Recent statements by the President of Unilever's beauty and care division illustrate one of the key themes in M&A, not just within the FMCG market, but in all markets.

Acquisitive firms look at a lot of potential acquisitions, for the M&A/Strategy/Development officers at larger firms, it is their job to look at a lot of potential acquisitions. But they only make a few. They need to be convinced that the acquisitions they actually complete will be both successful and accretive moving forwards and achieved at an acceptable value and structure. They can't tell that at first glance and are willing to look at a lot of frogs.

Buyers want as much information as they can get on a potential acquisition, as early as they can get it, while offering the minimum levels of commitment, to make a decision on whether to progress or not. This is ideal for them, but less than ideal for the Frog - putting time, effort and exposure into discussions only to be discarded, sometimes at significant risk and cost.

Our approach to market research & analysis lends itself well to discovering who really thinks your firm is a princess (or in some cases, a knight in shining armour!) up front, before they even know that you exist. Our process is built upon only providing information to a potential acquiror as it becomes strictly neccessary for conversations to progress, tailored to the specific information actually required and only once we have evidence that they really see you as a Princess.

The industry-standard (but outmoded) "teaser and IM" document process puts your company firmly in the shop window for casual suitors (potentially your competitors, customers, suppliers . . .) to observe, pick up, inspect, probe and then walk away. 

Our approach goes and searches for those firms who will attach reach strategic and synergistic value to your company, maintaining serious interest and complete confidentiality and driving a competetive process amongst parties who see real potential in an acquisition.

After all, a Princess shouldn't be too upfront.