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How can due diligence procedures bolster the success rate of mergers and acquisitions?

How can due diligence procedures bolster the success rate of mergers and acquisitions?

According to research, approximately 83% of M&A transactions fail to enhance shareholder value, highlighting the complexities inherent in these strategic initiatives, potentially because of poor due diligence. This underscores the significance of due diligence as a fundamental component in the M&A process. It's not a procedural formality but a crucial business performance indicator. Effective due diligence is a strategic imperative that critically influences the success trajectory of M&A activities. The exercise could serve as a key differentiator between value generation and failure.

The M&A landscape

M&A deals are strategic moves that can redefine an industry's landscape. The right acquisition can catapult a company to the forefront of its sector, while a misstep can lead to financial loss and reputational damage. Therefore, the due diligence process becomes a crucial strategic tool in the M&A deal. As global markets become increasingly interconnected, the complexity of these deals rises, particularly with the varying legal and regulatory environments across different regions.


The temptation to rush through or superficially address the due diligence process has led to high-profile M&A failures. The Autonomy and Hewlett-Packard saga is a prime example, where ambitious forecasts and failed accounting practices resulted in a USD 11.1 billion write-down for HP. This incident illustrates the peril of underestimating the importance of thorough due diligence in revealing critical information about financial health, operational risks, and potential legal issues that can drastically alter the perceived value of a deal.


A robust due diligence process encompasses a forensic review of the target company's financials, legal standings, operational efficiency, and cultural fit. Amazon's acquisition of demonstrated this, as Amazon's meticulous approach to due diligence provided comprehensive insights into Souq's market dominance, e-commerce infrastructure, and customer loyalty metrics. This level of analysis is crucial in identifying potential risks and opportunities for synergy and growth that might otherwise be overlooked.

Role of consultants

In an environment where objectivity is key, due diligence consultants play a pivotal role. They bring industry expertise, analytical skills, and an unbiased perspective, which is crucial for a comprehensive evaluation. In Uber's acquisition of Careem, consultants conducted an in-depth analysis of regional market trends, customer behaviour, and regulatory challenges, providing Uber with a clear understanding of the value and complexities involved in the deal. The role of consultants often extends beyond analysis, offering strategic insights that can shape the trajectory of the post-merger integration process.

Implementing best practices

Successful M&A deals often follow a blueprint of comprehensive due diligence, combining financial scrutiny with an assessment of strategic fit. Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox illustrates this approach, where Disney conducted an exhaustive evaluation of Fox's assets, liabilities, and potential for future growth. This thoroughness is essential for assessing the present value and strategising long-term integration and growth prospects.

Adapting to regional specifics

In regions like the Middle East, due diligence must adapt to local business practices, regulatory landscapes, and cultural nuances. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank merger showcased how tailored due diligence approaches and awareness of the UAE's banking regulations and market dynamics are critical for successfully navigating regional M&A landscapes. These regional adaptations are essential for uncovering unique opportunities and navigating potential risks inherent in different markets.

The takeaway

The success of M&A transactions heavily relies on the depth and thoroughness of the due diligence process. Effective due diligence, particularly when enhanced by the expertise of skilled consultants, is fundamental to identifying risks and uncovering value in M&A deals. It's a strategic imperative for successful corporate integrations, crucial in a global context and particularly vital in regions with distinct business environments.

Related Services: M&A Transaction Advisory, Due DiligenceDeal Advisory