Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is the process by which a company seeks to grow through either combining with another company or purchasing the company outright. The business world today is far from stagnant, with large companies often seeking greater efficiency, cost savings or markets for their products by merging with other companies.
M&A specialists are professionals trained in facilitating this process for companies. A diverse field with many responsibilities depending on the progress of a deal, M&A can be a rewarding opportunity for qualified candidates.
The job of a mergers and acquisitions specialist is to facilitate the purchase or consolidation of companies from inception to the final merger. A merger is a complicated process, and the responsibilities of M&A specialists vary depending on the stage of a transaction. For this reason, potential M&A specialists must be highly flexible in handling a wide range of duties as needs arise.
Before any merger can take place, an M&A specialist must research potential acquisitions to find those that are relevant and financially beneficial. At this stage, an M&A specialist communicates directly with management personnel of other companies to identify the benefits of a deal and illustrate the terms of a proposed agreement. Companies that don’t fit the requirements are filtered out at this stage.
With a communication link established between interested parties, the M&A specialist engages in due diligence. This is a financial analysis of all data relevant to the potential merger, including a risk assessment of the target company’s current management and operational structure. This audit is designed to provide the M&A specialist’s employers with as much data as possible on the financial benefits, and potential pitfalls, of the impending acquisition.
The next stage is the structuring of the deal itself, including negotiation of an equitable agreement, employee contracts, financing and future liabilities. M&A specialists are also responsible for assigning value to target companies based on asset worth and the comparable worth of similar companies.
The final stage is integration of the target company after the merger itself has been executed. At this stage, M&A specialists are responsible for carrying out management’s plan for integration as quickly and smoothly as possible so that the financial rewards of acquisition can begin to accumulate.
Compensation for M&A specialists may vary considerably depending upon the size of the organization, the industry sector, and the individual’s skills and experience. Salary and employment data may also vary according to geographic location and economic conditions.
Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree in a field such as accounting, business or finance may be a first step toward a career in mergers and acquisitions. Some M&A specialists may have obtained their MBA degrees with a specialization in the those fields. Candidates may also find Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certifications useful in improving job prospects.
Beyond formal educational qualifications, M&A specialists need a thorough understanding of accounts, market research and negotiation strategies. Strong communication and interpersonal abilities, in addition to business acumen, are vital attributes for this field.
Is a Career in Mergers and Acquisitions Right for You?
Mergers and acquisitions is a diverse field with continued opportunities for those with training and experience. As companies continue to seek to expand, often across borders, M&A specialists could see rising demand for their expertise. If you have an interest in business negotiation, accounts and law, and in helping companies grow, a career as an M&A specialist may be an excellent option.