Your Opportunity Matrix: Dropbox Acquires Mailbox

The key to growth is future demand. Any acquisition you consider needs to take this factor into account. There are multiple ways to look at demand, and it’s essential to know which one is most appropriate for your company.  I use a simple but powerful tool I call the Opportunity Matrix. It’s a way of […]

Making First Contact with Owners

Making First Contact with an Owner

Making first contact with an owner and important step in the acquisition process. It is your opportunity to get your foot in the door and start a positive relationship that could lead to acquisition. So, how do you go about contacting owners? In my post for the ACG National Capital Blog I outline how to initiate […]

Negotiation Take Notes

Negotiation: Take Notes!

I cannot overemphasize the importance of writing everything down during negotiations. Once an item has been discussed and decided upon, have someone from each party initial the notes to confirm the completion. Maintaining a written record helps to keep everyone on the same page. Without such a record, you run the danger of having two […]

Questions for Negotiation with an Acquisition Prospect

Six Key Questions in Negotiation

Before you enter negotiation with an acquisition prospect, there are six key questions you and your acquisition team should answer: 1) What is the “big picture”? The key here is to have just one strategic reason for acquisition that you developed at the beginning of the acquisition process. 2) What elements of the “owner’s equation” […]

Striking a balance in negotiation

Striking a Balance in Negotiation

When approaching negotiation for an acquisition, it’s essential to establish the right mindset from the start. You should strike a balance between negotiating firmly on the one hand and protecting your relationship with the acquisition prospect on the other. Any potential deal suffers tremendously when the parties become combative. You can be a tough negotiator […]

Pick Up the Phone

Personal connection matters, especially when it comes to the first connection with an owner of an acquisition prospect. This first connection is a decisive step.  Handled correctly, it can initiate a positive relationship that may eventually lead to union. Handled poorly, that one phone call can terminate your opportunity to buy. When initiating contact with […]

Why Owners Say "No" to Selling

Why Owners Say “No” to Selling

I have rarely found an owner who, when asked if he would consider selling his business, immediately says, ‘‘Yes, I want to sell, and I want to sell now.’’ If you did actually get an immediate yes, this might well indicate weakness on the part of the prospect. Most often, though, the responses you will […]

Capstone Webinar Discovering Acquisition Prospects

Capstone Webinar: Discovering Prospects

As a consultant, I frequently hear the question, “How do I find good acquisition prospects?” Executives can be overwhelmed by the number and variety of potential companies.  It can be challenging to prioritize your search. This month, I will be leading a webinar “Discovering Prospects” on Thursday, March 21 at 1:00 pm EDT.  I will […]

Valuation: Flowers Food buys Wonder Bread

Valuation is a key component of the acquisition process that is widely misunderstood, because people tend to adopt a narrow financial perspective. Valuation should be anchored in your strategic rationale for buying another company in the first place. It all comes back to your business strategy and the synergies that will be created by the […]

Recent Deals: Berkshire Hathaway & 3G Capital Buy Heinz, Office Depot-Office Max Merger

Recently, there have been some fairly significant transactions, and I want to mention these and tell you what they may mean for corporate executives. The first deal we have is Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital acquiring Heinz for $23.2 billion. Really, if you include debt, that transaction looks to be just under a $30 billion […]

Conducting Quality Research

Quality Research: A Key to Successful Acquisitions

Quality research is an important part of the acquisition process. Thorough research allows you to fully understand the market and prospects for acquisition.  In the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) blog, I explain how to effectively conduct primary and secondary research, including who to contact and how to overcome challenges you may encounter during your […]

Conducting Primary Research The Information Dance

Conducting Primary Research: The Information Dance

Let’s say you have identified a specific company as a prospective acquisition. To get to know that company, you must do primary research, not just secondary (online or library) research. This involves getting on the phone and talking to people who deal with the company on a regular basis, and eventually to the principals themselves. […]

The Prospect Funnel

The Prospect Funnel

If you have started to look at individual acquisition prospects, you may be wondering, why use a prospect funnel? That’s to say, why pursue lots of possible acquisitions, rather than focus on just one? I have frequently been approached by clients after a deal suddenly fell through—a deal they had been working on for months […]

Pursuing Prospects with a Structure Process

From Markets To Prospects: “Taking The Emotion Out”

When you’re on the path of acquisition, there’s a shift that happens when you turn from the bigger strategic questions to looking at individual prospects.  Now you’re dealing with real companies and real people. At this point, I have noticed that acquisition teams tend to become much more emotionally involved—sometimes to the detriment of the […]

How long does an acquisition take 1140

How Long Does an Acquisition Take?

As you consider acquisition as a route to growth, you may be wondering: How long will the whole process take? This is one of the most frequent questions I hear when laying out an acquisition plan. The answer is never easy to pin down. I’ve worked on acquisitions that were completed in a month, while […]

Developing Prospect Criteria

Developing Prospect Criteria

As I’ve stressed  in an earlier post, I recommend including not-for-sale companies in your acquisition search. This will significantly expand your universe of potential acquisition prospects. However, with such a large pool, you must develop criteria through which to filter the prospects in order to narrow your options. The first step in establishing your criteria for prospects […]

Every Company is For Sale...For the Right Price

Every Company is for Sale…for the Right Equation

When a company is ‘‘not for sale,’’ that simply means it isn’t actively seeking a buyer. If through your search and screening process you discover a company that could be the right fit for your acquisition criteria, then it should be pursued, even if it is ostensibly not for sale. The central point here is that every […]

The US Airiways American Airlines deal is a Strategic Merger

Strategy: US Airways and American Airlines

The $11 billion merger between US Airways and American Airlines offers a striking example of current trends in mergers and acquisitions: strategic acquisitions. The US Airways and American Airlines merger is an all-stock deal that should bring cost benefits and synergies which allow the company to better handle fixed assets.  In order to remain viable […]

Capstone Webinar: Picking Top-Notch Markets

Capstone Webinar: Picking Top-Notched Markets

As, you know I am a strong advocate for the “markets first” approach to searching for acquisition targets. The idea is that before you look for a company to buy, you define the market in which you are going to conduct your search. The reason for first selecting a market is to ensure that there […]