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6 things to look for in an intermediary during a merger

You're planning a merger with another company. You have talked to the owner extensively. You believe you'll both thrive if you work together. You're excited about the shift in direction and what the future holds.

At the same time, though, you want to be careful. You haven't done this before. You're worried about accepting a deal that isn't optimal. You don't want to make any mistakes. It's one thing to learn from mistakes, but you know it's better to learn in advance and avoid them. So, with all that in mind, you've decided to work with an intermediary.

That brings up other questions, though. What should the intermediary do? How do you pick the right one? What questions should you ask? How does the process work?

To move forward, here are six things you should look for:

1. Engagement

You want someone who is interested and excited about this. You need someone who stays engaged and who has your best interests at heart. This is a big moment for you and your company, and you need to know your legal team cares as much as you do.

2. Experience

Much of the reason to get the intermediary is to make up for your own lack of experience. You need someone who has done this frequently and who has worked in this specific industry.

3. A flexible, creative approach

Issues are going to come up. No two companies are the same. The economy and many other factors can shift dramatically in a short time. You need someone who is creative and flexible, who can address all of your concerns and find a solution.

4. Confidentiality

Many details must remain confidential to protect your company. You need someone who takes this seriously. It's important at every stage in the process and that trust has to exist.

5. Samples

You have questions, and you want the answers in advance. You want to feel confident moving forward. Can you get examples of offering prospectuses and memoranda? Can you see samples of all of the paperwork you'll need? Don't worry that you don't know much about the process. Find out what you need to know and learn enough before you start that you're satisfied.

6. Answers

It's critical to ask any questions that you have. Every merger and business deal is different. There is no cookie-cutter approach. For instance, do you need to use a confidentiality agreement? What other paperwork is necessary? When should it get completed? You need to work with someone who can give you quick, accurate answers.

As you can see, the key is to stay informed at every stage in the process. You must be aware of your rights, your obligations and how you and the other owner can work together to merge without issue for mutual success.

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