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Jul 9, 2019

Involve legal advisers early in corporate acquisition, sale process

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For sellers, preparation is essential to success in a corporate merger and acquisition (M&A) transaction — and engaging advisers in the early stages of the process is a crucial step in helping businesses anticipate what will be needed to get the deal done efficiently.

“There’s definitely more preparation required as a seller, and it all comes down to proper preparation and giving thought to how the seller would like the transaction to play out,” says Sapirman, partner with Torkin Manes LLP.

One of the biggest mistakes a seller can make, Sapirman tells, is not bringing their advisers on as early as it makes sense to do so — including, lawyers, accountants, or investment bankers, for example.

“Their advisers will help them identify weaknesses in their position, the challenges, and a good adviser will start to prompt the seller to think about how they deal with these issues,” he explains. “They will help give the client a sense of how the deal process will unfold, help the client anticipate what to focus on, when to focus on it, and consequently, take some of the pressure off of the client now that they are not trying to figure out on their own what is next in the transaction process,” adds Sapirman.

A good adviser, he says, will help manage the client’s expectations with respect to what’s going to happen, response times from the other side and whether the negotiation process is going well or heading off-course.

Indeed, one of the biggest reasons a seller may want to engage their advisers early in the process, says Sapirman, is to identify any skeletons in the closet that may need to be discussed or dealt with as part of the negotiation process.

“That can derail a deal, so, as an adviser, having that insight at the beginning is always a good thing.”

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