Adherence to secrecy, pre-announcement preparations, realistic expectations-setting, and strategic plans for taking control are keys to P2P deal success.

By Richard Butterwick, Pierre-Louis Clero, Manuel Deo, Tom D. Evans, Tobias Larisch, David J. Walker, Suneel Basson-Bhatoa, Phillippe Tesson, Connor Cahalane, and Catherine Campbell

The deal market has seen a resurgence in public to private (P2P) transactions — global P2P volumes exceeded €115 billion in 2018, and have already surpassed €88 billion as of September 2019. As PE firms increasingly target complex and ambitious European P2P deals, deal teams need to consider tactics and understand local requirements. In our view, buyout firms can maximise the likelihood of successfully closing a P2P deal by considering these key issues.

Manage Your Information Expectations — Public Diligence Is Different

Public deals can falter over diligence, particularly if information requests are sizeable or require significant management time. Additional diligence will likely be carried out post agreement of headline terms — e.g., review of key legal documents, management presentations, etc. — but this is typically more limited than on a private deal, particularly with respect to time. In the UK, France, and Spain, equal information must be provided to bidders — target boards will be conscious that information shared with a bidder may need to be more widely distributed in due course. In Germany, while bidders do not need to be treated equally, access to information will only be granted by the target if it considers this to be in the best interests of the shareholders and the company. In all cases, buyers need to act quickly, with clear and realistic expectations of the public diligence process, in order to keep the board onside.