How to prepare for M&A, your most likely exit avenue – TechCrunch

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Despite the plentiful headlines about mega billion-dollar M&A transactions, record IPOs and the rapid growth of SPACs, small deals will continue to be the most likely exit for the vast majority of tech startups. In the over 30 years I’ve worked on M&A at White & Case, Barclays and my current firm Ascento Capital, I have seen too many startups that are not prepared for an exit via a merger or sale. This article will provide specific recommendations on how to prepare your startup for M&A.

While it is good to strive for a billion-dollar-plus sale, a successful IPO or a SPAC deal, it is practical to prepare your startup for a smaller transaction.

Global M&A hit record highs in the second quarter with a total deal value of $1.5 trillion, but smaller transactions vastly outnumber mega billion-dollar deals. The U.S. saw a total of 16,672 deals in the year ended June 31, but only 583, or 3% of that number, were valued at more than a billion dollars (FactSet). The IPO market is healthy again, but M&A still represents 88% of exits: So far this year, there were 503 IPOs and 5,203 deals, according to the CB Insights Q2 2021 State of Venture Report. After the SEC announced in early April that it was considering new guidance on SPAC IPOs, the rate of new SPAC issuances fell by around 90%.

While it is good to strive for a billion-dollar-plus sale, a successful IPO or a SPAC deal, it is practical to prepare your startup for a smaller transaction.

Here are a few recommendations that will prepare your startup for an M&A exit:

Track M&A in your subsector

Set up an alert on Google News for M&A activity in your subsector. For example, if your startup is in the IoT subsector, search for “IoT acqui” and this will pick up news stories on acquisitions in the IoT space. Save the search so you can go to Google News on a regular basis. Also track your closest competitors on Google News, particularly to see who is selling their company.

Prepare a list of likely acquirers

Prepare a list of the companies or firms most likely to buy your startup. This list should include domestic and international companies, businesses in non-tech industries, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, as well as VC-backed companies. Track these likely acquirers on Google News as well.

Consider executing a parallel track

Consider approaching the top 10 likely acquirers when you are raising the next round of capital. If your startup gets M&A offers and VC term sheets at the same time, this will provide your board of directors choices on the path ahead. Knowing the M&A activity in your startup’s subsector and the 10 most likely acquirers will impress VCs and increase the chances of being funded.

#prepare #exit #avenue #TechCrunch

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