The Virtual Data Room (VDR) offers a rather significant advance in managing the due diligence delivery process in M&A transactions. In M&A due diligence, one of the most important things is protecting the privacy of corporate documents and keeping buyers anonymous and segregated.
A virtual data room offers a safe, often inexpensive and easy way to access all vital documentation for the prospective transaction and because virtual data rooms can be accessed from anywhere instantly, the due diligence process is typically much faster and deals handled by VDRs typically attract more bidders. Acquisition International talks to Mike Hinchliffe, Regional Director for Merrill DataSite International, part of the Merrill Corporation.
Merrill DataSite is a secure virtual data room (VDR) solution that optimises the due diligence process by providing a highly efficient and secure method for sharing due diligence information between multiple parties. Merrill DataSite provides unlimited access for users worldwide, as well as real-time activity reports, site-wide search, enhanced communications through the Q&A feature and superior project management service—all of which help reduce transaction time and expense in M&A due diligence.
Merrill DataSite have multilingual support staff available from anywhere in the world, 24/7, and can have a VDR up and running with tens of thousands of pages loaded in just 24 hours or less.
“We work with a wide range of Corporates (normally internal M&A teams, General Counsel, Finance Directors or Treasury Teams) on a broad spectrum of transactions from divestitures and acquisitions, to DCM transactions and IPOs. We also work with private equity houses of all sizes, and often have business referred to us by financial advisors (investment banks and accounting firms) and lawyers.”
How do you stand out as a leading provider of VIRTUAL data room solutions?
“With vast experience in M&A transactions and compliance services, Merrill DataSite has a cultural and organisation-wide discipline in the management and processing of confidential content, vital to the due diligence process. With more than 20,000 deals under our belt, we are the market leader, but we do not take our clients for granted and each deal – whatever the size – is equally important to us. We work constantly to improve and fine-tune our product, but what really makes Merrill DataSite stand out is our approach to service. We have more than 40 Project Managers based in London and this multi-lingual team is available on a 24 hour basis, seven days a week. When you are doing a deal and under pressure, it’s the level of service that matters.”
How do you ensure your service is user friendly?
“Merrill DataSite VDR is an award winning, industry leading solution that is easy to set up and easy to use, because we made it that way. Our VDRs are familiar, replicating the file structure of Windows Explorer®; they provide a simple, logical index; and it’s easy to upload electronic files, or we can manage that process for clients. We also know things change and while it’s easy for clients to make amendments, our Project Management team is always available and always flexible when help is needed. To ensure a due diligence process runs efficiently, we help clients get the most value from their VDR by assigning a Project Manager, included in the price. They bring their vast experience to a transaction, having worked on thousands of deals worldwide, and Project Managers help clients determine exactly how best to use their VDR. They can also advise how to prepare and load documentation (or offer to undertake this service) and work with clients to define security settings.”
Do you feel virtual data rooms have revolutionised M&A due diligence?
“Undoubtedly the VDR has transformed the M&A due diligence process by making it faster, easier and more efficient. There has been a massive growth in adoption of VDRs for financial transactions right across the world, but particularly in North America and Europe, while Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa are fast catching up. Merrill DataSite has now helped our clients with the due diligence process on more than 20,000 deals. Unlike traditional physical data rooms, a VDR enables transactions from asset sales; to IPOs; to fundraising; to take place more quickly and effectively – essential in a global economy with advanced cross-border M&A.
Instead of requiring interested parties to visit a physical location, authorised users can access all documentation online; different organisations can view the same documents at the same time, without being aware of it; the system is intuitive to use and completely secure; Merrill DataSite will set up a VDR using our vast experience and knowledge, which means less effort for our clients, while maximum value is returned.”
Have there been any notable deals that you’ve been involved in recently?
“In 2010, Merrill DataSite was involved in four out of five (and seven out of ten) of the largest global M&A deals. This speaks volumes to the faith put in us by the world’s largest companies and biggest advisors when it comes to completing headline-grabbing deals. However, for us all deals are of equal importance: if you are a stakeholder in a deal it doesn’t matter if the deal is worth £5million or £5billion.”
How can the VIRTUAL data rooms Merrill provide add value to a transaction?
“Merrill DataSite virtual data room (VDR) solutions offer a secure and highly efficient method for sharing critical business information for electronic due diligence in M&A and many other transactions requiring extensive document sharing. Our VDR solutions optimise the due diligence process through increased speed to market, reducing cost associated with the process and allowing greater competition to take place in a sale.”
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