In trying to synthesize my experiences this summer,  it’s hard to not notice certain parallels…

  • You have an army of tireless, well-groomed matchmakers willing to solicit suitors, schedule outings, cost-benefit analyze all your most viable options, and sacrifice their own personal relationships to make sure that every detail of your dating process proceeds flawlessly.
  • Taking discussions “to the next level” includes a binding agreement to stop entertaining offers from competing bidders and players.
  • Merger premiums: Really good assets command (deserve?) a premium.
  • Distressed sales: If you’re desperate, you’ll sell to anyone.
  • Sure the CEO is important, but you have to please all the shareholders (friends, family, pets, etc.—every effort should be made to avoid a hostile takeover).
  • Any assumptions that exist going into the relationship are made transparent by a rational, well organized slide deck that both sides agree to.
  • You talk about—and model out—action plans to anticipate upside, downside, and other off-chance scenarios in advance.
  • You call upon painstakingly detailed models of your current standalone lives to make a merged projection for many future years, ensuring a snug fit into perpetuity.
  • You do months—years! of due diligence to make sure there are no nasty secrets, including spending several weeks at the other party’s home with free reign over all significant files and artifacts.
  • Everybody wins, or there’s no deal.
  • You try to maximize post-merger synergies and goodwill, both operationally and financially.
  • Even though you’ve thought of everything, there are always surprises (that your matchmakers will smooth out at 9AM on a Saturday morning) to keep things interesting.