In an Acquisition Process, the Buck Stops With You

As you go through the M&A process, you may find that advisors are both necessary and helpful to assist you. However, you must maintain your leadership role.

I find that particularly toward the end of the acquisition process, executives imagine that they should hand the reins to a more “experienced” professional. This would be unwise. I do not recommend letting lawyers and other subject matter experts take over the process entirely. It is your deal and you need to be the one making strategic decisions.

It is a lawyer’s job is to attempt to eliminate risk. However, an acquisition inherently carries risk that can never be eliminated. If you rely on your lawyer to make your decisions you may not take certain risks that would benefit the company’s growth. Advisors should advise you; your main focus is to listen to the advice and make your own decisions. As to “eliminating risk,” you should seek to reduce the risk while understanding that you cannot be completely free of it.

At the onset of the acquisition process you developed the strategic vision for your business. That vision should remain constant throughout the process.


*This post was adapted from David Braun’s Successful Acquisitions, available at

 Photo Credit: photosteve101 at cc


  1. Nicely worded. I have been involved in too many transactions where lawyers try to butt in and try to renegotiate the deal that was agreed upon by the Buyer and Seller. Unfortunately the lawyers are able to put the “fear of god” in a client that often clouds the judgement of clients. Needless to say, most of the deals have died and the businesses are still not sold. A good lawyer in my opinion does not simply offer advise but also provide solutions. It is the solution part that is often lacking among lawyers today.

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