Wealth management firms seeking rapid growth are increasingly turning to mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”) as a solution. As such, we are seeing a lot of M&A activity involving firms with multiple owners, staff, and even real property. Many practices are looking to be acquired or merge with a larger business to spur growth, to benefit from economies of scale, to offload compliance and day-to-day operations, to increase bandwidth and offerings to clients, or to assist with the retirement of one or more senior owners/partners, among other reasons. Given these complicating factors, negotiating and documenting these M&A transactions can often be more time consuming than the parties expect, which creates the perfect incubator for deal fatigue.
Deal fatigue is a condition during negotiations when one or more of the parties begins to feel frustrated, hopeless, irritated, or even angry about the pace of the transaction. Deal fatigue–at some level–is almost impossible to avoid in a complex transaction, but if caught early and prepared for it can almost always be successfully managed. If not, deal fatigue is one of the surest ways to destroy a transaction. The key is to know the causes and signs of deal fatigue as well as the tools to minimize its negative impact.
Causes of Deal Fatigue
There are of course many causes of deal fatigue, but some of the most common ones that we routinely see are:
Deal fatigue is typically correlated with the time it takes to complete an M&A transaction. Typical transactions take about three months. Parties can get frustrated if they feel like they’re being rushed, while others may feel frustrated if the process starts to feel too drawn out. Striking a balance between the two is important.