Capture Value with a Winning M&A Pipeline

In M&A, much like in other aspects of life, discipline pays. Companies that prepare and thoughtfully execute on acquisition strategies can drive superior value. Companies that remain inactive in the field of mergers and acquisitions potentially miss out on additional value. Simply put, disciplined acquirers outperform. 

A strong process is a hallmark of discipline. At Keene Advisors, I often help clients develop and execute on acquisition pipeline strategies. Throughout our assignments with clients spanning billion-dollar companies and middle market private equity firms, we have compiled best practices and resources to streamline the acquisition pipeline process. Read below for helpful guidance and scroll to the bottom to download customizable templates. 

  1. Define your universe. Determine the parameters—size, geography, capabilities—that define an attractive acquisition opportunity for your company. Be intentional in your search and keep specific criteria in focus as you assemble your pipeline.  

  2. Find your goldmine. In this context, a goldmine is a source of numerous attractive targets. These sources may include relevant expo exhibitor lists, business directories, industry association membership lists, public/private databases, regional business journal publications, etc.  

  3. Create a template. Maintain consistency and achieve efficiency by gathering pre-determined fields of information. Pursue a balance where each entry contains just enough information to conduct a quick evaluation of the target while remaining concise enough to allow easy navigation of the database.  

  4. Keep a scorecard. Rank targets based on how closely they adhere to the elements you are looking for in a potential acquisition and how actionable the opportunity appears to be. Identifying which companies rank “High” versus “Medium” or “Low” is useful when deciding how to deploy effort and resources in pursuit of a deal. 

  5. Match the talent to the task. A smart division of labor ensures everyone is delivering the highest-value work they can produce. Sometimes it means delegating to free up time better spent elsewhere; sometimes it means partnering to get the most efficient execution. Because timing and thoroughness are key in an acquisition process, commit to an agile process.  

Luckily, there is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to building an acquisition pipeline. Leverage the resources we created to stay a step ahead in your own process. Click below to download an Excel template for a database of potential targets and a PowerPoint template for company profiles.