What skills should a legal adviser hold who wishes to specialize in mergers and acquisitions? Let’s discuss it.
Once again this year, the global mergers and acquisitions market weighed heavily in the balance: $3,910 billion, according to Dealogic. In Canada, 2018 and 2019 were record years for this type of transaction. Mr. Hugo-Pierre Gagnon, partner with the Osler firm in Montreal, explained the reasons for this growth to us: “There is a lot of cash available on the market, because interest rates are low right now. In addition, institutional investors (pension funds, private fund managers, etc.) have a lot of capital to deploy. Finally, the Canadian economy is doing very well and there is good growth, so it attracts foreign and domestic investments.”
Merger and acquisition transactions can last from 6 to 12 months for large multinationals, and can amount to several billion dollars. For Mr. Gagnon, a legal adviser who wants to specialize in this type of transaction must have several qualities.
“First of all, you have to be a good listener, both to the customer and to the other party, to be able to target everyone’s concerns and reach a compromise. You also have to be a diplomat; this is important in this type of process. Being creative and innovative is a necessary skill in our profession, because sometimes there is an impasse. However, new ideas must be found which allow each party to continue the negotiation and arrive at a suitable result. Finally, I would say you have to have patience. You may be called upon to work very late, and on weekends.”
What Mr. Gagnon likes in his specialization is the diversity of tasks. Companies that engage him work in a variety of fields and therefore experience different issues. For example, last year he concluded the purchase of a waste management company, and this year a software development company and a security company.
“One of the beauties of this practice is that learning continues, you are always learning about new sectors of activity and acquiring new skills. It’s very stimulating,” he explains.