Chairman's Message - October 2019

2020 Captures New Developments for the M&A Leadership Council
By Jim Jeffries, Chairman Emeritus, M&A Leadership Council 

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is just around the corner, with a new year following right behind it. 2020 predictions are already being made by analysts across the board, and the world of M&A is no different.  You will see some insights from our corporate sponsor, MergerMarket, as reported in their Global & Regional M&A Report Q1-Q3 2019, there are many important market signals for corporate acquirers, including:

  • Year-to-date North America accounts for 53% of global deal value; average deal size is getting larger and corporate acquirers are demonstrating a continued strong demand for transformative deals; while global PE deal value is still at near-record levels;
  • Yet Q3 was signaling a shift in sentiments with global deal value declining 21.2% compared to Q3 ’18; and global deal volume reduced by 1,164 transactions.

Based on these early indicators, and from experience, we can anticipate a number of important implications for corporate M&A, due diligence and integration teams, among these:

  • More divestitures / carve-out acquisitions – which are often reported as the most challenging of all deal types for both due diligence and integration;
  • Continued large transformative deals and more emphasis on cost-synergy capture, reorganization and headcount reduction – all requiring skills and processes which are often prone to atrophy during primarily bolt-on, gap-fill and primarily revenue growth oriented deals;
  • Finally, we foresee continued internal pressure for M&A teams to do more with less; optimize their internal M&A resources while reducing external spend – all of which points squarely to the mission of the M&A Leadership Council and our sponsors – helping corporate acquirers become better at M&A and more self-reliant as they build more robust internal capabilities and skills.  

The New Year also brings exciting changes here at M&A Leadership Council, including important upgrades to the Certified M&A Specialist program (CMAS), personal transitions and new leadership.

First, The Board of M&A Standards is launching important program improvements on January 1st and we will provide a preview in the November newsletter.  My special thanks to each member of the Board of M&A Standards and supporting Council staff, April Dumas and Melissa Follis.

For the last ten years, Co-Founder and President, Jack Prouty, and I have poured ourselves into the many endeavors of the Council: developing and expanding public M&A training events, collaborating with M&A industry experts to train more than 3,500 executives from over 600 companies, and selecting the right talent for our organization. During this time, these impressive professionals have expanded their roles to the benefit of the Council, our attendees and the greater M&A community. I am pleased to announce that effective October 1st, Jack Prouty and I have relinquished day-to-day operations of the Council and are enjoying our new transition roles as Chairman Emeritus (Jim) and President Emeritus (Jack). We are able to make this transition with our full confidence in the team now in place and their ability, in collaboration with our tremendous Corporate Sponsors, to grow the Council to important new heights.

Going forward the Council will be extremely well served by individuals already well known to our alumni organizations, Sponsors and Board of M&A Standards members. Joining current leaders April Dumas and Larry Dell, will be Mark Herndon, who will assume the role of Interim Chairman of the M&A Leadership Council as Jack Prouty and I transition to our Emeritus roles, and as Mark transitions his responsibilities with Council Sponsor, M&A Partners. Join me in welcoming Mark Herndon to the M&A Leadership Council team! In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more from Mark, April and Larry about their respective roles and important new developments for the M&A Leadership Council going forward.

I hope you will have the opportunity to participate in our last Council training session of 2019, The Art of M&A Integration in Orlando, Nov. 5-7. And don’t forget to take a look at our 2020 training schedule, these programs are already up and running for registration and you will find new offerings on that list!

It has been a great 10 years!