Jenner & Block

Malik Discusses Strategic Mergers & Acquisitions at ACC Panel

Using strategic mergers and acquisitions to drive a company’s business goals was the topic of the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel's (ACC) panel discussion held on July 18 at the Firm’s Chicago office.  Panelists included Deidra Gold, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Wolters Kluwer North American Shared Services, Paul Tennola, Vice President-Business Development of Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting and Partner Thaddeus J. Malik, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions Practice.

Ms. Gold credited the increase of significant private equity funding as one of the reasons for the vast number of deals taking place in today’s business environment.  However, to execute a successful M&A transaction, an organization must "not only look at the financial sides of a deal, but also at the strategy behind it," Mr. Tennola said.  M&A transactions should be viewed as a continuing process for organizations, Ms. Gold said, and a "complement for, not a replacement of, organic growth." 

From the beginning of an M&A process, Mr. Malik noted, it is important to involve a legal representative that provides the skills and knowledge of the potential opportunities and risks of the transaction.  Ms. Gold stated that in her professional experience, she "aggressively stands by" from the very beginning, meaning that she lends her legal and business expertise to a potential transaction to identify its value, while allowing the deal’s processes to take place.  The role that legal counsel plays in an acquisition, said Mr. Tennola, can really "make or break the transaction."

Ms. Gold highlighted the importance of having clear and replicable M&A processes, which aids in successful M&A transactions.  Mr. Malik noted that when transactional work is standardized, deals can be completed at a faster rate, which also helps fuel the market for future deals.

Successful M&A processes are also better able to scale to the size and nature of the deal, said Mr. Tennola.  For example, he stated, relatively smaller entities within the market often have solid business experience, but may not be as well-versed in M&A best practices, and having a good process in place will help both sides complete the deal in an efficient manner.

The ACC is an organization which promotes the continued education of in-house attorneys and encourages advancements in corporate legal practice standards.