by David Jegen
In acquisitions, there are two types of leverage. The first is negotiating leverage, which determines who wins on deal-breaker points. The second is knowledge leverage, predicated on knowing what issues you can win on without jeopardizing the deal. There’s little you can do to change your negotiating leverage — you either have a competitive acquisition process or you don’t. However, you can change your knowledge leverage. Contrary to what the acquirer might say, most points are not deal breakers. You just need to know what to ask for — you might be surprised at how much the acquirer will agree to, but only if you ask.
The vast majority of startup exits occur via acquisition. And while the internet is full of advice for pre-exit founders, remarkably little content exists to help guide them through post-acquisition life — even though they and the employees they recruited will often spend two-to-three years toiling away with the acquirer. An acquisition is an exciting occasion, to be sure, but it is hardly the happily-ever-after ending that the “founder’s journey” story might suggest.