Virtual deal-making – a new normal for the M&A world

Kunal Kadiwar, James Kesner, Pierre-Georges Roy

Towards a brave new “all-In” virtual deal-making world

Once obligatory rituals of the investment process, the “gut check” in-person meeting between a buyer and the operator-sellers are now being replaced with video conference interviews and virtual facility tours (and the detailed physical inspection of the workplace and core scientific R&D facilities). In this paper, we share what we expect will become increasingly accepted practices in deal-making in the social distancing era.

The global shutdown started in mid-March, with mandatory sanitary isolation affecting a quarter of the world’s population. In the busy Trans-Atlantic M&A corridor, 100% of individuals involved in deal-making have been in confinement.

Click to read Virtual Deal Making

Yet across our teams in healthcare, technology and marketing, we have maintained a vigorous cadence in our sales processes. We have been charting the way towards the closing of transactions for our clients and their counterparties in an all virtual, digital, cloud-based, video-conference laden environment.

What’s even more telling is that individuals critical to the post-closing success of the transaction will never have met in person (F2F) in our people-intensive transactions; and, site visits of pharma assets absolutely essential to the investment rationale will have been performed through virtual walks with the seller representative streaming live video feeds to the buyer. After which, signatures on purchase agreements will be exchanged, funds will be wired and ownership of assets will pass, with not one single F2F interaction or in-person inspection during the M&A process.

What does this mean for the pace and cadence of deal-making in the months ahead?

What are the key learnings from our work in both asset heavy and asset light/people intensive businesses that we are selling?

Read our latest report on virtual deal-making in the new normal for our findings.