Posted: 07 Mar. 2022 6 min. read

Accelerating M&A with digital and virtual tools

Author: Karima Porter

M&A isn’t the only business process to feel the transformative effects of technology, but it is uniquely impacted compared to other parts of the enterprise. That’s in part because M&A isn’t really one process, but a series of disciplines that need to work together coherently, from diligence through post-close transformation. Digital and virtual technology play a growing role in forging the critical connections within teams, between organizations, and from one M&A lifecycle stage to another.

The results? Details made clearer, decisions made surer, and deals done faster. Digital doesn’t just accelerate M&A strategy and execution, but it helps reduce the guesswork that goes into planning a deal, measuring its results, and all the steps in between.

Know more, sooner

From strategy through integration, M&A has always run on information—the more timely and detailed, the better. Deloitte’s recent survey of M&A decision-makers finds that the use of advanced analytics and data science is on the rise. When organizations can acquire and process data at greater speed, they can draw more insights—faster—from external and proprietary company information. They can also drill down into levels of detail that would take too long using traditional methods. In other words, digital tools make it possible to have both “good” and “fast” at the same time.

This can make a difference by informing diligence, clean room operations, restructuring, and other parts of the lifecycle with more relevant detail. It also makes M&A operations more efficient. In Deloitte’s recent M&A trends survey,

  • Three-quarters of the executives surveyed said their companies now use digital tools to support restructuring and diligence
  • Sixty-nine percent say they use analytics in diligence and monitoring, and twenty-seven  percent are considering adding those capabilities

As Deloitte Consulting LLP principal Karima Porter noted, “Digital tools and assets allow global teams to work and collaborate more efficiently, reducing time spent on transaction activities and ultimately completing engagements in less total time and with fewer resources.”

Bridge the divide

One highlight of the move to embrace digital M&A tools is the use of virtual environments. The pandemic-driven shifts away from travel and in-person meetings helped accelerate this trend, but the pandemic does not account for the full shift. There are other advantages in speed and efficiency that virtual tools provide.

From one stage of the M&A lifecycle to the next, our survey respondents cited purely in-person meetings as the least likely method they’d choose—not over the last two years, but for the 12 months ahead.                          

A hybrid approach that combines some elements of virtual and in-person interaction was more popular than purely in-person meetings at every stage except target screening, where they were close to equal. The more telling result, however, is that purely virtual interaction was the survey respondents’ majority choice for every M&A stage.

Management of deal elements over the next 12 months
Corporate and PEI

Source: Deloitte 2022 M&A Trends Survey

Make it happen

The move to digitally-enabled M&A predated the pandemic. So do the digital capabilities Deloitte brings to organizations that seek to improve their M&A processes and outcomes. The Deloitte Total M&A Solution (TMAS) suite includes secure AI-enabled and machine learning technologies, empowered by industry-leading proprietary datasets, that can help organizations overcome M&A and restructuring challenges and achieve higher transaction value.

Effectively applying digital tools to M&A isn’t a task that works on a superficial level—it takes combined experience in both disciplines. That’s one form of integration that can help improve outcomes during every part of the M&A journey.

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