StevensGould Partners survey finds acquisitions benefit all parties

NEW YORK: A new survey suggests that PR agency acquisitions are remarkably satisfying experiences for buyers and, especially, sellers.

NEW YORK: A new survey suggests that PR agency acquisitions are remarkably satisfying experiences for buyers and, especially, sellers.

M&A advisory firm StevensGould Partners surveyed thirty people who have sold their PR agencies in the past eight years and 20 acquirers. A perfect 100% of sellers said that they would still make the sale if they had the chance to do it over again, and nearly 70% of buyers called their experience "positive."

StevensGould co-managing partner Rick Gould said he was surprised by the survey's definitive results. "When you talk to people on the street, the perception is there wouldn't be as high a level" of satisfaction, he said.

One significant gap in perception revealed by the survey concerned marketing and new-business support for the acquired firms: 100% of buyers said they had provided appropriate support, but three-quarters of the sellers said they didn't get what they expected.

Gould added that open communications between the buyer and seller and a clearly stated set of expectations go a long way toward avoiding confusion over marketing support.

Gould also pointed out that buyers have "definitely [become] more sophisticated" in the last couple years, and frequently have a large team of advisers at their disposal to analyze the costs and value of potential acquisitions. Sellers usually come to the table with fewer resources, he said, making it all the more important for them to retain experienced lawyers.

That advice was reflected in the survey, which included recommendations like "Don't skimp on legal counsel or financial counsel" and "Find the best people-people who have done deals in your industry-and hire them."

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