Q: Who is the internal champion on the M&A team? What is their role?
A: The internal champion is an important member of your M&A team. Your acquisition team should include people from your own company such as the CEO, CFO, the internal champion, and functional leaders, and external experts such as lawyers, accountants, valuation experts, due diligence experts and M&A advisors. Each members is critical to completing a successful deal.
The internal champion ideally is the person to whom the newly acquired business will report. This person has the passion and responsibility for the specific business area and will have to live with the acquisition once the deal closes. The role of the champion is to provide overall direction to the team, keeping members informed of what is going on, pushing through roadblocks, and moving everyone forward toward a successful outcome. The champion should be the main point of contact with the seller and must have insight into the business and the seller’s motivations and concerns.
This becomes especially important during negotiations when the internal champion often leads negotiations. Understanding the seller is crucial to putting together the right equation for sale. Without understanding the other side it would be impossible to negotiate a deal and motivate an owner to sell.