Unlocking Value in Cross-Border M&A

February 28, 2023

In recent years, cross-border M&A has become increasingly common as companies seek to expand their global reach, access new markets and gain competitive advantages. Recent market turbulence has not shown any signs of hindering this, quite the opposite. Trade acquirers sitting on strong balance sheets and private equity with dry powder to deploy have been as active as ever, seeking opportunities within the volatility, be it domestically or abroad.

In the case of a business owner looking to sell, which represents the position of many of our clients, it is important to consider international counterparties and fully explore overseas options. By expanding the ‘buyer universe’ beyond the border, a whole host of opportunities are opened up that have the potential to unlock greater value, and the chances of finding a buyer willing to pay a premium price are multiplied.


Strategic value

A seller has the potential to offer significant strategic value to an overseas buyer in many different ways. A trade acquirer may be seeking an opportunity to access a new market, in which case an established company with an existing customer base presents a highly attractive initial entry point, or a fund may be pursuing geographic diversification, in which case a foreign target would offer greater value to their portfolio than a domestic equivalent.

Beyond these value drivers inherent in the cross-border nature of a deal, simply approaching a wider international pool of buyers can dramatically increase the probability of identifying a counterparty with the ability to leverage other synergies.

The importance of finding a buyer that is able to maximise the strategic value of an asset cannot be understated. Not only does it maximise the potential for upfront consideration, but it is crucial when an element of consideration is performance-based, stock-based or a stake is being retained in the business, as the prospects for the combined entity play an even greater role in a seller’s ultimate outcome.

A comprehensive research process that utilises high-quality market databases and a global advisor network is the key to identifying these parties and unlocking the value afforded by cross-border M&A. In 2022, 80% of the deals on which Bluebox advised were cross-border, driven by our leading research capabilities and international connections.


Things to look out for

Whilst approaching international buyers can create substantial opportunities, there are also common obstacles in cross-border deals, for example:

  • Cultural differences: One of the biggest challenges a seller may face is a culture clash. Different management styles, different ways of doing business, whilst an alignment of culture is hard to perfect in any integration, this problem can be exacerbated with international buyers. Open communication early in the management presentation phase is key to flagging any potential issues here.


  • Legal and regulatory issues: Cross-border deals have the potential be more complicated from a legal and regulatory perspective. For example, recent updates to the National Security and Investment Act allow the government to scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions that are considered sensitive with regard to national security, which has the potential to be more stringent in the instance of international buyers.


Recent cross-border M&A Bluebox has advised on:



Bluebox Corporate Finance is a London-based sales advisory firm with extensive experience advising on M&A transactions. If you are considering the sale of your business now or at some point in the future and would like to discuss your strategic options, please do get in touch with our Director, Jonathan, who would welcome a conversation – jonathan.rich@blueboxcfg.com.

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