The best way to learn about an M&A transaction is to actually go through the entire process from start to finish. Of course, company leaders do not want to go into such an important deal completely oblivious as to how the whole thing works, so a little advanced studying is certainly warranted. These days, finding information online is not a problem, and there are tons of resources for companies of every size and sector. However, knowing which information is accurate, reliable, and trustworthy is a whole different story. And, there are plenty of resources that actually come in the form of a good old-fashioned book that may be of tremendous help. Here is a list of the top books to understanding the intricacies of effective negotiation, which is crucial for an M&A deal to get off of the ground and actually make it to closing:

Getting to Yes

This is kind of an oldie but definitely a good one. It has long been considered one of the quintessential bibles on effective negotiation tactics. This book is based on a project that took place at Harvard regarding effective negotiation and conflict resolution. According to reviewers, Getting to Yes provides a plethora of advice and strategies on coming to a mutually satisfactory agreement with another party. Although the book is probably oriented more toward the business world, some people swear that the insights it offers are applicable in both personal and professional spheres. Given that M&A deals require both professional and personal finagling, there is no doubt that this is a must read.

Difficult Conversations

Okay, so this is another book that derives from the work of that negotiation project at Harvard, but obviously those folks had a strong handle on the things that matter when dealing with people in the workplace. There are going to be times in any deal, M&A or otherwise, when conflicts arise, people drop the ball, and intervention is unavoidable. Plenty of people shy away from confrontational situations, but confrontation does not have to be adversarial. This book provides its readers with the right tools to approach even the most uncomfortable exchange with the right attitude and mindset to ensure that it ends in a favorable resolution.

Bargaining for Advantage

Well, we have moved away from Harvard and are taking a look at what those Wharton folks have to say, which is a lot. A professor who has taught negotiation strategies to countless company leaders summarized his experience and knowledge on the matter in this book. It covers things like how to navigate negotiations via electronic means, as well as cultural and gender differences that one should take into consideration when negotiating.

The Art of M&A

The first three books we mentioned focused more on negotiation tactics in general, which are applicable in M&A, but obviously not specific to that kind of deal. This book is basically the guide to completing M&A from beginning to end. It includes information on all of the integral facets of completing an M&A transaction, such as researching, valuation, structuring, negotiation, closing, and what to expect post-closure. Although the books mentioned previously will likely help anyone in the business world, this is probably the go to for those facing an M&A transaction and pressed for time.

Mergers and Acquisitions Playbook: Lessons from the Middle-Market Trenches

There is a common misperception that M&A is primarily conducted amongst larger enterprises with high profit margins, but that just isn’t the case these days. There are a lot of benefits to small and medium businesses joining forces to capitalize on each other’s resources and increase their portion of the market share. This book is even more specific than the last one, as it offers an interesting take on companies that engage in M&A in the middle-market.

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