Investment Banking – Why do Sellers use an Investment Banker? (I)

If you looked at the economic times headlines today, you would have read how the Government has shortlisted three Investment Banks, also known as Merchant Banks, to manage the stake sale in the SUUTI portfolio companies. (Source)
This means the government has mandated Citibank, Morgan Stanley, and ICICI Securities, to sell their minority stakes in various listed and unlisted entities on their behalf. What does this mean? And how would the transaction take place? In this post and the next series of posts, we will try and understand how a deal takes place, what happens and what Investment Bankers actually do. These posts will help you prepare for Investment Banking and Corporate Finance interviews as this is a common question. This is part of our interview prep module in our FMVC course at Imarticus Learning, one of India’s leading Financial Modeling and Valuation courses.
Why do they need a banker at all?
I mean after all who knows your company best, you or an outsider. You, of course. And why should you really pay 4 percent of what you get to someone when you could do it yourself. Well Investment Bankers add immense value to a deal and this is why most major transactions use one.

  1. Most companies don’t have the expertise- Investment Bankers bring with them specialized knowledge on how to sell something. How to package a product in a way that showcases it best to optimize value. But how do they know the company well enough to do that? Well, they work very hard to gain both a broad working knowledge of the industry and specific knowledge about the sector. So yes, while you know your company very well, they probably know the industry, your competition, both domestic and international as well as you do and perhaps even better in some cases.
  2. Most companies don’t have the time- Are you going to focus on running the company or selling it. Selling a business is an extremely time consuming process from gathering all the information, to putting it together in one place, to contacting buyers, scheduling meetings, doing site visits and taking care of documentation. It’s also an important job; you can’t just put your EA on it, however good she might be. So do you pull your most efficient person out of their current job, or are you better off hiring someone who does this day in and day out?
  3. Being objective- Value is a very subjective thing. You might believe your company is work x but the market and the buyers might value it at Y.  Because you are too close to the transaction, sellers find it very hard to take an objective view because the value of a company is marred by conflicts and emotions. Yes, finance is a minefield of aspirations, attachments, ambitions, hard work, years of toil and legacy. Less said about inflated egos the better. So having a banker that can assess value from the outside is not just helpful but critical in achieving your objective.


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