FEAR AND GREED
Corporate development groups have been whipsawed on a similar scale as investors, going from all-in to all-out and then back again. One buyer, a private equity-backed firm, took a deal to the board 3 in early October for what was supposed to be a rubber stamp approval, and got shot down. They called a few days ago to say that the deal is back on. Meanwhile discussions with corp dev groups at large companies have revealed a similar dynamic. They went in their bunkers in late September. Hiring restrictions made it harder to add people through acquisition. But over the last couple of weeks companies have taken a look at the history books (or have received a call from me, reminding of how stupid they were to shut down M&A during the last downturn), and stepped back up to the plate. Why? Look no further than Acquantive. Microsoft could have bought DoubleClick for less than a billion dollars after the tech wreck. Instead they sat in their bunker. Years later they paid $6 billion (an 85% premium) for DoubleClick competitor Acquantive.