|PE Auction Stars|
Think auction, and the mind conjures up a fast-talking, gavel-pounding auctioneer. Sold! In M&A, it's rarely that simple. Auctions are complex affairs, involving a large number of parties that may -- or may not -- be prepared to bid higher on a corporate asset. Auctions may sprawl over weeks and months. The investment bankers at the center of these often freewheeling episodes take on a number of roles: information gatherer and valuation analyst; matchmaker who tries to bring together the right buyer for the right seller; psychologist who can detect subtle shifts in sentiment. He -- and they are mostly men -- must work discreetly, even secretly; he must be seen to be operating evenhandedly, and yet also in the best interests of the client. He must pit bidders against each other to extract the highest price. He must keep the client informed while nudging the auction forward, fanning interest at opportune moments, moving players from stage to stage. He must be able to close the deal when the time comes.
In the pages that follow, we take a look at five of the best auction bankers around. Each of these individuals is deeply experienced in the business, often at multiple firms, with a long list of major deals in his past. They have built successful teams -- no one works alone -- nurtured strong relationships with private equity groups and corporate CEOs, and spent many days in the fluid, complex world of the M&A auction. They are prime examples of the intermediary's art, which is why they're auction stars.