Selling a business Greenville SC

Services Overview

While most investment bankers only provide transaction services, Watermark strongly believes in adequate preparation as a prerequisite for successful M&A—as well as integration support post-transaction. That is why Watermark provides services in both the preparation phase and integration phase.

Watermark Advisors Preparation Phase
Watemark Advisors Transaction Phase
Business Integration Phase

Adequate preparation is extremely important; in fact, we recommend that before engaging in the M&A process, companies do two things:

  1. Educate themselves on the major components of the M&A process by taking a one-day Master Class in M&A For Acquirers.
  2. Ensure that their corporate strategy is up to date and realistic, and matches with where the company wants to go.Watermark offers both services.*

If the acquirer does not have a full appreciation of all of the processes involved in M&A (Master Class in M&A) and if it does not have a clear vision that is pulling it in a particular direction (strategy), then the likelihood of achieving ROI goals through acquisitions dwindles. Many infrequent acquirers rely heavily on their investment banker, attorney, and accountant to guide them through a transaction. If the leadership team had been educated in all of the M&A processes, had a clear strategy, and implemented M&A processes with a comprehensive view, then their M&A success would be greater.

When preparing for the actual acquisition, we walk the client through the decision making process on how to determine who to include on their M&A team (both internal and external professionals). We help them identify markets that are attractive to consider expanding into, and then help them prioritize those markets.  We then help them identify and prioritize numerous acquisition target companies, by conducting due diligence on each company to determine which are leaders and which are outliers.  Finally, in the preparation service offerings, we advise the client on approach techniques to increase the likelihood of engaging in meaningful conversations with top acquisition prospects.

* Watermark also offers a Master Class in Valuation & Synergies, which delves deeper into these two important areas of the Master Class in M&A.

In the transaction phase, we provide: cultural due diligence support, valuation, synergy and acquisition modeling support, general due diligence support, negotiations support, deal design services, financing services, risk management strategies, and integration planning.

While the choice of outstanding investment bankers, attorneys and accountants ready to help you navigate through these issues is almost unlimited, many of them overlook cultural due diligence, which is one of the most underestimated areas of focus in the transaction phase.  Edgar Schein, former MIT professor at Sloan School of Management stated, “Culture may be loosely thought about, but it is only after the merger that it is taken seriously, suggesting that most leaders make the assumption that they can fix cultural problems after the fact.  I would argue that leaders must make cultural analysis as central to the initial merger/acquisition decision as is the financial, product or market analysis” (Applied Mergers and Acquisitions by Robert F. Bruner). At Watermark Advisors, we place a healthy emphasis on cultural due diligence to make sure that the issues are resolvable between the acquirer and target’s respective cultures.

Another mistake made by many investment bankers, attorneys, and accountants is that integration planning is not initiated early enough in the transaction phase and therefore the acquirer is not adequately prepared to enter the integration phase as the transaction phase reaches conclusion.  Watermark helps clients initiate and plan for the right approaches to integration at a time early enough such that Day 1 post close, the experiences by the target’s employees, clients, vendors, and overall marketplace unfold in ways that increase buy-in for the acquisition.

How can cultural due diligence and integration planning be overlooked by so many investment bankers and others in so many deals?  Cultural due diligence falls under the field of organizational development, while integration is a change management process.  Most investment bankers, corporate M&A attorneys, and accountants do not bring these skills to the table for an acquisition transaction.  And yet, they are critical to put on the deal table and resolve.  Watermark does put these at the forefront of the transaction phase.  We know what it will mean for a company’s ROI goals.

Integration deals with social issues, business processes and controls of both the buyer and the seller, and how to combine all of these elements. When the buyer and the seller are well integrated, the acquirer’s ROI is maximized. In the integration phase, Watermark provides consulting advice to M&A clients on key areas such as: cultural integration strategies, identifying integration process leadership, defining roles & responsibilities, resource alignment, task force infrastructure development, communication strategies, recruiting processes, capturing synergies, and measurement processes, among other areas.

Acquirers often underestimate the challenges of integrating their business with that of the company they acquired. Companies with effective policies for the post-merger period can improve odds of success in capturing ROI by as much as 50%.  Despite that fact, there is an unmistakable gap between integration best practices and leadership behaviors.  In a 2014 study conducted with acquirers by Galpin and Herndon for their book The Complete Guide of Mergers & Acquisitions, 73% of respondents rated leadership as the most important criterion for integration success.  However, 60% reported their company’s leadership as “very poor, poor or average” at making timely, effective decisions.

The survey also found that 74% of acquirers considered themselves “very poor, poor or average” at using an objective process to decide and implement organizational restructure, staffing, selection, and exit decisions. Fifty-seven percent considered themselves “very poor, poor, or average” in being able to effectively onboard, orient, and train newly acquired staff.

