The panel discussion consisted of Sascha Günther from Oakley, Philipp Marquardt from AlixPartners, Arne Otto from Siemens Portfolio Companies, Dr. Karl Popp from SAP, and moderator Jens Weber from PwC.
The discussion kicked off with the question of how the panelists are working with 100-day plans in the post-sale transition period. Interestingly, all the panelists shared the same opinion, more or less, despite their diverse professional backgrounds. From the panel’s perspective, it is important to create and have a 100-day plan when it comes to a transaction since it would provide great support for the structure and procedure of the post-transaction integration. However, it should be used as a guideline instead of hard rule, as in most cases three months are just not enough to achieve a successful integration and create both sustainable bottom and top-line synergies. In this context, the question of the human role in a transaction was raised, given the boom of machine learning and artificial intelligence. On one side, Karl Popp from SAP argued that the M&A process in particular could benefit from enhanced technology,
e.g. quickly analyzing legal contracts. On the other hand, from a PE post-transaction perspective, humans still play a major role as the management team of the target represents, next to financial performance, the key deal driver. In other words, in a pre-deal world, it is more likely to see shifts in the replacement of humans by software solutions whereas in a post-deal world the human role is still going to be of significant importance.
At the end of the discussion, the audience was provided with some food-for-thought when the participants briefly explained their views on the value creation through tax compliance. Within the last few years, the issue of tax compliance has become truly complex and gained more and more importance for private equity investors. Therefore, it is crucial to go through the process as early as possible as it may affect a variety of determinants of the buyout’s success. Starting with the entire set-up of the transaction, findings and takeaways from a thoughtful tax compliance can help structure loss carry forwards, dividend payments, and also guide the exit strategy—all symbolizing so-called hidden value pockets.