Back To Category

Soft skills still in demand as matchmaking goes digital

Much like in romance, M&A matchmakers face an unenviable proposition: get it right and it’s a thing of beauty, get it wrong and the inevitable result is a messy situation without any winners. How is the art of matchmaking evolving to produce more win-win propositions and less partnerships that were simply never destined to be?

Don’t underestimate the human nuances of deal-making – that’s the advice from Baker Tilly’s Xavier Mercade as the merger and acquisition market increasingly takes on a technological bent.

Mercade, CEO in Baker Tilly’s Spanish office, said technology continued to grow in influence in the M&A space, with the potential for automation and machine learning around due diligence to make deals more efficient and easier to navigate.

But he warned that abandoning the ‘human touch’ would leave deals in danger of failing to be completed.

“During the scouting phase, more accurate targeting can be achieved through data analysis by narrowing the attributes of the candidates and comparing them to previous transactions, as well as by qualified matching based on key words in social media and the internet,” Mercade explained.

“As the impact of technology and complexity has an increased role in each sector, the understanding of the technical part on both sides will have a more important role.

“This will increase the number of professionals with a technical background on the advisors’ teams. But still, at a certain point the deals need to be closed and the soft skills of a dealmaker will be needed.

“I see more teamwork coming in the deal advisory practices.”

Mercade said there was a need for speed in many deals but also a requirement for matchmakers to be willing to consider alternative transactions that might be a better fit.

According to the Harvard Business Review, somewhere between 70 and 90 per cent of all mergers end up being classified as failures.

“Speed in execution is getting critical,” Mercade said.

“Fast, qualified matching is needed to maintain momentum throughout the process. It’s fundamental to understand very quickly who has engaged you from a professional, cultural and psychological point-of-view.

“In advising small to medium enterprises, the role is getting more strategic as clients value sector and technical knowledge.  In general terms having the appropriate persons on both sides of a deal is still vital.

“A key element is understanding the reasons behind the decision to buy or sell. In our team we also try to proactively propose alternatives [to deals being considered].”

As in romance, opposites can sometimes attract in the world of corporate deals – the rider being that there has to be an end goal in sight.

A union in the US between retail pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager CVS Health and health insurer Aetna has widely been seen as an attempt to counter Amazon’s move into the health sector.

A little more than two years ago, Amazon itself bought Whole Foods – the kind of bricks-and-mortar operation it seemed so intent on disrupting but also one in possession of prime real estate that could aid Amazon’s last mile strategy.

“A big traditional pharma corporation can acquire a very small therapeutical cannabis biotech – even though they have very different geographies, size, cultures and management,” Mercade reflected.

“The important factor is understanding what the acquirer can achieve with that investment long term.”

Want to know more?

Get in touch with our experts from around the globe

  • By subscribing, you authorise Baker Tilly to store your contact information in keeping with our privacy policy

Related Articles

US-China tensions add extra layers to manufacturing deals M & A

As the US and China trade conflict rolls on, uncertainty around tariffs and how they impact bottom lines is adding an extra level of complexity to transactions in the manufacturing sector.

2-4 minutes

Global dealmakers 2022: M&A market update M & A

Baker Tilly’s annual M&A market update revealed a remarkable 77 percent increase in the annual global cross-border deal value in 2021.

2 minutes

Baker Tilly US and Squar Milner combine M & A

The combined firm fortifies its capabilities, expands its national footprint and secures Top 10 ranking.

1-2 minutes

Contact Us