Behind Every Big Deal, Big Data

Want to be guilty of an understatement about today’s printing and packaging sectors? Just say that they’re data-driven. It’s an amazing change from the pre-digital production routines that many of us remember. Nowadays, everything that happens in graphic manufacturing—from job input at the Web-to-print portal to automated machine setup in postpress—rides a stream of data. That’s as it should be, because data-driven production is the most reliable and effective way of getting the work done.

If “big data” works this well for printing, it ought to make sense to apply the principle to bringing printing companies together in mergers and acquisitions. Backed by the right information at the right time, these deals can have a data-driven workflow all their own. At New Direction Partners, we rely on an extensive database of information about the industry to help us spot M&A opportunities and match them to the aspirations of our clients. We call it our “deal log”: our MIS, if you will, for structuring M&A transactions and carrying them through to successful conclusions.

Each NDP partner shares responsibility for populating the deal log with client data and keeping it up to date. We organize the database by region, manufacturing specialty, anticipated EBITDA multiple, and other criteria that sharpen our ability to pair clients with companies to purchase or to be acquired by. We review the deal log as a group each month to make sure that it is telling us what we need to know about M&A activity in general and the dealmaking profiles of our clients in detail.

In this way, when we commence a transaction on a client’s behalf, big data from the deal log gives us a focused path toward the client’s objectives. There’s no need for guesswork, scatter-gunning, or dead reckoning—the deal log points us straight in the direction of the outcome the client wants to achieve.

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  • Paul Gardner

    I love that New Direction Partners is using a data-driven workflow to create better deals.

    But there’s a huge and meaningful difference between data and "big data".

    Big data means, very specifically, a collection of data so large that it becomes difficult to process using traditional tools. According to Wikipedia that’s something north of an Exabyte, or one million Terabytes in today’s world.