After an initial screening by our Business Development Group, interesting opportunities are passed on to our Mergers and Acquisitions Group for analysis.
If we continue to be interested we generally contact the seller or seller’s representative to arrange for an initial, and very preliminary, discussion between our Mergers and Acquisition’s group and representatives from the seller’s management team. In this, our approach is somewhat different to traditional private equity firms. By putting an early focus on cursory discussions with the seller’s management we avoid becoming involved in transactions where our particular strengths and interests are not useful or compelling in the transaction. We also find that this approach, management discussions first, helps us avoid wasting time on transactions that are being created ”on-the-fly” by third parties, as opposed to deals where management has already committed to a definitive disposition of some kind for the entity.
If our Mergers and Acquisitions Group believes the deal meets our criteria it is presented to the partnership at our weekly partner meeting. If our Mergers and Acquisitions Group can convince our Partners that a viable and interesting deal exists, things begin to move very quickly. At this point we generally issue a non-binding ”Expression of Continued Interest” and begin the process of conducting detailed due diligence before formulating our initial structural proposal for a transaction.
Throughout the process we try to tread lightly, understand the needs and desires of the various stakeholders in the process and, above all, always take the high road.