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IT Due Diligence: Researching the Target Company Prior to the Onsite Visit

Improving quality and significance of IT Due Diligence at M&A transactions

By Jim Hoffman

Typically, during the IT due diligence process, there will be a period of communication via phone and email where initial questions are asked and preliminary information is requested. This will usually be followed by an on-site visit.

Prior to the onsite visit, it’s important to perform independent research on the potential acquisition. The Internet offers a number of excellent opportunities to perform this research. This article describes a number of resources that can be very useful during this phase of IT due diligence.

The Target Company’s Website

The first place to start is the target company’s own website. Try to identify the company’s product offerings and the executive team. Note anyone involved in technology such as the CTO or CIO. You can also look for press releases and other company background information.


LinkedIn can show you the backgrounds of current employees. Through LinkedIn connections you may identify people you have in common with key target company staff members. This can provide a conversation starter during your in-person interviews and also give you a potential reference to check. In addition, if there are a lot of LinkedIn members who formerly worked at the target company, this might be an indication of high turnover.
An additional resource for German speaking countries could be


M&A Integration: How to Do It

Danny A. Davis ist langjähriger M&A-Berater aus England. In seinem aktuell veröffentlichten Buch widmet er sich der M&A Integration. Als Gastautor im Fredelia-Blog beschreibt er ein typisches Praxisbeispiel aus seiner Erfahrung.

Planning and Delivering for Business Success

The common issues with M&A integration are that people do not start planning early enough and do not have the knowledge, experience or checklist and templates to enable good planning. These are the two big ones. When you don’t have a plan, you don’t know what your doing or when to do it. This leads into the concept of not knowing what, where, when and how to communicate to all stakeholders and thus the issue that people see and speak about, poor communication and lack of cultural understanding. The planning also enables us to move everything faster, thus delivering our synergies, profit and move ourselves through to the new company, entity or strategy as rapidly as possible. Our aim is to deliver value.

A software company delivered four different packages to its customers, it bought another software company with an overlap on two product, then aim being to close down those two products and thus halve the cost. Also having a large customer base would enable them to win more work elsewhere. A good strategy and good deal. However they then did nothing. They had not planned the detail and didn’t put anyone in charge of moving this delivery all forward. The completion went to all the customers and said “your software will be turned off, come to us”. New sales went to zero, new service contracts went to zero and our company was in trouble. We went in three months post deal to sort out the mess, the only solution was to state to all customers, all software will remain in place for the next three years and be supported for as long as you want it to be. Sales instantly went up to pre-deal levels, as did service contracts. All was good again. Except that the deal had not made the additional profit needed. The entire management team was removed by their PE owners over the following six months.

My advice is to plan fully, plan early “plan, plan, plan”. You should use internal people who understand the business and will be left with any issues afterwards, supplement this with people who know what they are talking about interims, consultants, advisors, etc. Be ready well in advance of the deal taking place. Then ramp up resource to deliver through your new strategy, changes and profit improvement programmes – both revenue increase and cost cutting. Plan in detail all your activities and actions from the finance function though IT and into all the people aspects. Then create the communication plans to go along side that. Then look through the division and business lens in the same manner. Check the plans all link together well across all areas and that there are no items that seem strange once we have completed it. Have this all completed pre-deal, so you are ready for Day one communications, management changes and for integration to be mobilise and delivery to start. Then you will need to ramp up project and resource and deliver through all the changes that lead to improved profit or value creation activities.

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