Merger and Acquisition Education and Training Key Terms
Get started on a Merger and Acquisition career pathThough merger and acquisition, or M&A, services have become increasingly more important in today's marketplace, there is no one standard of education for M&A brokers. Traditionally, a financial professional, be it a financial analyst or corporate attorney, studies under an experienced M&A practitioner and learns the art of making a deal. That said, there are several skills specific to M&A, as well as some well-regarded programs that can give aspiring M&A professionals a leg up.
Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA)
Loyola University offers a joint program with the AM&AA. Students who complete it successfully get the CM&AA designation and a year-long membership.
Buy-and sell-side representation and advisoryA merger is said to be a union of equals, while an acquisition is basically a takeover. In reality, there are far more acquisitions than mergers. Buy-side advisors represent buyers who want to take over a company; sell-side advisors get the best deal possible for the business being acquired.
Baird describes the jobs of its first-year M&A analysts from both the buy and sell side.
Valuation and analysisWhen one company is thinking of buying another, naturally the buyer wants to have a clear idea of its prospect's worth. Valuation uses several tools, including price-earnings ratios, enterprise-value-to-sales ratios and discounted cash flow analysis, to assemble a picture of a what a company is likely to earn.
Investopedia has a good explanation of valuation and its importance in M&A deals.
Middle-market M&AMiddle market M&A deals take place between two companies that each have revenues between $10 and $50 million. Though mega mergers involving large corporations get the most attention, a vast majority of M&A activity occurs in the middle market.
Grant Thornton publishes its outlook on the role of private equity in middle-market M&A.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)The CFA program is administered by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute; it is the closest thing to a standard certification within the industry. The program takes three years and three tests to complete.
The CFA Institute describes the program in depth.
IntegrationOnce the players settle on a price, the challenge remains to effectively integrate two companies, each with its own set of skilled employees, equipment and contracts, not to mention culture. Integration is crucial to making sure an M&A deal is ultimately successful.
PricewaterhouseCoopers outlines its integration services.
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