Growth by Acquisition FAQs

Answers to common growth by acquisition questions and growing business value with acquisitions.

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Answers To Common Growth by Acquisition Questions

What is growth by acquisition?

Growth by acquisition refers to a strategy where a company expands its business by purchasing other companies and realizing associated synergies. It is also referred to sometimes as a buy-side M&A (mergers & acquisitions) transaction.

Why do companies use growth by acquisition?

Companies use growth by acquisition to increase the value of their company by realizing synergies. Synergies can either grow the top-line of the acquirer (revenue synergies) or reduce costs (cost synergies). Some common synergies include: eliminating redundant functional areas, diversifying product offerings, accessing new technologies/resources, entering new markets.

What are the benefits of growth by acquisition for the acquiring company?

The benefits of growth by acquisition for the acquiring company can include increased business value, increased market share, diversification of product offerings, access to new technologies or resources, and entry into new markets. The value per dollar of profit step up when larger companies acquire smaller companies can be a significant benefit for the acquiring company.

What are the benefits of growth by acquisition for the target company?

The benefits of growth by acquisition for the target company can include access to new resources, increased financial stability, and potential for future growth. The acquired company may be able to expand into new markets with existing products or offer new products and services to their customers.  A common benefit of the target company owner is a business exit at a higher value.  A strategic buyer can pay more than a buyer who is not going to enjoy synergies with their existing business.  

How does a company identify potential acquisition targets?

A company is considered a ‘target’ based on what the acquiror’s M&A strategy entails. Most of the time, targets are simply smaller competitors getting acquired for industry consolidation. Targets can also be determined based by valuation size, which is constrained by the amount of financing an acquiror can provide for a potential transaction. A company also can identify potential acquisition targets through market research, industry analysis, and consultation with industry advisors/M&A professionals.

How does a company go about acquiring another company?

A company can acquire another company through a variety of methods, such as a merger, takeover, or joint venture. The process typically begins with initial discussions and negotiations between buyers and sellers, followed by due diligence to assess aspects of the target company and deal details. If both parties agree on terms of the acquisition, the transaction is completed through a transfer of ownership.

What is due diligence for an acquisition?

Due diligence is the process of researching and evaluating a potential acquisition target before making a final decision to purchase. This includes reviewing financial information, evaluating the target company’s management and operations, assessing any potential risks or liabilities, and if appropriate making a final offer to buy the company. There are usually two main stages of due diligence- pre and post offer.  Pre-offer due diligence is limited scope to determine major points in the offer based on the information provided.  Post – offer due diligence is a full scope information review which covers a wider range and verifies information provided for the pre-offer diligence. 

How is the purchase price of an acquisition determined?

The purchase price of an acquisition is determined through negotiations between the buyer and the seller. The purchase price is often based on the target company’s revenue, earnings, and assets, as well as the buyer’s financial resources and the future returns from the company or combined entity. Multiples that are usually applied to an earnings benchmark (for example: 4x EBITDA) can be generated through the comparison of recently completed transaction prices.

How is an acquisition financed?

Acquisitions can be financed through a variety of means, including cash payments, seller notes, debt financing, stock, or a combination of these options. The specific financing method used will depend on the specific acquisition, the seller’s requirements, the buyer’s financial resources, the size of the acquisition, and the terms of the deal.

What is a merger?

A merger is a type of acquisition where two companies combine to form a single entity. The terms “merger” and “acquisition” are often used interchangeably, but a merger typically implies a more equal partnership between the two companies. When a company is rolled into another it is technically a merger even though one company is acquired.    

What is a hostile takeover?

A hostile takeover refers to a situation where a company attempts to acquire another company without the approval of that company’s management or board of directors. This can be a contentious process, as the target company may resist the takeover attempt. Hostile takeovers are less common in privately held companies but can occur when partners disagree on takeovers.  This is where the buy-sell details of a partnership agreement are critical.

What is a friendly takeover?

A friendly takeover refers to a situation where a company acquires another company with the approval of that company’s management and board of directors. This is often seen as a more mutually beneficial process, as the two companies may have complementary strengths or similar business strategies.  This is the common type of takeover found in private businesses. 

What are the risks associated with growth by acquisition?

The risks associated with growth by acquisition can include overpaying for the target company, integration challenges, and cultural conflicts.

How can a company mitigate the risks associated with growth by acquisition?

A company can mitigate the risks associated with growth by acquisition through thorough due diligence, careful planning, and effective communication and integration strategies. A strong integration plan and team is very valuable in mitigating the risks of an acquisition. Most importantly, buyers can consult professional M&A advisors to ensure their transaction experience runs as smooth as possible.

How does an acquisition affect a company's relationships with suppliers and customers?

An acquisition can have both positive and negative effects on a company’s relationships with suppliers and customers. It may provide the company with new opportunities, but it could also lead to uncertainty among suppliers and customers. The company should communicate clearly and transparently with suppliers and customers to ensure they are comfortable with the changes and to promptly address any concerns.

How does an acquisition affect the employees of both companies?

An acquisition can have a significant impact on employees from both companies. Acquisitions can lead to job loss or changes in roles and responsibilities and create uncertainty about the company’s future for employees of the acquired company. The company should communicate openly, honestly, and transparently with employees in the acquired company to provide support during the transition. The employees in the acquiring company may be unsure of their responsibilities during the integration or post acquisition. 

How does a company handle cultural differences between the two companies after an acquisition?

Handling cultural differences between the two companies after an acquisition can be challenging, but clear communication and transparency can help. Additionally, the company should try to understand and respect the values and practices of the acquired company, while working to create a common culture that aligns with the strategy of the acquiring company.

How does a company handle potential layoffs following an acquisition?

Handling potential layoffs following an acquisition can be difficult, but it is important to communicate openly and transparently with employees. Layoffs should be planned and completed in one step to avoid lingering concerns of remaining employees. The company should also try to minimize the impact on affected employees by providing severance packages, outplacement services, and other forms of support when possible.

What are the tax implications of an acquisition?

Acquisitions can have significant tax implications, including the tax treatment of the purchase price for the seller, the tax treatment of any goodwill generated by the acquiring company, and any transfer taxes. This is when consulting with a tax professional to understand the specific tax implications of the acquisition can mitigate significant tax obligations or penalties.

What are the costs associated with growth by acquisition?

The costs associated with growth by acquisition can include the purchase price of the target company, integration, and operational expenses. There will also likely be costs for specialized resources used in diligence, legal, regulatory, tax, and other areas associated with the transaction.

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