Leading deal-making strategies explained by the experts

Wayne Koonin, Arie Maree and Piet Mouton share their strategies for closing winning deals.

Successful mergers and acquisitions take a special kind of know-how, insight and grit. These three dealmakers, all of who have made a name for themselves, shared their winning strategies with CFO South Africa at CFO Day. 

After involvement in M&A deals early in his career, Omnia CFO Wayne Koonin (pictured) has become known as a turnaround and IT specialist. However, he recently put his dealmaker cap back on with Omnia's acquisition of Umongo Petroleum and Oro Agri in two separate deals for a total of R2 billion.

One of his key insights is that it is not necessary to follow through on every deal - even if you've done a lot of leg work. 

“The key lesson is that when the deal isn’t right you might need to be brave enough to walk away, despite the work you have put into the deal,” says Wayne.

He adds: “Equally, making the effort to figure out the deal and realise value can be very rewarding. Dealmaking tends to get into your ego and emotions, so keeping these in check is essential. An independent board or committee is the key to this challenge as they keep you honest and ask the tough questions.”

Ducks in a row Legal and tax expertise come at a premium and it’s one thing you cannot afford to overlook, even if your main focus is finance, says Wayne.

Read more: 

"If a deal isn't right, you must be brave enough to walk away" 

Arie Maree, head of Middle East & Africa at ansarada, says that short, sharp due diligences have become the norm for mergers and acquisitions.

“The average time in data rooms used to be between three and six months, but now we are seeing a lot more two-month processes.”

According to Arie, these “quick and efficient deals” are very common at the moment, while another big trend he is seeing in the M&A space is that companies need to permanently be deal-ready and able to present themselves at any given time.

Read more: 

'Quick and efficient deals' are in vogue, says ansarada's Arie Maree. 

Piet Mouton, CEO of Investment holding company PSG, shared his insight that having the best possible managment team in place is critical. 

He says this is vital because to destabilise the status quo, a company has to be different from existing competitors. It cannot not differentiate itself by offering a better price, a better service, or a combination of the two. Also, he said the management was as important as an effective sounding board for the CEO, who is responsible for creating the strategy of the organisation. 

Read more: 

5 tips from PSG CEO Piet Mouton on how to buy businesses