Some finer points on M&As

Apr 06, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 2.04.38 PMDon’t just get a good lawyer. Get one who knows the M&A industry, and don’t let minor, personal stuff derail the transaction. I've been in this industry for 36 years now. That's a long time. And I have to say that the amount of merger and acquisition activity in the A/E and environmental business has never been higher – at least that's how it appears from my perspective. Our phone is literally ringing off the hook, and email boxes are jammed from all of the projects and inquiries from buyers and sellers. It is beyond insane! That said, not everyone – certainly not the sellers and a lot of the buyers – has a lot of experience in this stuff. Here’s a few points that might be helpful to those of you who are currently involved in a merger, acquisition, or sale:
  1. Hire a good attorney. Time and time again we have the same issue. The buyer (or seller) gets their "usual" business attorney to work on papering up the deal they (think) they have negotiated with the other side. Big mistake. This is a very specialized area and you need to be dealing with someone who is very knowledgeable, not just in how to negotiate and write contracts for firm sale/merger transactions, but also someone who is familiar with the peculiarities of our particular industry.
  2. Get your attorney talking to their attorney. Whether you are a buyer or seller, have the attorneys do the difficult stuff. The reason is simple – you will have to live together in one way, shape, or form post-transaction. Don't mess up that relationship arguing personally with the other side over sometimes minor stuff!!

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s founder and CEO. Contact him at

This article is from issue 1142 of The Zweig Letter. Interested in more management advice every week from Mark Zweig, the Zweig Group team, and a talented list of other guest writers? Click here for to get a free trial of The Zweig Letter.

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.