We may bemoan the higher airfares that will follow US Air’s buyout of American. But if your mid-market company is operating in an industry with poor economics, don’t be put off.
Acquisition integrations are just like major surgery. Precise execution and quick completion are best. Learn key approaches and leading practices.
Understand how customers will perceive news of your acquisition. Learn about the need for planning and costs to manage customer perceptions.
Hewlett-Packard’s $8.8 billion write-down of its $11 billion purchase of Autonomy Corp. is a stark lesson for all mid-market company CEOs who plan to grow via acquisition: Do your homework and then do it again because (unlike H-P) your firm’s survival may depend on it.
The acquisition success statistics are dismal, with about 50% deemed unsuccessful. The findings—neatly summarized in a Federal Trade Commission paper—are troubling news for mid-market firms who cannot afford the losses and headaches, which stem from unsuccessful acquisitions.
Beware of acquisitions for the sake of diversification. Such acquisitions carry significantly higher risk and complexity for middle market companies. Read about how to assess the level of complexity, and what you can do to mitigate that risk.
Hear Steve Bengstrom of PriceWaterhouseCoopers interview author Robert Sher on the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Start Up Show.
Why did you write this book?
Over the years, I've seen so many CEOs and entrepreneurs not even consider buying businesses as a strategy for growth. At first, I thought that they found it too complex, but so many CEOs do such complex things, so that wasn't it. I realized that it was...
Hubert Engelbrechten, CEO, gTronix
I read your book over the last couple of days and really enjoyed it. Great book! I can sympathize with every chapter. When I worked at Fairchild we built that company from a $550M spin-off from National through acquisitions to being a $1.6B company. When you have a chance I would actually love to talk more with you about your experiences.
Josh Eichner, VP, Framerica
I have read your book twice! It is incredible. I have let a friend borrow it and he called to tell me how much he likes it as well. You should be really proud of it. It is beyond informative. I loved it! I cannot thank you enough for writing it.
Dennis Heath, Founding Principal, MBH ARCHITECTS
Finished it and enjoyed it very much. Your pearls at the end of the chapter have great value for me. This will become a resource book for me.
Dennis Jaffe, Professor of Organizational Systems, Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco
In this era of cookie cutter business books, Robert Sher has written one that truly stands out. He puts the book into the framework of a true-life story about acquiring another firm. At each point, he offers general ideas that flow from what he actually did. Sher is thoughtful, self-revealing and has a style that makes complex ideas simple and actionable.
Rand Morimoto, CEO, Convergent Computing; Cyber-Security Advisor to the White House
What a captivating read ---I was only going to glance through it but couldn’t stop reading. I wish I had this book before I set out on my first acquisition; this is the type of candid information that helps you prepare for a difficult task. I related closely with many parts of what Rob wrote, and felt connected with the heart, mind and soul of a fellow CEO.
Paul Witkay, Founder and CEO, Alliance of Chief Executives
Robert Sher has created a rare opportunity for readers to get inside the head of a CEO. “The Feel of the Deal” is a wonderful story of how the emotional elements of an acquisition are intertwined with hard business analysis to result in a “win-win” result for both buyer and seller. Sher shows us how he combined rigorous financial analyses with the nuances of the “negotiating dance” that takes place between buyers and sellers. Any business owner wanting insights on the ups and downs of acquiring another company – especially a competitive firm – would find “The Feel of the Deal” both educational and enjoyable.
Jim Horan, President, Author, Consultant, Speaker, The One Page Business Plan Company
Understand the anatomy of a deal from a CEO who has actually been through the process multiple times! Robert Sher shares step by step how a deal evolved, what the important considerations were at each step, and what he did, what he did not do, ....and why. This book is a conversational dialog with a CEO. He has "offline conversations" with the reader throughout the book that really help us understand the feel of the deal! I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about buying or selling a business.
The "Feel of the Deal" is a very useful and user friendly anecdotal text for the modern entrepreneur. The book takes a basic practical approach to business and acquisition in a thoughtful way. The "Feel of the Deal" is a valuable handbook for both the new and experienced business professional.
Ben Casnocha, Entrepreneur and Author of "My Start-Up Life" Author of "One of the Top 25 Blogs in Silicon Valley"
"The Feel of a Deal" is an authentic, original account of the acquisition process in business. The narrative is accompanied by provocative reflections and takeaways. It's a good read."
CEO Insider Reveals the Human Side of Mergers and Acquisitions
“Treating people well has a big payoff,” says Robert Sher, mergers and acquisitions specialist and author of the new book The Feel of the Deal.
Businesses are bought and sold every day. Mergers and acquisitions have a developed a reputation for being brutal, callous and indifferent about the people involved. Are they really that fast and furious? Is it really a vicious world?
Robert Sher, author of The Feel of the Deal, knows different. In fact, he’ll tell you that the acquisitions he’s gone through have been long, deeply involved and extremely personal events -- daunting emotional and intellectual journeys -- that left him a changed person forever.
Robert Sher, an M & A specialist with years of CEO experience, captures the real story and reveals what goes through the mind of a CEO in a true life story about what happened as he worked to acquire another company.
The story is about romancing the seller and then buying the business. Sher discovers that buying a business demands all of the skills that running a business as CEO requires. That includes negotiating, thinking about how to best work with other people, crunching numbers, identifying the real motives of others, evaluating ROI of various investments and working to keep people up to speed on all sides. Here is a captivating story that recounts the candid details of what CEO Robert Sher actually did, what happened and what ultimately flowed from it.
Sher has a thoughtful, self-revealing and totally engaging personal style that makes the action genuine. His skills as an educator also shine and he makes complex ideas simple and actionable. He is incredibly disarming and truthful about what drives him crazy about M & A:
- Unrealistic Expectations. Too many buyers and sellers don't understand what a business is worth or how the process works. They waste a lot of time and energy for everyone.
- Bad Behavior. Buying and selling businesses is emotional. With emotion, bad behavior often appears. Dealing with this is difficult, draining, and can really hurt the chances of both parties achieving their objectives.
- Confusion of Guesswork with Facts. Buying and selling a business is a process of discovery of hundreds or thousands of facts and issues. As the onion is unpeeled, people tend to jump to conclusions and fixate on bogus positions or perceptions. That can lead to bad decisions and destructive negotiations.
- Faulty Communications. With so much being learned on both sides, using the right communication vehicles in the right way at the right time is crucial. Conversation is very critical which means heavy use of in-person meetings and the phone. “Deals don't get done on e-mail alone!"
The Feel of the Deal is filled with key strategic business advice that is important and useful to both buyers and sellers of businesses – including those who are even contemplating the possibility of an acquisition years away.