First Date

In Merger & Acquisition activity, the anticipation of the first meeting with a potential Buyer may be very intimidating for the Seller. The Seller must be relaxed, open, honest and friendly; however, the Seller must be prepared and rehearsed to answer several questions:

  • Why are you selling?
  • What are you going to do after the sale?
  • Does the culture of the two companies fit?
  • How good is the future?
  • What are the hidden opportunities and risks?

The first meeting does constitute a preliminary negotiation and impressions are being made that will inform the parties throughout the transaction. There is a certain amount of irony in the first meeting in that the prospective Buyer will do most of the selling. The Seller must listen carefully and answer factual questions but does not need to aggressively sell. In the words of Jack Welsh, the Seller “might as well tell the truth, since everyone knows it anyway.”

The inevitable question will arise as to “how much you want for the company.” The answer should be left to the investment banker. The success of the first meeting for the Seller should be measured by the deepen interest of the Buyer to purchase the Company.

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