Buy-Side Solvency Opinions

Not only is a solvency opinion a prudent tool for board members and other stakeholders, but the framework of solvency analysis is ready made to score strategic alternatives and facilitate capital deployment.

Buy-Side Fairness Opinions: Fair Today, Foul Tomorrow?

Directors are periodically asked to make tough decisions about the strategic direction of a company. Major acquisitions are usually one of the toughest calls boards are required to make. Buy-side fairness opinions have a unique place in corporate affairs because the corporate acquirer has to live with the transaction. What seems fair today but is deemed foul tomorrow, may create a liability for directors and executive officers. This can be especially true if the economy and/or industry conditions deteriorate after consummation of a transaction.

Tesla Walks the Entirely Fair Line with SolarCity

In March of 2016 Elon Musk was laying the ground work for the merger of Telsa, Inc. and SolarCity Corporation. This presentation looks at the issues raised by plaintiffs who alleged Musk orchestrated the deal to bail-out SolarCity, and how the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled on the issues on April 27, 2022 under the entire fairness standard rather than deferential business judgment rule.

Considering Contingent Consideration

Contingent consideration is a common feature of M&A when both parties are private, or the acquirer is public, and the target is private. There are many forms of contingent consideration in M&A. These include post closing purchase price adjustments that can alter total transaction value or that can alter the payment and realization of net proceeds through the recovery of transaction set-asides such as escrow balances or the payment of holdbacks and deferrals.

Negotiating Working Capital Targets in a Transaction

This is the sixth article in a series on buy-side considerations. Our focus in this article is on understanding how and why net working capital targets are crucial for buyers looking to negotiate deals that look good at closing and pass the test as the buyer takes over the operation of the newly acquired business.

Buy-Side Considerations

In this series of articles, we cover buy-side topics from the perspective of middle-market companies looking to enter the acquisition market. Read the articles in this series.

The Importance of a Quality of Earnings Study

This is the fifth article in a series on buy-side considerations. In this series, we will cover buy-side topics from the perspective of middle-market companies looking to enter the acquisition market. Our focus in this article is on how the quality of earnings (QoE) analysis can help acquirers better analyze possible acquisition targets.

Strategic Premiums: Can 2+2 Equal 5?

Many acquirers buy businesses at a value higher than this intrinsic value, paying what is referred to as a strategic premium. In this post we discuss the theory behind strategic premiums, and how they can be advantageous or detrimental to acquirers.

Considerations in Merger Transactions

When considering a buy-side transaction to expand, many middle market companies may not consider a merger transaction as an option compared to an outright acquisition. Mergers are often seen as transactions for big conglomerate-type companies on Wall Street, but they can be effective for middle-market businesses as well. In this article we discuss the key questions that must be addressed when considering a merger transaction, including, corporate governance, social issues and economic questions.

How to Approach a Target and Perform Initial Due Diligence

This is the second article in a series on buy-side considerations. In this series, we will cover buy-side topics from the perspective of middle-market companies looking to enter the acquisition market. Our focus in this article is to summarize some practical considerations for approaching and vetting an identified target.

Identifying Acquisition Targets and Assessing Strategic Fit

With aggregate M&A activity setting records in 2021 and continuing a strong pace in 2022, many businesses are exhibiting a thirst for growth or conversely their shareholders are eyeing an exit at favorable valuations. This article provides touch points and practicalities for identifying viable merger and acquisition targets and assessing strategic fit.

Cash-Out Transactions and SEC Amended Rule 15c2-11

It may seem an odd time for some publicly traded companies to consider cash-out merger transactions because broad equity market indices are at or near record levels. Nonetheless, the changing market structure means some boards may want to consider it.

Understanding Transaction Advisory Fees

As with anything in this world, favorable transaction processes and outcomes require an investment. Fee structures for transaction advisory services can vary widely based on the type and/or size of the business, the specific transaction situation, and the varying roles and responsibilities of the advisor in the transaction process.

Benefits of Hiring an Advisor When Selling Your Business

While many business owners have a general sense of what their business may be worth and a threshold selling price in mind, going at it alone in a transaction process involves more than a notion on pricing – it involves procedural awareness, attention to detail, as well as a good measure of patience despite the desire for an immediate outcome.

How Long Will It Take to Sell My Business?

Ownership transitions, whether internal among family and other shareholders or external with third parties, require effective planning and a team of qualified advisors to achieve the desired outcome. In this article, we examine some “typical” timelines involved in various types of transactions.

The Potential Buyers of Your Business

In this article, we discuss some exit options and summarize some of the specifics of certain types of buyers and what that could mean for transaction structure and economic outcomes.

Fairness Opinions  

Our experience is that some if not most members of a board weighing an acquisition proposal do not have the background to thoroughly evaluate the buyer’s shares. Even when financial advisors are involved there still may not be a thorough vetting of the buyer’s shares because there is too much focus on “price” instead of, or in addition to, “value.”

A fairness opinion is more than a three or four page letter that opines as to the fairness from a financial point of a contemplated transaction; it should be backed by a robust analysis of all of the relevant factors considered in rendering the opinion, including an evaluation of the shares to be issued to the selling company’s shareholders. The intent is not to express an opinion about where the shares may trade in the future, but rather to evaluate the investment merits of the shares before and after a transaction is consummated. This article lists key questions that should be asked as part of every financial analysis.

Subdued M&A Activity in the First Half of 2020

U.S. M&A activity slowed sharply in the second quarter due to the economic shock resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Activity – especially involving lower-to-middle market businesses – is expected to remain muted for the duration of 2020 and throughout 2021 unless more effective therapeutics and/or vaccines are developed that facilitate a more bullish sentiment than currently prevails.

The Importance of Fairness Opinions in Transactions

It has been 34 years since the Delaware Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case Smith v. Van Gorkom, (Trans Union), (488 A. 2d Del. 1985) and thereby made the issuance of fairness opinions de rigueur in M&A and other significant corporate transactions. The backstory of Trans Union is the board approved an LBO that was engineered by the CEO without hiring a financial advisor to vet a transaction that was presented to them without any supporting materials.

Fairness opinions are now issued for virtually all public companies and many private companies and banks with minority shareholders that are considering a take-over, material acquisition, or other significant transaction.

5 Reasons to Conduct a Shareholder Survey

An engaged and informed shareholder base is essential for the long-term health and success of any private company, and a periodic shareholder survey is a great tool for achieving that result.

Fairness Considerations for Mergers of Equals

Wall Street generally does not like MOEs unless the benefits are utterly obvious and/ or one or both parties had no other path to create shareholder value. In some instances, MOEs may be an intermediate step to a larger transaction that unlocks value.