This professional relationship is the most important for a business sale or purchase
Given the complexity of any merger or acquisition of a business, it follows that an advisor or business broker who can successfully guide clients through this process is worth his or her weight in gold.
But what are the elements that make advisors or brokers true professionals in this field? And what should clients expect from them?
Pino Bacinello, President of Pacific M&A and Business Brokers Ltd. (PMABB) says the real pros have a strong sense of self-motivation, whether it derives from “the joy of seeing the client succeed in the sale or purchase of the business, or clients they represent.
“However, one point needs to be kept in mind: the financial reward alone should not be the motivation. Instead, it should be regarded as a measurement of how well the M&A advisor or business broker has met the client’s expectations.”
Over the years, award-winning PMABB has earned considerable respect for bringing buyers and sellers of businesses together in a confidential environment and managing negotiations until a deal is agreed on and closing legalities are finalized—all while keeping clients’ interests at the forefront.
As a Mergers and Acquisitions Master Intermediary (among many other designations), Bacinello doesn’t hesitate to specify the attributes one should seek from an M&A advisor or business broker. He says: “Advisors should be knowledgeable, experienced and specifically trained and certified, with a keen understanding of all aspects of a transaction, including marketing, accounting and legal matters.”
Taking into consideration that no two businesses are alike, Bacinello goes on to note that a true professional “must also exhibit the ability to learn about the client’s company and the industry in which it functions in order to provide grounded advice on maximizing value, as well as providing the best marketing exposure.”
Equally important, these professional considerations should be matched by quality of character. “Trustworthiness and reliability are crucial to the advisor/client relationship, as are understanding and empathy,” says Bacinello. “Without these elements, the merger or acquisition process can easily turn into something quite unpleasant.”
With all of these assets combined, advisors are able to manage the intricacies of mergers or acquisitions, including assessing the real interpretation of market value based on the realities of the business performance and other factors; negotiating best offers or Letters of Intent (LOIs); managing the due diligence process; and resolving any issues that may arise after closing.
As with any relationship, that of the advisor and client can’t be one-sided, and Bacinello cites requirements for clients that are necessary to achieve a successful business transaction. “Mainly, they should respect the advisors’ knowledge and trust their guidance; if they don’t, someone else should be sought that they can trust,” he says. “Also, M&A advisors typically invest hundreds of hours of time in a business deal: so if you feel you must negotiate their fees, stop and think first about how many hours you would be willing to work for free.”
Finally, Bacinello warns business people embarking on a merger or acquisition to “stay away from money-grabbing schemes from out-of-country M&A advisors and brokers. Most often these schemes are designed to simply charge heavy upfront fees without providing performance in return.
“Also, avoid professionals who are not based in your geographical area of operation: they will not have an adequate understanding of your market, the local economy, or the competitive environment.”