Straight from the Source: Intangibles in M&A

10468395683?profile=originalWe had a great half-day session called Making the Intangibles Count earlier this week at the AM&AA Summer Conference

Over the course of the afternoon, we led some 100 M&A professionals on a discovery process to learn how to identify, measure and optimize the intangibles portion of M&A transactions. The agenda included live exercises using our open source ICounts Index and ICounts Canvas tools (more on our full ICounts toolset).

We were also lucky to have what one panelist called the best panel on intangibles he had ever been on including:

  • Mike St. Martin of Navigant
  • Michael Friedman of Ocean Tomo
  • Gabe Fried of Hilco Streambank
  • Ken Sanginario of Corporate Value Metrics
  • ...And a great forward-looking talk by Jay Deragon of Smarter-Companies.

At the end of the afternoon, we crowd-sourced the best ideas that the participants learned/developed during the session to help on the buy and/or sell side. Here they are as promised:

Buy and Sell Smarter

  • Teach everyone involved to think about the intangibles
  • Look at the full range of intangibles: people, IP, supply chains, brands, processes, culture and more
  • Be able to look not just at innovations achieved but at the ability to innovate
  • Try to understand the key intangible elements that distinguish companies that have generated different market multiples

Sell Smarter:

  • Identify and measure key intangibles before starting the sales process
  • Find ways to quantify, use metrics to make intangibles tangible
  • Make the org chart real by including key metrics about the management (such as years of experience)
  • Tell the story of where there are upside opportunities in the intangibles
  • Don’t put lipstick on a bulldog—it has to be real to be valuable
  • Run through a trial due diligence to be ready for the process

Buy Smarter:

  • Make sure the buyers understand their own intangibles as a starting point to mapping the fit with a target

Thanks to Kathy Richardson Mauro, Mike Nall and the team at AM&AA for making this possible. Thanks to the speakers and the wonderful participants who took our material and ran with it. We look forward to continuing the conversation on line and in future get-togethers!

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