What is M&A research anyway?
Over the years we have had a number of ‘tag lines’ where we aim to explain what exactly we do in a few words. It turns out this is harder than we thought and we likely made some mistakes along the way. Although we work with hundreds of middle market M&A firms supporting their research and other needs I still talk to people every day who simply do not understand what we do.
M&A research – the umbrella term.
M&A research used to be an umbrella term for all things not directly related with the transactional elements of doing a deal. This has changed as the M&A research service sub-sector changes to also mean research on the M&A industry (rather than the deals that it is comprised of). Now more often, it is expected that an M&A research provider be conducting primary research on transactions, which is actually not what we do. While I am hesitant to make any changes to our brand at this point in our business’ life cycle, I can’t help but wonder if another associative term would be more applicable to how we actually help the middle market M&A professionals we have worked with all these years.
Is deal preparation the new M&A research?
When asked what we do in a non-technical setting (like a dinner party), my answer has little do with M&A research. In fact, I almost always end up using the term ‘Deal preparation’ i.e we help M&A firms prepare a deal before it goes to market. Although this is a simplified answer, it is accurate. Our core capabilities still revolve around helping the M&A professional get transactions to market for less money than the cost of doing it themselves.
This includes us supporting the following:
- prospect list building, buyer and investor identification
- industry reporting
- comp and valuation type projects
- CIM and Pitchbook prep
- recasting and financial modeling
- general analyst support (day to day back office help)
So, are we a deal prep company or M&A research firm? It depends on who you ask. While a growing portion of our business comes from supporting Private Equity groups as well, at our core we are here to make taking a deal to market less costly, less time intensive and less painful than it can be when you are running a small resource critical M&A firm.