Fruit that’s Ripe for Non-traditional Disruption (and how to diligence the prospect of it)
The Amazon Whole Foods tie-up is certainly throwing more than a couple of mature industries for a loop: food production, logistics and distribution, mass-retail and groceries. Since the announcement (and as of today), Costco lost 17% of its value; Kroger is down 30%; Sprouts is down 24%; Wal-Mart took a hit but seems to be holding its own.
Indefensible (Competitive Position)
I’m fairly certain that just about every commercial diligence assignment conducted is going to include measurement of the asset's commercial strength relative to customer needs and expectations, and relative to perceptions of competitors and alternatives.
Strength of Demand vs. Strength of Brand
What is more important when looking at a deal: the strength of demand drivers, or the strength of the target company's brand equity? With rare exception, Demand – not Choice (brand equity among suppliers) – is more fundamental to a successful acquisition outcome.
When Things aren’t Quite what they Seem - Distressing Commercial Due Diligence Close-calls
I thought I’d share some instructive discoveries we’ve had in commercial due diligence recently. I’m curious to hear yours. If you’re inspired, send me a quick reply with a couple of diligence events that surprised you (and that you hopefully caught). Here are a few from the past year:
A Quick Follow-up on Market Definitions
In an earlier GRAPH Paper™, my partner James referenced how important it is to accurately define the market when it comes to market sizing requirements. Per that GRAPH Paper, “Having clear definitions that everyone on the deal team is aligned on is essential.” Beyond supporting market sizing, being clear on the market definition helps the team better understand the target asset itself, and…
Sizing Up Bad Market Definitions
Reflecting on 20 years of investing, one investment professional recently remarked to us, “When I think about what we’ve gotten wrong in the past, the worst times have been when we believed we had a bigger market size than we really did. There’s just nothing you can do...the company just runs out of room for growth.”
Assessing the Threat of Low Cost Imports
Anyone who has worked deals in the industrial engineered products and components markets in the last decade likely encountered a common diligence issue…
Problems to Avoid when Forecasting Product, Service, and Technology Adoption as Part of Diligence
An investment thesis often depends on adoption in one form or another (e.g., of a new product, business model, technology, etc.) so we thought it helpful to lay out “best and worst” practices for assessing adoption potential.