financing mergers & acquisitions

6 Methods of Financing Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers and Acquisitions are parts of the natural cycle of business. A merger or acquisition can help a business expand, gather knowledge, move into a new market segment, or improve output. However, these opportunities come with expenses for both sides. Standard merger deals typically involve administrators, lawyers, and investment bankers even before the total acquisition cost is considered. Without a virtual Data Room and a sizable amount of cash on hand, a company will have to find alternate methods of Financing M&A. Below is a detailed look at the best financing options available today as well as information on the ones to avoid.

Exchanging Stocks

financing m&aThis is the most common way to finance a merger or acquisition. If a company wishes to acquire or merge with another, it is to be assumed the company has plentiful stock and a solid balance sheet. In the average exchange, the buying company exchanges its stock for shares of the seller’s company. This financing option is relatively safe as the parties share risks equally. This payment method works to the buyer’s advantage if the stock is overvalued. Here, the buyer will receive more stock from the seller than if they’d paid in cash. However, there’s always the risk of a stock decline, especially if traders learn about the merger or acquisition before the deal is finalized.

Debt Acquisition

Agreeing to take on a seller’s debt is a viable alternative to paying in cash or stock. For many firms, debt is a driving force behind a sale, as subpar market conditions and high interest costs make it impossible to catch up on payments. In such circumstances, the debtor’s priority is to reduce the risk of additional losses by entering into a merger or acquisition with a company that can pay the debt. From a creditor’s standpoint, this is a cheap way to acquire assets. From the seller’s point of view, sale value is reduced or eliminated. When a company acquires a large quantity of another company’s debt, it has greater management capabilities during liquidation. This can be a significant incentive for a creditor who wants to restructure the company or take possession of assets such as business contacts or property.

Paying in Cash

A cash payment is an obvious alternative to paying in stock. Cash transactions are clean, instantaneous, and do not require the same high level of management as stock transactions. Cash value is less dependent on a company’s performance except in cases involving multiple currencies. Exchange rates may vary substantially, as seen in the market’s response to the British pound after the UK voted to leave the European Union. While cash is the preferred payment method, the price of a merger or acquisition can run into the billions, making the cost too high for many companies.

Initial Public Offerings

mergers & acquisitionsAn initial public offering, or IPO, is an excellent way for a company to raise funds at any time, but an impending merger or acquisition is an ideal time to carry out the process. The prospect of an M&A can make investors excited about the future of a company, as it points to a solid long-term strategy and the desire to expand. An IPO always creates excitement in the market and, by pairing it with an M&A, a company can spur investors’ interests and increase the early price of shares. Additionally, increasing an IPO’s value with a merger or acquisition can increase existing share prices. However, market volatility makes this a risky way to finance a venture. The market can drop as quickly as it rises, and a new company is more susceptible to volatility. For these reasons, the popularity of the IPO is declining with each passing fiscal year.

Issuance of Bonds

Corporate bonds are a simple, quick way to raise cash from current shareholders or the general public. A company may release time-definite bonds with a predetermined interest rate. In buying a bond, an investor loans money to the company in hopes of a return, but bonds have one big disadvantage: once they’re bought, the money can’t be used until the bond’s maturation date. The security makes bonds popular with long-term, risk-averse investors. Today, companies are taking advantage of low U.S. interest rates to fund M&A. However, the trend is tied closely to the cost of borrowing, and bond issuance is only a good value if the buyer can cheaply access credit and has a clear goal.


It can be costly to borrow money during a merger or acquisition. Lenders and owners who agree to an extended payment arrangement will expect a reasonable rate for the loans they make. Even when interest is relatively low, costs can quickly add up during a multimillion-dollar M&A. Interest rates are a primary consideration when funding a merger with debt, and a low rate can increase the number of loan-funded transactions.

In Conclusion

Where cash is not an option, there are many other ways to finance a merger or acquisition, many of which result in an effortless, lucrative, and quick transaction. The best method for a firm to use depends on the buyer and the seller, their respective share situations, asset values, and debt liabilities. Each method of funding a merger or acquisition comes with its own hidden fees, commitments, and risks, and it is the buyer’s and seller’s responsibility to practice Due Diligence during a transaction. However, for most companies, the results make all the effort worthwhile by creating a more diverse, stronger firm that can cover the cost of M&A with funds to spare.