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Leading Advisers 2014 – Merrill DataSite: Supporting M&A Advisers

Acquisition International's Leading Advisor Review, featuring Merlin Piscitelli, Director Merrill DataSite



Introduction

Merrill DataSite is the premier virtual data room provider; supporting M&A dealmakers all over the world with a secure online platform for due diligence, which is essential to the successful completion of any M&A transaction.

Merrill DataSite has supported thousands of transactions worth trillions of dollars for more than a decade and prides itself on an outstanding solution that encompasses not only technology, but unrivalled, multi-lingual, dedicated project management service. It’s this combination of product excellence and years of service expertise that sets Merrill DataSite apart from the competition.

Leading Advisers 2014 – Merrill DataSite: Supporting M&A Advisers

“Merrill DataSite is a service provider to M&A advisers and their clients. We advise on, open, and operate virtual data rooms (VDR) that house sensitive documentation for review in the due diligence phase of a transaction, without which a deal simply wouldn’t happen.

Our philosophy is to work with clients to understand the environment they operate in. We immerse ourselves in the industries, regions and markets that M&A advisers deal in on a daily basis, so we can better support them and, in turn, their clients towards success. The best M&A advisers rely on forging relationships and building trust to grow business, which is what we aim to achieve and which is borne out in the volume of repeat business and personal recommendations we have each year.

In supporting M&A advisers setting up a project, we are a leading indicator of what’s happening in the wider market - how much activity it taking place and, perhaps more interestingly, what activity can be expected over future months.

Overall, 2014 has been an extremely positive year, both capital and public markets have been very active, but there is a pervasive sense of caution as well. With the ready availability of debt, competition over quality assets is fierce, but within this dynamic that’s driving deals no one wants to make the wrong decision. Questions are being asked: is too much being paid for assets; will value be returned; how long will the “new high” run; where will the next political bombshell land that’s going to impact markets?

The way this is being managed with the people we work with is obviously “before the deal is done”, i.e. via thorough and robust due diligence on each aspect of the asset on the table. We’ve witnessed an increase in the number of experts assigned to fact-find on a project, we’ve seen an increase in the volume of data shared and on the length of time a project is open. So, while 2014 has been a great year for Merrill DataSite in terms of new transactions, we understand the volatility in the market and recognise the important role of due diligence in helping to stabilise some of its potential impacts.

Looking forward into next year, as a leading indicator of market activity, we have seen double-digit growth in VDR setup across nearly all regions globally. For us, this has been driven by the verticals of investment banking, private equity and law firms, and in all use cases – due diligence in M&A, high-yield, IPO – and this again reflects what’s happening in the wider market. Outside DataSite, in very recent weeks there has been some fluctuation that’s shaken deals – stock markets have dipped, some IPOs have been pulled - but even with this short term volatility our data shows there is still a lot of cash to be put to use, there is still plenty of competition for good quality assets and 2015 should continue to see a high volume of announced deals and successful closures.”

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