What does an M&A/corporate finance advisor do?

Kathryn Kane

A sell-side M&A advisor is there to support you – as a seller – throughout the entire process of selling your business, from understanding your objectives as seller, to finding a buyer, to maximising value and optimising terms.

The role of a sell-side M&A advisor encompasses three principal areas. These are: 1) making sure you’re transaction ready; 2) marketing your business to potential acquirers; and 3) negotiating and managing a sale process that realises best value for the selling shareholders.

Ultimately, the role of an M&A advisor is to provide professional, commercial and technical advice, together with emotional support, throughout the transaction

In the initial preparation phase, an advisor will support their client by assessing whether the business is in the best possible shape for a sale, critically analysing the performance of the business and preparing necessary documents to ensure that the business is marketed correctly and competitively. This includes preparing an Information Memorandum (IM), the marketing document used to showcase your business, its performance, products/services and customers. This phase also includes the identification of competing buyers, using qualifiers including financial strength, potential strategic fit, and track record of acquisitions. A good sell-side advisor should also have experience of similar transaction types, and access to an extensive database of knowledge of previous relevant deals.

Negotiation and deal management

An M&A advisor will support their client through the latter phases of the sale process by arranging exploratory meetings with buyers, negotiating the deal and supporting throughout the final purchase stages. The advisor will ensure the seller is fully prepared for meetings with potential buyers, assist in the preparation of detailed Management Presentations and chair the Management Presentation sessions themselves.

Once an agreement on price and structure has been reached between seller and buyer, the advisor will support you and manage you throughout Due Diligence (DD), ensuring accurate information is provided and questions are answered in a timely manner. Support here is crucial, as the buyer and its lawyers will carry out detailed checks on the legal, commercial, tax and financial standing of the company, to ensure it has fully evaluated any potential risks, to minimise the potential of any liabilities surfacing post completion.

Ultimately, the role of an M&A advisor is to provide professional, commercial and technical advice, together with emotional support throughout the entire transaction – right from your first interaction.  Clients who have sold through BCMS often talk about the “emotional rollercoaster” they experienced throughout the sale process, and you will need an advisor you can trust to support you through that with wise words, encouragement and dispassionate advice

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