February 27, 2015

How to approach a passive acquiring company

Some companies are passive about acquisition. This means businesses wait for a smaller company to enter their orbit, which may make sense to purchase down the road. Compared to companies with a more proactive acquisition strategy, landing a deal with a passive buyer can present unique challenges. 

Make your case strong. If the business you're pitching to could take or leave an acquisition altogether, your company has an even greater responsibility to make a compelling argument for a deal. This means pulling out all the stops when you arrange meetings, and crafting a clear vision for how acquisition could benefit both companies. This is something architects of acquisition strategy must do regardless of who the prospect is, but lackluster appeals will be even less persuasive if the company seriously needs to be convinced. 

Build an excellent partnership. Sometimes acquisitions happen naturally whether or not the primary company was particularly looking for one. When a business relationship is fruitful and dependable, you may be able to raise the issue months or years down the road. Demonstrating commitment to serving the prospective parent company is integral to earning its confidence and inspiring its interest in making the relationship permanent. 

Demonstrate demand for your company. If the company you'd really like to be acquired by seems ambivalent, you may consider shopping your firm elsewhere. Presenting evidence that there is strong industry demand for your company can help persuade the larger entity that it's worth purchasing. However, consulting with an advisor might lead you to determine that this particular play isn't appropriate for the deal you'd like to seal. As an alternative, make your company visible through earned media and other visible recognition to add value.