Clark’s Corner: Get yourself an M&A megaphone

Apr 13, 2011

By Jeff Clark | Principal, Managing Director of Investment Banking, ZweigWhite Do you like CEOs who promote their business relentlessly? Do you think Steve Jobs did a good job with his public speaking over the years for Apple? Whether you and Wall Street value the speaking of A/E/P and environmental consulting firm CEOs or not depends on your view of the CEO and the relative performance of their company’s stock price and earnings. If it’s a private company, then being a Hot Firm award recipient is one sign of positive growth, as well as the longevity and approval rating of that firm’s CEO among peers, employees, and fellow principals. There is one particular time in a company’s development when it is more important than ever to hit the travel circuit and start promoting the business at industry events. That time period is in the year or two before the planned sale of the firm or when the firm is looking for merger and acquisition opportunities. Road shows to meet with top merger and acquisition prospects are also extremely important and should not only be seen as a tradition for raising capital when issuing securities or doing an IPO. My main point in writing this short article, other than the self-serving promotion of our Large Firm Mergers & Acquisitions Summit on June 16-17 in Las Vegas, is to help firm leaders sitting on the fence and wondering what to do regarding their firm’s M&A strategy. Especially for those firms that are in the middle of the pack struggling to survive against the billion dollar conglomerates, I have this to offer: Get off the sidelines and onto the playing field now. Start telling the story of your firm to companies you might be interested in buying and those of your larger competitors if you feel there could be a possible fit. There is no better forum to start getting the word out than as a speaker at our events and others. Here are some areas in which we suggest you increase your firm’s aptitude for mergers and acquisitions. If you are an expert on one if not several of the topics below, drop me a line and we’ll consider you for a speaking opportunity at one of our summits.
  • Approaches and opportunities for shareholder liquidity.
  • Strategies after your liquidity events.
  • Why a large percentage of mergers and acquisitions fail.
  • Buy vs. build: what compels some firms to take the leap and pursue growth through acquisition?
  • Buying yourself back from the big parent.
  • Assessing deal synergies.
  • Doing business internationally: Asia, Middle East, South America, Europe, Australia, and Africa.
  • Employment agreements.
  • Deal structuring and negotiation.
  • Integration and cultural fit post-acquisition vs. running as a separate autonomous business unit.
We are launching that new conference for larger firms in Las Vegas on June 16-17, as mentioned, and then we will host the traditional M&A Summit again this year in Palm Beach, FL, December 1-2. And of course, the 2011 Hot Firm Conference and Awards Celebration will be held October 23-27 in Laguna Beach, CA. For more information about any of these upcoming events, please call 800-466-6275 or email

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.