Mergers & Acquisitions
Once upon a time, printing and packaging could get by without being data-driven, and so could M&As. This was because in those days, a lot of dealmaking took place locally. If you were a printer in Rochester, NY, for example, you probably knew personally all of the likely candidates in the Rochester area. If you were an M&A consultant, a well-thumbed Rolodex was your most frequently used tool. Personal relationships are still important in M&As, but the geography is bigger.
If you've decided to grow your business by acquisition, it follows that you're thinking like a buyer. But, can you think like a seller as well? You'll need to move nimbly from one mindset to another as you strategize the purchase that you want to make. Your own goals will be clear enough, but it will be harder to attain them if you can't also inject yourself into the thought process on the seller's end.
In this new editorial series for Printing Impressions, New Direction Partners will offer guidance in a business strategy that we believe every printer needs to be thoroughly acquainted with: the planning and execution of successful mergers and acquisitions. It's a complex subject and, in columns and blogs to come, we'll detail many of the actions that take place when two printing companies decide to come together as a whole that's greater than the sum of the parts.
In my experience, when differences about selling price and deal structure come up in M&A negotiations, they typically aren’t small. They can be reconciled, but doing that requires flexibility and seriousness on both sides. In M&As, learning through mistakes benefits nobody if the wisdom comes only after the deal has died. It's always better to grasp the opportunity with a clear-eyed understanding of the facts going in.
Calling the M&A market “hot to trot” would be an exaggeration at this point, but there are good reasons to think that fewer players are suffering from cold feet. Interest in transactions is picking up. Banks are more open to proposals for funding M&As.