M&A Insights from David Braun and Other Experts

Latest Articles

Taking Control With a Minority Investment

Recent news indicates that the federal government will “prop up” the major banks if they continue to falter.  This has some worried that these large financial institutions will be “nationalized”.  The government says that this is not the case: The strong presumption of the Capital Assistance Program is that the banks should remain in private […]

Cutting Costs and Treading Water

I recently read an article through DealBook indicating that the Obama administration will increase antitrust enforcement during its tenure, raising the anxieties of many on Wall Street. In the big picture, I don’t think this increased oversight will have much impact on middle-market deals – after all, it’s usually only the really big deals that […]

Free Webinar: "Finding the Right Markets for Growth" This Friday

This Friday, February 20, I will be holding a free webinar on “Finding the Right Markets for Growth” at 1:00 PM ET.   You can register by clicking here. In these tough economic times, market research and selection are vitally important to position yourself for growth now and in the future. Capstone Program Manager Gretchen Johnson […]

Smart Research Tips For Buying Companies

Thorough market research has multiple benefits for the astute M&A operative. It sets you apart from other buyers by arming you with crucial information when approaching prospects.  It also constitutes one of the early steps in the due diligence that is part of any acquisition program. This is a vital consideration. The conventional concept of […]

Why This Market and Not That One?

When you’re going after an acquisition, you need clear and compelling reasons— not just for your choice of target company but for your choice of market. The only way I know to do that right is to define your criteria in advance. Needless to say, your specific market criteria will be driven by the unique […]

Acquisition Strategy: Market Choice

Before you look for a company to buy, you need to define the market where you will search your target. Why? The fact is that in almost every business situation, growth follows demand.  The reason you pick your market before you choose your prospects is to ensure there is a healthy, stable demand for your […]

Why Buy A Company That’s Not For Sale?

When you’re considering growth through acquisition, it may seem obvious to focus on companies that are actively searching for a buyer. In fact, this is the most common procedure, widely advocated by investment bankers. However, it is an approach that will severely limit your chances of finding the right company. For-sale companies are often “for […]

Acquisition or Strategic Alliance?

You could assume that as an M&A expert I’m in the business of acquisitions. But I prefer to say that I’m in the business of external growth. Sometimes, growth is served by taking other routes than acquisition. One of those can be a simple strategic alliance, which can play a useful role in expanding opportunities […]

The Five-Forces Model

When we begin work with M&A clients on their Growth Program Review we normally use Michael Porter’s model, the Five-Forces Analysis.  This shows the five key forces acting on a company’s destiny: Competitors, Customers, New Entrants, Substitutes and Suppliers. This model invites you to look at the pressures on your business from several key perspectives, […]

Your Company DNA

At Capstone, we talk a lot about “company DNA”. It’s a big focus when we are at the early strategic stage with a new client.  At the outset, we encourage them to ask themselves, “What’s our DNA?” The company DNA cannot be read off a nicely worded mission statement hanging in your reception area. It […]

A Case For Negative Thinking

I once had a client that made fish products for manufacturers who in turn created packaged delicacies for the end consumer. My client was tempted at one stage to drift into making consumer products themselves. But they had absolutely no experience or competence in this area. It seemed just a step away, but actually there […]

Finding Your Core

Here’s one principle that Capstone lives by in its work with growing clients. Before you go buying someone else’s company, be sure you fully understand your own. This requires asking a few simple but powerful questions, such as: “What is your core competency?” Companies, like people, often have mistaken ideas about where they truly excel. […]

The Funny Thing About Market Cycles

Why do stock market investors sell when prices collapse and buy when prices soar? Why do real estate owners display the same irrational behavior? The math is hardly difficult. It’s better to buy when valuations are low and sell when they are high. Yet human nature seems to require that we run with the market […]

External Growth: The Creative Approach

Officially, there’s been a drop of some 27% in M&A deals in the past year. In reality, this number is skewed by the large deals. In the markets where Capstone plays — mostly deals under $1 billion — there is a drop in activity but not to this catastrophic degree. There are still plenty of […]

When To Sell, Or The Lessons Of Procrastination

Here’s a recent exchange between the two principals in an acquisition we are advising on. Seller to buyer, “So what’s your exit strategy?”  An odd moment in the circumstances. Usually, the last thing M&A buyers have on their minds is offloading the newly combined entity. Seems a bit like talking about divorce at a wedding. […]

The New M&A Consultants

In my last post I commented on the opportunity that has risen in the mid-market with the concentration of investment banking focus on major deals. There’s a chance for third-party advisors like Capstone to do more than fill the vacuum recent events have created. However, it’s important to understand what the gap really is — […]

Where Did All The Investment Bankers Go?

The short answer is: they got bought up by massive banks. The rapid consolidation of the investment banking industry is one of the most dramatic developments amidst the recent financial turmoil. The independence of the old IB firms has vanished, consumed by monolithic multi-function institutions like Bank of America. The real question is, what does […]


If you’re thinking of buying another company, the scale of your projected acquisition is an important question you need to settle early on. Your objective is growth, and it would be easy to deduce from this that the bigger your purchase, the better. Not so. You’ve heard the familiar question, “How do you eat an […]

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 […]


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 […]