The M&A Formula by Peter Zink Secher and Ian Horley

The Blurb On The Back:

The turnkey M&A system for growing your business.

The M&A Formula culls the wisdom and experience of the most recognised M&A leaders in the boardroom and lecture hall to give everyone a clear path to repeatable M&A wins.  This pioneering, three-step formula to M&A success is already disrupting conventional practices; lighting the way for innovative, data-backed tactics for locking in advantageous deals, and avoiding costly litigation and outright failures.  Illuminating case studies and hard-won advice from high-profile authorities clearly demonstrate how global corporates and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can fully benefit from this proven approach.

Everything you need to confidently call the shots in your next M&A deal is inside, including:

– The secret to pinning down how a business should benefit from an M&A deal by specifically identifying the business model drivers.

– Concrete strategies for nurturing the right corporate culture of strong leadership and communication so teams can thrive through M&A deals.

– All the tools and insight to take control of the entire transaction without having to blindly rely on external M&A advisors, while still leveraging their expertise.

Erase “failure” and “uncertainty” from your M&A vocabulary with The M&A Formula.

M&A is by far the fastest and most effective way to bring in the new talent, resources and products your organisation needs to gain a competitive advantage.  However, prevalent data shows that typical M&A only succeeds 20-40% of the time.  The future of your company shouldn’t come down to a coin flip.  With The M&A Formula, you can take control of this complex process and blow away the odds.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Peter Zink Secher is a founding partner of Fixcorp (a corporate M&A and treasury service) and Ian Horley is head of Online Strategy and they have distilled their considerable experience in M&A into this helpful, readable and informative book, which sets out a three-step formula (follow a business model-driven M&A, strong leadership and communication and take ownership) to making M&As a success, together with practical tips for dealing with advisers and case studies to illustrate their points.

Secher and Horley focus on 10 companies that have used M&A successfully to enhance their offering and (crucially) improve the return to shareholders over a 10 year period, which they use to disprove the statistic that 50% of all M&As fail.  The companies chosen for the case studies have varied business models from LVMH and its luxury goods businesses, which seek to preserve autonomy for the businesses they acquire but offer them more opportunity for better lease space while DSV uses its acquisitions as building blocks to bring about high cost synergies and add more global presence.

There is a lot of good practical advice in the book from actually working out what your business strategy is and what you’re looking to gain from an M&A to working out which companies are not a good fit for your strategy and putting them in a ‘failure bin’, which you can use to learn from going forward.  Secher and Horley also give good reinforcement of their three key messages by providing examples, which I found informative and they make excellent points about advisers being driven more by success fees than a desire to help your business and stress the importance of negotiating the terms of engagement letters and getting experienced legal advisers who can help prepare you for hurdles and make sure alternatives are in place if snags occur.

My only real criticism of the book is that there’s a lot of management theory in the book with cross references to articles in management journals, which might be interesting from an academic point of view but for me it detracted from the very practical messages within the book and may put off some readers.  That said, I thought this was a great read for anyone with an SME thinking about using M&A activity to grow their business because it gives them a good starting block for how to approach it and the issues they should consider.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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