October 25, 2010

Lucerne

Last week for 2 days I was in Lucerne, Switzerland. A Swiss prospective acquirer, interested in purchasing the shares of one of my clients, had invited us to their headquarters in Switzerland for our third meeting.

The hotel where they reserved rooms for us was facing Lake Lucerne, similar to the rooms of the hotel we had reserved for them in Istanbul, which had a view of the Bosporus. In the morning of our meeting, I got up at 6:30. The view from my window was awesome. The hills on the other side of the lake were taking on various tones of grey as they got further away from the shore. The boats, placed with a Swiss orderliness on the satiny lake, were arranged in front of the hilly background, getting ready to be immortalized for a postcard.

During breakfast my clients described their morning view with almost the same words as mine. They too, were highly impressed.

We were not expecting a difficult meeting that day. However, the prospective acquirer had a very tough approach even at the start of the meeting. Their attitude was so harsh that my client said to me, “I am thinking of getting up and leaving this meeting”. At that point only half an hour had passed since the start of the meeting.

We didn’t leave the meeting though. We stated that not all of what they said was correct and that we have to continue our discussions calmly and reasonably.

Our meeting ended at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. By that time, the parties had agreed on almost all of the issues, and most importantly on the purchase price of the company shares. The agreement was reached based on a solution that had not even been considered up to that meeting.

If both parties are willing to go into a partnership, then one shouldn’t put too much importance on the superficial details on the way. The other part can first show you courteous hospitality and then try to beat you up but in the end, mutual advantage determines the outcome.

ps. This post has reached the readers by email on October 7th, 2010. I somehow have forgotten to publish it on this site. :-)

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