January 27, 2011

“Will you marry me?”

In your life you might have asked or not yet asked this question. (In the past it was customary for the men to ask this question but I think we can now label this question as ‘unisex’). To whom you have asked the question and the answer you have received is not the subject of this writing. The thoughts of a business (wo)man asking this question to another business (wo)man to become partners in a company are what interest me .. :-)

The thoughts are influenced by the position; whether a business (wo)man is the prospective acquirer or the seller. However, both sides certainly share the wish to grow the company. Even though the benefits of this growth can be evaluated differently by each of them, both parties need to ask themselves whether they could live with each other before they ask the vital question. If a partnership is formed agreeing on the sales price only, the probability of the two parties facing serious problems during their cooperation increases dramatically.

While considering strategic partnerships, some prospective buyers want to have a plan for the whole foreseeable future of the company while some of the sellers insist on defining a scheme for the potential break-up even before they form the partnership. Examples could go on for a long while.

When we consider well planned marriages of companies from this point of view, we see that the talks and discussions are more open than those in social life. I cannot stop myself wondering whether or not we would have more healthy marriages if the same logical approach were to be applied in our social lives. :-)

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