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Newport Board Group, a National Business Advisory Firm of CEOs Cautions Buyers on 5 Questions to Ask Before Acquiring a Technology-Based Middle Market Company
Date:6/19/2013

product have a future life--or is it about to be replaced or significantly modified?
3. Does the company have a history of predicting market, product and technology transitions accurately—and developing a road map to plan product transitions?
4. Has the company demonstrated the engineering, R&D and marketing capabilities to manage such product transitions?
5. Does the company have a record achieving revenue growth from new products?

A Real Life Example

A niche technology manufacturing company in the electronics industry was acquired by a larger firm. Due diligence did not uncover any issues regarding threats from new technology to its core, cash-producing products. Shortly after the company was bought, two issues arose, threatening the future of the business, neither of which was uncovered in due diligence.
Issue 1 – The core electronics/intellectual property supplied by outside vendor partners was becoming obsolete and not available for future product designs.
Issue 2 – Competitors were making advances in the area of the company’s core electronics technology, lowering barriers to entry and producing new entrants whose lower cost alternatives threatened the company’s leadership position. The experience of the R&D personnel of the acquired company was with the older technology. The company was thrown into turnaround mode. Its response was:
1. Cost cutting – because expected revenues and growth were delayed.
2. Launching an aggressive search for an outside development team to deliver a “crash” project to develop electronics compatible with the new technology.
3. Asking customers to wait and not place orders with competitors until the new products were ready.

M&A Failed to Deliver

With great difficulty, the company accomplished a near-term turnaround. Internal personnel were replaced with outsourced talent, a painful experience for all. Many customers waited to b
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