AI Issue 7 2017

Acquisition International - July 2017 25 Allert & Co.: M&A transactions involving German SMEs several transactions with transaction partners from China. After all, German business has a reputation for focusing on matter-of-fact details. This took some getting used to for some transaction partners, but it also allowed the value and the general appreciation of German engineering and the German way of doing business to find its way into international valuation customs and M&A decision- making processes.” The professionalised DNA of SME-compatible valuations was so well received by the market that Allert & Co. is also repeatedly called upon as an expert on transaction-independent valuations. The next generation: negotiation techniques are key To the extent that fiscal mindsets and company valuation instruments became more widespread, a new factor came into play. Arnd Allert sums up the change: “Today it is no longer just about having the edge when it comes to knowledge or the alignment of the knowledge of negotiating partners in connection with M&A transactions. What may ultimately be decisive is the manner in which the negotiations are conducted.” Arnd Allert addressed this issue – probably more resolutely than others have done. His book “Erfolgreich verhandeln bei M&A-Transaktionen im Mittelstand” (Negotiating successfully in small and mid-sized M&A transactions), published in 2014, was probably the first comprehensive monograph on this niche expertise. Not only does this book show in a unique way how to better negotiate – all the way from preparation to implementation through to follow-up. It also shows ways of blending communication skills with the DNA of small and medium-sized businesses – and thus ensuring success, for example through a better mixture of purchase price and warranties. The book, initially published in German, went down very well – not only amongst German-speaking readers, but also internationally after having been translated into English. The German edition for a while even managed to take 1st place in the category “Business literature” on Kindle. This groundwork pays off in every respect: today, Allert & Co. is not only in great demand as a negotiating partner at the table, but also as a ghost negotiator for transactions. Knowledge sharing is also strategically and emotionally important to Arnd Allert in other ways as well: Allert & Co. passes its knowledge on to young talent interested in SME dealings. Arnd Allert: “We are extremely demanding – but in return we also offer a very rare opportunity. Working for us for two years will provide the opportunity to see off at least three transactions from beginning to end.” M&A transactions involving SMEs: solid, silent and professional With an analytical approach and great expertise, Arnd Allert and his partner Matthias Popp opened up a market that at that time did not yet exist in this form. Solidly, silently and highly professionally, they set new standards and created a new DNA for what was to prove necessary in due course. In one respect, however, the world of SMEs in Germany has remained unchanged – on the contrary: SMEs are shy of the limelight. It is not without reason that there is a particularly high number of “hidden champions” in Germany: companies that dominate their market – but shy away from the big stages of stock markets and the media. SMEs, in particular, do not seek such prominence, because they do not need it. This characteristic of German small and medium- sized enterprises is all the more relevant in the era of “efficient markets”. The more available all of the information has become in our modern world of digital media, the more important factors such as trust, reliability and discretion have become to SMEs. This is very opportune for Arnd Allert and his team. They know that their clients and negotiating partners can rely on them. The carefully developed ability to devise SME transactions as a win-win situation, to manage them and to bring them to a successful conclusion has made Allert & Co. a sought-after address for stakeholders in off-market medium-sized transactions.