Situation: A company wants to grow by acquiring companies in similar verticals that have different but complimentary offerings. The targets will most likely be boutique operations. How should they target and prospect candidates?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Before you think about either targeting or prospecting an acquisition do your internal homework. Establish your strategic plan, including strategic capabilities that you want to develop. Look for synergies within your plan, and assure that any new capabilities complement these synergies.
- Will current customers be interested in the new strategic capabilities, or will you have to build or buy access to new customer segments?
- Determine the leveraging factors. How much incremental business can you expect to gain compared to current business? Look at both top and bottom line impact.
- Do a build/buy analysis to determine whether the capability is more effectively built using your own resources or purchased.
- Leverage both internal and external resources to develop a target list. Ask what current employees may be knowledgeable of potential candidates.
- Use your industry network to identify and gather information about candidates.
- Retain a firm to assist you in identifying candidates. They can approach candidates from a neutral position to assess interest in acquisition.
- It is critical to negotiate a deal that retains key talent. Founders and key staff of the acquired company must see the combination as a means to facilitate and expand their own vision. In many successful acquisitions you will see the following traits.
- The acquiring company did not change management, accounting methods, or operational procedures of the acquired company.
- They acted as a bank to facilitate pursuit of the acquired company’s dreams and already successful strategies.
- They took a “hands-off” approach with the acquired company and did not try to force cultural change.
Key Words: Acquisition, Candidate, Plan, Capability, Market, Customers, Leverage, Build-Buy Analysis, Target List, Talent, Retain, Culture, Compatible, Due Diligence