TMT Blog: Growth of European Technology M&A panel discussion in London

As these panel sessions tend to do, this morning’s tech event meandered from the headline topic but some of the more interesting views from the panel (comprising advisors & investors in the main) centred around the barriers to getting deals done. These included:

  • for strategic buyers, getting past the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome;
  • really understanding the motivations of the sellers and getting past the lip service;
  • spending enough time upfront as a buyer working out what you’re going to do with it when you’ve bought it… too often this is pushed into the long grass because the people driving the deal don’t have to live with it (operationally speaking) afterwards;
  • coupled with this point, working out WHO is going to manage the investment afterwards and drop them in at maybe the second rather than the eleventh hour; and
  • Asian buyers, and Chinese in particular, still not being familiar enough with US / UK deal processes. But whilst they aren’t participating strongly yet in most deals, watch out – they are fast learners…

Food for thought.

I thought the best comment though was one that I firmly believe in too (and I paraphrase): “The best companies get bought, not sold”. I think the best technology deals in my 25 years of advising have come where a company has been approached or where we have worked with our client to get a buyer to think it was their idea.