Artificial Intelligence in Mergers & Acquisitions
In late 2023, you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard the buzz about the transformative nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in business. But, what does AI specifically mean for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), and what does that mean to a business or practice owner who might be considering a sale?
In the fast-paced world of business transactions, artificial intelligence is not just a buzzword; it’s a transformative force that will reshape how M&A is conducted. AI can be the catalyst for greater efficiency, insightful analysis, and streamlined processes in the M&A landscape for both sellers and their partners in M&A.
Read on about the ways AI is revolutionizing M&A, benefiting business owners and stakeholders navigating the complex world of mergers and acquisitions.
Historically, deal sourcing in M&A heavily relied on personal relationships. And it still does. However, AI is beginning to change the game. Generative AI can augment private company data, increasing the discoverability of potential targets, including, perhaps, your own business. By training algorithms with relevant data sets, AI can transform the experience when searching for complex data, making the process more efficient and precise for M&A professionals and sellers alike.
Accelerated Deal Timeline
Rushing through M&A deals can lead to costly mistakes, even with seasoned M&A experts. AI can ensure a smooth pace without sacrificing quality. AI-driven tools help dealmakers maintain control and keep things moving forward, allowing you to capitalize on opportunities while avoiding unnecessary stress for all involved.
Enhanced Due Diligence
Due diligence is a critical phase in any M&A deal. AI-powered tools excel at reviewing vast volumes of data, making them invaluable during this process. They can extract and organize key information, speeding up due diligence and potentially saving up to 90% of time in this phase. AI can also assist in language support for international deals, simplifying the translation process.
Valuation and Deal Structuring
In the world of M&A, accurate valuation is paramount. AI can assist in finding comparables, gathering data, and estimating enterprise value. BloombergGPT, for example, offers promising capabilities in this area. AI tools can provide preliminary analyses, helping experts make informed decisions and determine benchmarks.
M&A deals require adherence to complex laws and regulations. AI can be used to review contracts and legal documents, quickly identifying potential issues. This can help you find and fix errors early in the process, avoiding last-minute complications, saving time and money.
Avoiding Unsuccessful Acquisitions
Not all deals go as planned. In the past, we were reliant solely on human analysis to avoid risk and predict an optimal outcome. AI can help spot red flags and inconsistencies in documents during the due diligence phase. By analyzing various factors, including market volatility and customer retention, AI can provide valuable insights for dealmakers on the potential risks of a deal.
During post-merger integration, AI streamlines workflows, automates certain tasks, and offers an overhead view of complex processes—all of which can be a boon to a business or practice seller.
What are the different kinds of AI, then, and how can each be used in M&A?
Generative AI vs. Predictive AI
Understanding the distinction between generative AI and predictive AI is essential in the M&A context. While predictive AI makes forecasts based on historical data patterns, generative AI focuses on generating new content or information. In the legal industry, generative AI has already been deployed in M&A transactions for various purposes.
Generative AI Can Help With:
- Due Diligence
Generative AI tools can efficiently review and analyze documents within virtual data rooms, extracting critical information such as “change of control” provisions. They can help streamline the due diligence process, making it faster and more accurate.
- Contract Drafting
Generative AI can offer suggestions for modifying contract terms to align with specific goals. It can help identify deviations from agreed-upon terms, flag non-compliant language, and provide drafting suggestions. While generative AI can produce simple agreements, complex legal documents still require human expertise.
- Legal Research
Generative AI can supplement traditional legal research methods by quickly providing answers, explanations, and supporting sources. It can expedite research tasks, but human judgment remains essential.
Predictive AI Can Assist With:
- Quantitative Analysis of Deal Terms
Predictive AI can analyze proposed terms during real-time negotiations, providing insights into their impact on the deal. It can identify patterns, correlations, and trends, enabling better-informed decisions.
- Enhanced Risk Analysis
AI can assess the prospects of successful litigation, helping parties understand potential legal risks. It can also perform audit-like functions in reviewing a target’s financial reporting.
- Success Predictions
Predictive AI can analyze historical business and financial data to assess the potential success or failure of strategies, including acquisitions. It can help identify valuable assets within a business and assist in determining their individual worth.
- Post-Acquisition Integration
AI can analyze data from the integration process to optimize operations, identify areas for consolidation, streamline workflows, and support decision-making.
The Cautions of AI in M&A:
AI systems may produce biased or flawed results if trained on biased data or flawed methodologies. Human oversight is crucial to validate AI output, which is where an M&A professional can be of invaluable help.
- Lack of Contextual Understanding
AI may struggle to understand industry-specific nuances and jurisdictional differences. Efforts are ongoing to improve contextual awareness, but this is another area in which the human component is invaluable.
- Data Security and Confidentiality
AI tools may store data and share it with third parties, raising concerns about data security and confidentiality. Caution should be exercised when using AI tools for sensitive information; the right advisor can help minimize these risks.
The integration of AI into the M&A landscape is transforming the industry. From deal sourcing to post-acquisition integration, AI-powered tools enhance efficiency and decision-making, making transactions easier for sellers.
While AI offers immense potential, it must be used responsibly and ethically. Human expertise remains essential, and AI should be viewed as a valuable ally rather than a replacement. As the M&A landscape continues to evolve, AI will play a pivotal role in driving efficiency and effectiveness, making the future of deal-making more promising than ever when manipulated correctly.
In a rapidly changing M&A environment, leveraging AI’s strengths in data analysis and pattern recognition can empower individuals and organizations to make better-informed decisions. By embracing AI as a valuable partner, the M&A industry can look forward to a future marked by more efficient and effective deal-making while providing more opportunities for business and practice owners to optimize a sale.