Thoughts on M&A consulting?

As someone with little experience in consulting so far, I am curious where management consultants come into play in the standard M&A process (besides the DD). Does anyone have a specific example of tasks?

Comments (17)

Feb 15, 2021 - 5:40am

DD, including the strategic rational for the acquisition, and post-merger integration (more management consulting rather than strategy houses) are the typical elements of a deal where a consulting firm may step in. 

Sizing markets and adjacencies, assessing competition, business plan analysis etc are typical elements of DDs, both on the vendor and on the buyer side.

DDs are generally highly standardised


  • Intern in IB-M&A
Feb 15, 2021 - 10:13am

Thanks - so I assume they mainly work on the initial decision to engage in M&A and afterwards on the PMI/carve-out but do they ever directly collaborate with bankers on tasks?

Feb 15, 2021 - 10:23am

Yes, we do occasionally have to deal with that, particularly on the larger deals and when working sell-side. But we have different task, hardly ever direct collaboration. 

We do the thinking, the bankers do their excel sheets :) 




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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Feb 16, 2021 - 2:25am

Yeah I'm sure you do a lot of thinking while your Engagement Manager bends you over

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Feb 16, 2021 - 7:07am

It happens in the background but you just don't get to see it

Similarly, not to burst your bubble, most of the thinking is heavily influenced by your client but you won't see that either. Do you really believe after 3 weeks of work you understand a business better than the Execs who have been there for decades?

  • VP in IB - Ind
Feb 17, 2021 - 8:20pm

total compensation to work load ratio of M&A consulting is not worth it in the end when your peers doing other "strategy" work make as much as you but work significantly less.



Feb 18, 2021 - 8:03am

I work in M&A/PE consulting for a boutique shop. We often compete against BCG and McKinsey for larger engagements, though we have the ability to be more flexible in our staffing model and go downstream (e.g. work with smaller companies & PE Firms) on select engagements. 

You mentioned DD work. We definitely do a bunch of buy-side (definitely commoditized, though every firm has something that is slightly differentiated) & sell-side (larger, more differentiated, more biased lol) DD's. This can include commercial, product, operational, and IT/Technology (quickly turning into one of the most important workstreams) DD. We don't do QoE, thank god. 

Outside of Due Diligence, I can think of several engagements my team has worked on over the last six months:

  1. Following the merger of the two largest companies in a subset of the marketing industry, we were hired to rationalize their go-forward staffing model (iykyk) as well as review each company's existing revenue-producing technology set, ultimately providing guidance on a future-state platform that requires several in-house developers. 
  2. We have a PE client that has purchased ~6 b2b software companies (software that helps businesses run their b2c companies, basically a mini ERP with vertical focuses) - but wasn't sure about how to actually integrate the disparate applications into a unified platform. In addition, several of the companies were in the midst of a migration from legacy software to a new, modern stack; however, they had lost momentum due to the merger. We had done lightweight commercial DD's (small companies) for these companies pre-transaction, so we came in and helped carve out both individual product roadmaps, and prepared the company for a move to a unified platform (8-week project). 
  3. We have done several "North Star" strategy projects with mid-sized clients ($200-500m rev). The M&A spin here is that these companies are typically preparing to go to market or the PE sponsor (typically an existing client) brings us in to accelerate growth in the first 12-months of the hold period. These are your standard strategy engagements where you help define leadership's vision for the board, identify market opportunities, review the hiring plan, provide insight on competitors, and make a shit ton of pretty slides.
  4. We performed an existential risk assessment for a large PE client thinking about buying a company that relied heavily on labor in an industry where automation is starting to gain traction. 




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