M&A Insights from David Braun and Other Experts

Latest Articles

Video: Synergy: Does 1+1=3?

In another installment of our video series, I discuss what “Synergy” really means.  Synergy is a word that gets bandied around a lot in the world of M&A.  When discussing potential deals, companies often try to justify a mediocre deal by talking about all of the synergies that will result.  Really, though there are only […]

Cisco – A Shining Example

There was an excellent profile in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal of Cisco Systems and its CEO, John Chambers. Cisco is a company that “gets it”.  In some of the most difficult economic conditions of our lifetime, Cisco is not hiding its head in the sand.  Here is Chambers’ philosophy: Even in this downturn, we […]

The Middle-Market on Top

It seems that in the world of private equity, middle-market funds are enjoying the greatest success in this bleak deal-making landscape.  The main reason given: …small and middle-market firms are getting the attention of the PE shops because they can be had without piling on gobs of debt Right now, they are also considered a […]

Be Brave in the New Economic World

A recent study confirms what we’ve been saying for months: companies that are bold in these troubled economic times will reap the benefits of their actions.  As the study’s authors state: “Companies with M&A in mind should be emboldened by our analysis: fortune favors the brave. Fears that M&A is riskier post-Lehman seem to be […]

The M&A Power Shift Continues

Back in December, I noted (and agreed with) one author’s proclamation that in the current economy, the balance of power in M&A has shifted from sellers to buyers.  The main reason:  With the credit market in a crunch, cash is king, and cash-rich companies hold a distinct advantage. As these survey results show, this trend […]

John Dearing on "Inside Maine Business"

I recently appeared on Jacobson & Katz: Inside Maine Business to discuss the current state of the mergers and acquisitions market, as well as the Capstone approach to the M&A process. You can view Part One here: And Part Two, here: To see other episodes of Jacobson & Katz: Inside Maine Business, visit

Video: Why Do Deals Fail?

At a seminar on the M&A process, I discuss the most common reason that acquisitions fail – and it might not be what you expect: Have you been part of a failed acquisition?  What do you think was the main reason that it didn’t work? Let me know in the comments!

Out of the Present and Into the Future

With the shaky economy, I am constantly hearing clients talk about how to get through the tough times now.  While this is obviously a valid concern, I caution them not to forget about the future – specifically future demand. Future demand is king for reasons that are self-evident, once you pause to think about it. […]

Valuation ≠ Price

I wanted to post a quick note about the difference between the valuation of a company and the price that you pay to buy that company.  This distinction came up after a conversation I had the other day with an associate who had difficulty understanding why he was looking at paying a different amount for […]

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 […]