"Investment Banking is 10% Financial Analysis and 90% Psycho-analysis" – André Meyer  This blog is about the "other 90%"…

Merger Negotiation: How to Win by Losing It?

I used to have a mental image of negotiations as a kind of tug-of-war, where the parties are pulling on the rope back and forth, while one party wins over.  However recently I concluded that this is the wrong metaphor.  In reality it is not the team that gets the other through the line (or […]

Eat your buyout cake and keep it

There is an inherent contradiction in Private Equity (PE) lead buyouts where the investors want the seller to stay.  It is this:  how can they eat their cake and stay hungry too? Let me explain. Most successful private companies got that way because of their funder.  I have learnt, it is hardly ever “the idea”, […]

Companies Family Offices Buy

Family Offices has been a rising force in private equity (PE) investing in recent years.  It’s worth paying attention to them as there are thousands across the US, hundreds more in Asia and the Middle East, and some in Europe.  Family Offices are professional teams of accountants, tax advisors, wealth managers, lawyers and sometimes investment […]

Who buys cheap may overpay

I have been interviewing former clients running companies for my upcoming book on Building Services Engineering (BSE) entrepreneurs. One of my questions was about acquisitions they are – or would – contemplate. I received consistent feedback:  They would rather overpay for the right target than hunt for potentially troublesome bargains. I thought that attitude was […]

Watch the return on assets

The private equity industry is obsessed with EBITDAs. Not that they don’t know it’s not money, but the banks treat it as such, so they play along. We don’t mind, as it magnifies profits and makes deals easier to sell. EBITDA makes businesses look larger than life. Talking “dividends paid” destroys the party. Similarly most […]