‘Buying Right’ – The Do’s & Don’ts of Strategic Acquisitions

24 Nov 2021

Acquisitions can propel companies to competitive advantage faster than organic growth can deliver. Carried out well, they can grab headlines and secure ‘CEO saviour’ or ‘leader’ reputations. Carried out badly they can also destroy value and create ‘CEO scoundrels’ as we saw with the UK’s Sir Fred Goodwin’s ABN AMRO purchase; poorly delivered and overpaid at exactly the wrong time.


Research and experience show that many acquisitions fail to meet expectations or deliver the ideas or concepts behind the original strategy and some even fail altogether as the purchaser does not deliver shareholder value and return on capital lags on forecasts; and thus we buy a ‘Trojan Horse.’ Legend has it, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greek Trojans hid a selected force of men in a huge wooden horse. The Greeks pretended to sail away whilst the Trojans pulled their horse into the city of Troy. Some Greek soldiers were hidden in the horse and at night they crept out of the horse and opened the gates of Troy for the rest of the Greek army and the city fell. The acquisition may appear an attractive ‘trophy’ but:

  • Does it fit the strategy?

  • Will it distract as much as deliver?

  • Is it a Trojan Horse; attractive till opened?

  • How do we find, or have we found, the right deal?


The ‘strategy’ combined with value will drive the deal decision, checked by the due diligence. Each of these topics has their own chapter due to their materiality. However, for strategy and finding the right deal, leaders need techniques and knowledge to answer these questions, Through this seminar we examine what strategic mergers and acquisitions might mean and some of the best practice around their undertaking, particularly in private companies, to build on the acquirer’s core competencies to create advantage; to buy ‘right’.

Kevin Uphill, Chairman