Creating an M&A Deal Team: Who You Need to Include

February 07, 2019 by Josh Hrala

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Mergers and acquisitions take an immense amount of planning if they are to be successful. In order to manage all of the moving parts, it’s always a great idea to create an mergers and acquisitions deal team that consists of experts in various topics to ensure that the business thrives before, during, and after the event.

So who do you need on your very own mergers and acquisitions deal team? Where is HR’s role in the whole process?

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To better understand what roles make for a great, well-rounded mergers and acquisitions deal team, we must first take a look at what they are why they are so important to the process.

What Is a Mergers and Acquisitions Deal Team?

Sometimes called the ‘M&A organization,’ the mergers and acquisitions deal team is a group of individuals who specialize in specific areas that impact the overall success rate of the merger or acquisition.

For example, some organizations may need an outside adviser to help guide the whole process. Some may need extra legal counsel because they are purchasing a large company. Others may need more investment to make the purchase of a another business possible.

In other words, who is on the mergers and acquisitions deal team is dependent on what two businesses are merging. However, there are a few key roles that every team should consider having onboard, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Why Are Mergers and Acquisitions Deal Teams Important?

The importance of a strong, well-rounded deal team cannot be stressed enough. Despite what the general public may think about M&A, most of the time business moves like these fail.

Why? Because most organizations do not take the time to careful plan their merger or acquisition in a way that pays close attention to literally every step of the process. Instead, they handle one area of the move extremely well, but then fail to have an integration plan on paper or a way to check for redundancies in their workforce.

post-acquisition integration checklist

With an event of this nature, a mergers and acquisitions deal team can help create and manage a process that pays attention to every aspect of the move, including the financial concerns, management concerns, and things of that nature. Without a team in place, things can fall to the wayside, which neither company involved wants to happen.

Who to Include in Your Mergers and Acquisitions Deal Team?

With all that said, who needs to be on your own personal deal team?

Like we said above, your team can end up being as large or as small as your business needs. However, there are some key roles that should be included regardless. To help provide an overview of how a deal team works, we’ll focus on those roles here.

An Adviser/Leader

The first role belongs to someone on the team who thoroughly understands the merger and acquisition process from start to finish that can help you orchestrate the deal from the ground up. This individual is usually an outside adviser who has managed countless deals in the past.

mergers and acquisitions deal team

Basically, this role is designated to someone with experience in all types of business deals that can help the executive team understand and plan the merger or acquisition in a way that fits the business’s needs and goals for the future.

This person should have the authority to work with everyone involved in the team and not be a simple background player. They are the expert that everyone should be leaning on, which makes it vital that you pick the right person from the start because they will have an immense amount of power over the whole ordeal.

Money Management

Though it’s rarely called this, the money management team on your overall mergers and acquisitions deal team focuses on things like accounting, taxes, and investments, meaning that this smaller team consists generally of three different people.

The accountants play an obvious role. They can help the legal team (which we’ll get to), the investment bankers, and also the executive team. They can help with valuation problems, tax issues, and a whole slew of other things. Accountants can seriously make or a break a deal and you should work with them closely before anything is finalized.

Investment bankers are another great role to have on the deal team. Who knows more about the market than an investment banker? These individuals should work closely with your adviser to ensure that all deals are fair and the business’s goals make sense. Investment bankers can also help paint a picture of the deal itself to ensure that the process is going smoothly. They also help with creating a valuation, which can be a daunting process.

Finally, tax attorneys. While you can argue that this person would be better suited on the legal team, tax attorneys will work closely with accountants and others in the overall team. They really shine in the due diligence part of the process, making sure everything is above board tax wise.

Legal Counsel

This section goes without saying. Of course you will need to work closely with your legal counsel to firmly understand all of the implications your deal may have. They will likely have to sign off on every stage of the process to help ensure that everything is running smoothly and complying with all local, state, and federal laws.

mergers and acquisitions deal team

Your legal counsel can also help you with your workforce planning issues by helping you understand how to offboard redundant employees, create retention agreements, severance agreements, and more.

Don’t just think about your legal counsel as someone you call when you’re in trouble. Think of them as someone to keep you out of trouble and avoid it in the first place.

Management and HR

Any well-rounded mergers and acquisitions deal team must include upper management, such as c-suite executives and HR. While the former is always talked about in deal making, HR’s role is vital for success.

As we briefly mentioned, most mergers or acquisitions fail to meet their desired business goals. This is largely because HR fails to be involved as much as they should be. HR needs to figure out the logistics of making the deal work for those that work at both companies.

Do the cultures of both organizations mesh well together? Will there be a ton of layoffs? Will key employees be retained? All of these things impact the success rate of an M&A event, which makes it vital that you include HR professionals from both businesses so that they can work together to make the deal as seamless as possible.

Mergers and Acquisitions Deal Teams: The Final Say

When it comes down to it, there are a lot more details about creating a great deal team than the simple ones mentioned here. You should lean on the expertise of those around you to make sure that all aspects are covered as an M&A deal cannot – or at least should not – be performed by one person.

In the end, the mergers and acquisitions deal team consists of experts in different areas that can help the process move quickly and without all of the pitfalls. If you plan correctly, both business can thrive under one roof and the M&A event can be labeled a success.

Download our HR Guide for Mergers and Acquistions!
Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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