When we looked over the M&A advisory options available to our clients it became clear that there was nothing suitable available. Options were usually firms with poor focus, staffed by juniors, with improper client education, and a lack of the necessary preparation, team process, buyer database and global reach. To us, they lacked what our clients required to guarantee success in what was going to be the most important transaction of their life.
Most firms offering M&A services were loose partnerships, many of whom evolved from real estate, or were founded by individuals laid-off in the various banking cutbacks. Often they were way too junior to be handling something as complicated as a merger of two technology companies. Most were in different industries with various services – whatever would pay the bills. They didn’t last long.
Other than the largest investment banks who worked with public companies, nearly all were regional with no international presence. Further, we found no firm with the investment in education, preparation and process needed to get our clients ready for the due diligence that killed most deals.
However, the single greatest weakness we noticed was that the critical knowledge about buyers, the real added value of working with these firms, had not been documented. It was jealously guarded in someone's head! This is still true today. Nor had any of the firms developed methodologies and processes to build buyer connections outside of merger transactions – critical relationships needed to help open doors for young technology companies seeking global strategic partners.
When we first went to market, Corum, with their experience and offices all over the world, spent time with us going through who the potential partners could be. And, frankly they were everywhere. The tech headlines can just as easily be out of England, Germany, France, Finland, Korea, China or North America. Some of the biggest and fastest growing firms in the tech world are not in the U.S. so we felt it imperative to do a truly global buyer search. We’re glad we did.