To capture significant, positive ROI, integration planning and implementation is a must to be mastered.  Watermark uniquely continues to work with our M&A clients beyond the deal table, beyond Day 1, beyond Day 100, to ensure our acquisition clients ultimately win with acquisitions.

PREPARATION PHASE

Adequate preparation is extremely important; in fact, we recommend that before engaging in the M&A process, companies do two things:

  1. Educate themselves on the major components of the M&A process by taking a one-day Master Class in M&A For Acquirers.
  2. Ensure that their corporate strategy is up to date and realistic, and matches with where the company wants to go.Watermark offers both services.*

If the acquirer does not have a full appreciation of all of the processes involved in M&A (Master Class in M&A) and if it does not have a clear vision that is pulling it in a particular direction (strategy), then the likelihood of achieving ROI goals through acquisitions dwindles. Many infrequent acquirers rely heavily on their investment banker, attorney, and accountant to guide them through a transaction. If the leadership team had been educated in all of the M&A processes, had a clear strategy, and implemented M&A processes with a comprehensive view, then their M&A success would be greater.

When preparing for the actual acquisition, we walk the client through the decision making process on how to determine who to include on their M&A team (both internal and external professionals). We help them identify markets that are attractive to consider expanding into, and then help them prioritize those markets.  We then help them identify and prioritize numerous acquisition target companies, by conducting due diligence on each company to determine which are leaders and which are outliers.  Finally, in the preparation service offerings, we advise the client on approach techniques to increase the likelihood of engaging in meaningful conversations with top acquisition prospects.

* Watermark also offers a Master Class in Valuation & Synergies, which delves deeper into these two important areas of the Master Class in M&A.

TRANSACTION PHASE

In the transaction phase, we provide: cultural due diligence support, valuation, synergy and acquisition modeling support, general due diligence support, negotiations support, deal design services, financing services, risk management strategies, and integration planning.

While the choice of outstanding investment bankers, attorneys and accountants ready to help you navigate through these issues is almost unlimited, many of them overlook cultural due diligence, which is one of the most underestimated areas of focus in the transaction phase.  Edgar Schein, former MIT professor at Sloan School of Management stated, “Culture may be loosely thought about, but it is only after the merger that it is taken seriously, suggesting that most leaders make the assumption that they can fix cultural problems after the fact.  I would argue that leaders must make cultural analysis as central to the initial merger/acquisition decision as is the financial, product or market analysis” (Applied Mergers and Acquisitions by Robert F. Bruner). At Watermark Advisors, we place a healthy emphasis on cultural due diligence to make sure that the issues are resolvable between the acquirer and target’s respective cultures.

Another mistake made by many investment bankers, attorneys, and accountants is that integration planning is not initiated early enough in the transaction phase and therefore the acquirer is not adequately prepared to enter the integration phase as the transaction phase reaches conclusion.  Watermark helps clients initiate and plan for the right approaches to integration at a time early enough such that Day 1 post close, the experiences by the target’s employees, clients, vendors, and overall marketplace unfold in ways that increase buy-in for the acquisition.

How can cultural due diligence and integration planning be overlooked by so many investment bankers and others in so many deals?  Cultural due diligence falls under the field of organizational development, while integration is a change management process.  Most investment bankers, corporate M&A attorneys, and accountants do not bring these skills to the table for an acquisition transaction.  And yet, they are critical to put on the deal table and resolve.  Watermark does put these at the forefront of the transaction phase.  We know what it will mean for a company’s ROI goals.

INTEGRATION PHASE

Integration deals with social issues, business processes and controls of both the buyer and the seller, and how to combine all of these elements. When the buyer and the seller are well integrated, the acquirer’s ROI is maximized. In the integration phase, Watermark provides consulting advice to M&A clients on key areas such as: cultural integration strategies, identifying integration process leadership, defining roles & responsibilities, resource alignment, task force infrastructure development, communication strategies, recruiting processes, capturing synergies, and measurement processes, among other areas.

Acquirers often underestimate the challenges of integrating their business with that of the company they acquired. Companies with effective policies for the post-merger period can improve odds of success in capturing ROI by as much as 50%.  Despite that fact, there is an unmistakable gap between integration best practices and leadership behaviors.  In a 2014 study conducted with acquirers by Galpin and Herndon for their book The Complete Guide of Mergers & Acquisitions, 73% of respondents rated leadership as the most important criterion for integration success.  However, 60% reported their company’s leadership as “very poor, poor or average” at making timely, effective decisions.

The survey also found that 74% of acquirers considered themselves “very poor, poor or average” at using an objective process to decide and implement organizational restructure, staffing, selection, and exit decisions. Fifty-seven percent considered themselves “very poor, poor, or average” in being able to effectively onboard, orient, and train newly acquired staff.

To capture significant, positive ROI, integration planning and implementation is a must to be mastered.  Watermark uniquely continues to work with our M&A clients beyond the deal table, beyond Day 1, beyond Day 100, to ensure our acquisition clients ultimately win with acquisitions.

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