Major transactions are transformational for their participants. Their outcome often depends on what key constituencies hear – and think – about what’s happening. We help clients to win the support they need.
Friendly mergers and acquisitions
Our firm has worked on nine hundred transactions in 10 years, including some of the biggest and most complex. We work with buyers or sellers or, sometimes both. We work with bankers, lawyers, managements, boards of directors. We address the needs of investors and lenders, employees, customers and vendors, regulators and communities. We’re built to jump into transactions instantly (though longer lead times are better).
Hostile and unsolicited transactions
Acquirers can prepare their campaigns. Targets must react instantly. We work with both, in the preparation and contingency planning stages, then in the back-and-forth as decisions are made. When hostilities commence, clients value our counsel, media credibility, market insight and regulatory awareness. We know how to influence stakeholders that matter. We’re on the winning side more often than most.
Contested shareholder votes today challenge a company’s independence, leadership, strategy and policies. Activist investor initiatives and governance disputes can cast boards of directors and managements in an uncomfortable glare. We have deep experience counseling them and working closely with their other advisors. The timing and form of communications differ, but the skills that succeed in transactions are equally effective here.
Friendly or hostile, these often involve at least two languages, two cultures, two currencies, two legal systems, two regulatory frameworks. We offer unique international capability, thanks to AMO, an international network of agencies like ours in the world’s business capitals. Working with them, we have developed protocols that ensure seamless execution and communications clarity in the complex cross-border environment.
We have worked with most of the world’s major private equity firms, sometimes visibly, sometimes very quietly. We modify our normal approach for the time frames and business strategies characteristic of private equity acquisitions. We support the business strategies of the sponsors. We support the acquired companies during their portfolio tenure, and take an active role when they go back out through IPOs or sale to permanent owners.
Deals are fueled by information – more than ever in today’s social media climate. We’re plugged into the influencers, the conduits and the buzz they create; we advise clients usefully on the environment they’re entering. Transactions develop best in secrecy, but leaks and rumors abound. We help clients combat the first and squelch the second.
Two dozen M&A reporters shape perceptions of most transactions. We have deep relations with them all. There are hundreds of bloggers and tweeters, sometimes they matter a lot. We’ve had success with them, too. We spend long hours with all media. When we can’t give what they want, we can help them to be accurate. They give us a willingness to listen and an effort to be fair.
Transactions go only as far as their audiences take them – investors and regulators to achieve a closing; employees and customers to preserve the business thereafter. They are all besieged by endless communication. We advocate simple, direct, what’s-in-it-for-you messages that cut through the clutter, delivered in the manner is most trusted at that moment.
What happens after a deal closes is as important as what happened before. Two organizations, the processes and their cultures, combine. This is not easy. Customers, employees and critical relationships are all at risk. We offer clients a range of activities and communications that support integration, anticipate misunderstandings, enable continuity and set the stage for an attractive future.