Merger & Acquisition Deals in the Cloud

20 June. 2022

Mergers and Acquisitions is a team sport. A group of dealmakers, analysts, lawyers, accountants, and other experts collaborate with a single goal in mind: a term sheet that seals the deal.

The process requires reams of confidential documents: archives of confidential internal documents for reference. Work-in-progress documents as analysts collaborate to determine valuations and develop projections, followed by experts on legal and regulatory matters who weigh in to tweak the offer.

Throughout the process, security is essential. A leak can show your hand to the competition and potentially expose the team to regulatory penalties and litigation.

M&A Shifts to a Remote Work Environment

In pre-pandemic times, confidentiality was relatively easy to maintain: the team met in private quarters at the corporate office, investment bank, private equity firm, or law office. Documents were retrieved from locked file cabinets and secure databases. Third parties were called in to work with the team on-premises.

The COVID pandemic changed the M&A world. While many firms were already allowing some remote participation by third party experts, the new normal was that everyone was working remote.

The move to remote deal-making did little to slow activity. As PWC noted in its 2022 forecast, “2021 saw the most US megadeal announcements ever, including large private equity (PE) buyouts. But just as notable is the significant increase in volume among “not-quite-mega” deals… more than 900 such transactions were announced… smaller and midsized transactions that could still deliver solid proceeds and ultimately be scaled for larger deals.”

Remote Work Creates Security Challenges.

Remote collaboration creates multiple security challenges. While the corporate database of archived documents is likely secure, a participant’s device may not meet the same standard of security. A team member can increase the attack surface and create a security risk simply by accessing an archived document, downloading a document to his or her computer, or making edits to a shared work-in-progress document and sharing an unrestricted link in email. Since email is mostly not secure, any time a participant uses email to share sensitive documents, the potential for a security breach or information leak increases dramatically.

How To Ensure Secure Remote Collaboration.

What an M&A team needs is an online workplace in which any participant – a team member or a third party – can participate with full assurance of security. As a practical matter, this online workplace needs to be a seamless experience. Once a participant logs in, he or she can access archived documents, collaborate on work-in-progress documents, exchange memos, and create audit reports – with secure access at any time, from anywhere, from any registered device.

ShareVault is that solution. ShareVault’s Virtual Data Room (VDR) is ultra-secure and can readily accommodate participation from dozens of collaborators, on-site and remote. The ShareVault VDR administrator maintains password-protected control over access of each user, down to the document level. These govern what different groups of users are allowed to see and do with each document. ShareVault administrators can use absolute and relative expiry dates to drive active participation and nudge users to do things sooner rather than later. And they can even remotely “shred” documents, including documents that have already been downloaded.

The administrator has complete control to:

  • Define granular document access privileges for different groups of users
  • Designate document access as view-only, view and print, download etc
    • Enable download with restrictions or download original
  • Schedule new users to be invited or locked at a certain time and day
    • Control access and expiry on document on specific dates
  • Enable dynamic Watermarking on viewed and downloaded documents
  • Revoke access, even after a document has been downloaded
  • Audit user activity and the documents the viewed at any time

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These administrative security controls not only protect document confidentiality, but also meet regulatory transparency and compliance requirements.

ShareVault protections also extend to work-in-progress documents with software called “Dynamic Native File Protection” (DNFP). Or for collaborative editing of word documents ShareVault offers CollabLoop - a word compatible redlining platform for facilitating document collaboration and co-authoring. This platform enables real-time editing and redlining of documents in the cloud, and it preserves the entire comment and change history and maintains versions.

ShareVault simplifies document organization.

ShareVault’s platform not only provides a secure VDR online workplace; it also includes built-in software that makes it fast and easy to organize documents. The administrative back-end uses drag-and-drop tools to build document folders, and hierarchical hashtags that allow users to quickly access related documents in different folder locations. While advanced search tools provide fast retrieval of documents by subject, author, and date.

For document generation, ShareVault’s Collabloop software provides a secure, centralized platform for document editing, redlining multi-stakeholder documents. Collabloop is Word-compatible and works like Google Docs, but it is much more secure. Redlining sensitive documents and term sheets in Collabloop enables M&A teams to reach agreement more quickly with less friction, because everyone’s comments are kept together and it is easier to build on the work of others, instead of everyone editing the document in isolation and unaware of what others are saying or thinking.

As an added convenience, ShareVault synchronizes with DocuSign and all its features (eSignature signature placements, form fields, template design) without the need to leave the security of the ShareVault VDR. ShareVault also integrates with DropBox, Box, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365.

ShareVault’s “Q&A” forum provides a place for users to pose questions and receive private replies from subject matter experts without the security exposure of using email. This also keeps the conversion focused on the context in which it was asked.

Field-tested Solution for M&A

ShareVault virtual data rooms are the platform of choice for M&A, with a track record of tens of billions of dollars in merger and acquisitions, institutional investments, restructurings, and other deals.

Best in Class 24-hour Support

ShareVault knows that with a deal on the line, time is everything. That’s why ShareVault provides round-the-clock access to our award winning support team, who can answer questions and resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

ShareVault: Focus on the Deal

The value of a great M&A team is their ability to examine, analyze, evaluate, and create a great term sheet. ShareVault’s VDR platform allows your team to focus on that deal without wasting time on difficult software or worrying about security.

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