Job description for mergers & acquisitions

Written by sam grover
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Job description for mergers & acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions involve a great deal of number crunching. (finance #3 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com)

Mergers and acquisitions is a field of finance that involves companies buying parts of other companies, selling parts of their own companies, and merging two companies entirely. It involves a great deal of financial analysis as the deal has to be determined to be sound before it is gone through with. This creates an entire industry of people whose job it is to analyse company records and determine the viability of a merger or acquisition.

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Description

Mergers and acquisitions (M & A) describes the subset of the financial industry that deals with companies buying and selling one another. "Acquisitions" describes the buying and selling of subsidiaries and divisions, while "mergers" describes the combining of two entire companies. This practice employs people on both the buying and selling side of the equation as analysts, researchers, lawyers, and even low-level paralegals.

Roles

Mergers and acquisitions is not just a career but an entire subset of the finance industry. This means that it is possible to become involved from a number of different angles; paralegals are at the lowest level while at the highest are corporate lawyers, vice presidents and CEOs.

However, the most common path through M & A is as an analyst. These people make up the bulk of M & A teams as the process of merging or acquiring companies generates a great deal of data that needs to be analysed.

Scale

While we associate M & A with large companies, the fact is that investment banks do not usually get involved unless the deal is worth around £97 million or more, which makes these "big-ticket" M & A deals something of an anomaly. Rather, most mergers and acquisitions are done by medium-level accounting firms and industry-specific M & A groups. Most M & A professionals will therefore find themselves working for one of these firms rather than a large investment bank.

Career Path

As stated above, most M & A professionals start out as analysts, crunching the raw financial data about the companies involved. This entry-level job requires strong analytical, research and presentation skills. Analysts who perform well will be promoted to associates, who oversee analyst teams and check their models for accuracy. Finally, the vice presidents are the senior, late-career level people who have far more contact with the clients themselves. These are the people who not only run the deal but also liaise with the clients to ensure it is going according to plan.

Salary

The low end of the M & A industry is the paralegal or office clerk, who manages data entry and other basic work. These people make around £32,500 per year.The vice presidents and business development officers who oversee the deal, however, make a substantially more comfortable average of around £104,000 per year. The analysts who do the bulk of the work make an average of around £44,200 per year.

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