I always help clients clarify priorities: An interview with Vladimír Veleba, Partner of the Mergers & Acquisitions Department

09 January 2020

  • Vladimír, when was the M&A Department created and what will be its task?

The Mergers & Acquisitions Department was created with my arrival in the company in autumn 2019. Put very simply, we provide advice on transactions with businesses, in particular the sale of a business or the purchase (acquisition) of another business. Our typical clients are company owners who are deciding whether to sell or expand their business or owners addressing the problem of succession.

  • What do you consider to be the biggest challenge when setting up a new department?

Aside from the minor challenges of integrating a new department into a functioning consulting firm, among people and internal systems, the biggest challenge is undoubtedly getting good mandates and hiring skilful employees.

  • Could you explain to people who don't know anything about this area what M&A means?

M&A is a relatively broad term, but in our "narrow" sense it is primarily the organisation and management of the entire process of buying or selling a company.

In the case of the sales process, we are primarily responsible for selecting a suitable sales strategy, identifying potential buyers, communicating with interested parties, preparing data for interested parties, evaluating their offers, negotiating transaction documentation and completing sales, including transfer of equity and payment for shares.

In practice, this means that we need to have knowledge in many areas, such as accounting, taxes, law or psychology. If specific knowledge and support is needed, for example on tax or accounting issues, colleagues from other departments can help.

  • In what cases can clients contact you and what are you able to help them with?

Certainly they can turn to us when they are considering an expansion. Expansion through the purchase of another business or part of a business today is a fairly simple, but not risk-free, option with which we can help.

Clients can also turn to us when they are thinking about selling a company for any reason. We will be happy to discuss their options with them and I am sure we will find a suitable solution.

We can also help owners who are thinking about redistributing their ownership interests among themselves, maybe because they are getting older or because of differences of opinion about the future direction of the company.

  • Have you been working on something other than selling and buying a business lately

The other services we provide to our clients always involve transactions in some way.

We will also be happy to assist you in acquiring acquisition finance for your business, due diligence, or integrating a purchased business into the buyer's structures to maximise synergies and cost savings.

Another area is company restructuring. These are mainly cases where there is a risk of insufficient funds in the company. In this case, we are ready to help you identify problems and implement solutions. Very often in this case, one solution is to sell off a part of the business or sell selected assets of the business.

  • Have you managed to create a team around you already working on orders?

Yes, we have a core team. I am glad that we have managed to bring together a group of experts with different expertise and levels of experience. We are already working on several interesting sales mandates and other projects are in the pipeline. However, it is already clear that the current team will need to be strengthened in the future.

  • You have completed a number of transactions. What are the trends in M&A today?

Today, the business market is heavily influenced by the relatively large amount of free money on the market. As a result, new investors are entering the market (e.g. Family Office type investors or foreign investors from not quite typical regions). The influx of free money is pushing up prices, which encourage many business owners to sell. Some investors, in turn, are very sensitive to the growing political risks. However, if I should mention the trends in M&A, then I would simply limit myself to two, which I see as the main ones.

The first trend is related to the succession of the founders and owners of companies that were established after 1989. After two or three decades devoted to their companies, the founders of today are quite tired and often no longer have the desire and strength for further company development. Moreover, if they do not have anyone to hand over their company to, they often choose to sell it as one of the few possible solutions.

The second trend I would mention is the expectation of economic recession. Many of today's buyers look at companies with a very critical eye, i.e. they are interested in how the company will behave in the event of a recession, how its customers will behave, what its sales and profits will be.

  • Why do you think clients should use your services?

From past experience I know that clients most appreciate being part of a team. They are very well informed about "each" of our steps and themselves decide, for example, what sales strategy to choose from the options discussed.

When it comes to transaction documentation, we always help clients clarify their priorities when selling a business or buying another business. We understand that these decisions are some of the most difficult, so we are both a support and an opponent in these situations.

  • What is your goal in connection with the launch of the new service line, let's say over the next three years?

In the short term, to create a functioning team of people to assist our clients in selling or buying businesses. In the longer term, we would like to strengthen cooperation with other BDO offices in the Central European region.


Vladimír Veleba, Partner

Vladimír Veleba's career in corporate finance spans more than 22 years, mainly at KPMG, where he also gained extensive experience in conducting cross-border transactions and valuing businesses (expert witness). He has participated in the following major acquisition and sales mandates:

  • Advising NOTINO on the acquisition of a minority interest in the Zásilkovna Group
  • Advising the owners of the German company Brück Handelsgesellchaft mbH on the sale of a 100% stake in BRÜCK AM (today Bohemia Rings) to Třinecké železárny from the Moravia Steel Group
  • Advising PRISKO on the acquisition of OKD
  • Advising Royal Comfort owners on the sale of 100% of PDG Sleep Products
  • Advising PRISKO on the sale of a share in Czech Airlines (joint sale with Korean Airlines) to Travel Service
  • Consultancy for the publicly traded company Xi'an ShaanGu Power Co. when purchasing the engineering group EKOL Brno
  • Advising MAI CEE Group Managers on the management buyout of the group (MBO)
  • Sales consulting for Wolseley on the sale of WOODCOTE in Central Europe
  • Assisting the partners of the TOP TISK group on the sale of a 50% stake
  • Sales advice to NEV-DAMA owners on the sale of the FISCHER travel agency
  • Advising on the sale of Getronics activities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the Austrian Kapsch Group