Best ways to identify potential deals very early in the process…

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    John Bankson

    Hi all – hope everyone is doing well! I’m always curious to see what strategies people use to identify possible deal activity, ideally well before it becomes public knowledge or makes a news headline? The most obvious one to me is hearing about potential deal activity via word of mouth, notably via existing relationships we have with friends and colleagues that works in various industries, but any other ways of identifying deals early on would be great…


    I think there are groups and organizations that can help you identify deals. I have also heard that networking at different conferences is a great way to begin to identify new deals.


    In my experience, most deals are bound by an NDA, which means they can’t go public until they’re completed. The same happens with public companies, they cannot speculate before the deal is completed, otherwise share prices can be manipulated.


    In my experience, the most effective way companies do this is to have a strategy discussion about what kind of deals they are interested in. This usually means identifying clear targets, criteria and parameters that help to identify what you want to do. With that, you can eliminate the vast majority of possible deals just by deciding what your priorities are. From there, you can use the outcome of those discussions to identify which companies would be possible fits and now that you have a manageable list and clear idea of what you want to do, it’s easier to engage with them directly to see what level of interest there is.

    brent harvey

    My experience is consistent with Bruno’s. To add to Mike’s perspective, investor calls and trade interviews can provide insights on the company’s appetite for M&A deals however they won’t comment on specific deals underway.

    Kyle Sigmund

    I’d recommend be-friending someone in or hiring an investment banker. They typically have a lot more visibility into companies in play or companies levels of interest in acquisitions. They won’t be able to share specific details, as that would be confidential information, but you’ll likely get hints or piece meal information that you can stitch together on your own.


    We often attend events where the relevant M&A targets are and are supported by an external M&A consulting firm who have more details about who is ready for “marriage”.
    The M&A consultant is the neutral part and connects the dots.

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