Case Study: Praxity Global Alliance

How a dinner conversation led to an M&A Hub

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Praxity’s new M&A Hub started as a conversation. At the Athens Global Conference in October 2019, partners from member firms floated the possibility of a one-of-a-kind platform built to maximise their clients’ M&A opportunities. Andy Ryder, corporate finance partner at Shorts in the UK, remembers partners quickly realising that ‘there’s something here that gives us more chance of success for our clients. So, the idea was driven really by the M&A community within Praxity.’ 

In April 2020, a month after the Covid-19 crisis was declared a pandemic, the Praxity Board agreed that it was a great opportunity to increase global cooperation among its members. The innovative platform they planned would make essential details of potential disposals and acquisitions, in varied sectors and geographies around the world, accessible from anywhere, at any time.  

That summer, M&A-focused executives from member firms formed a committee to support the Hub’s development, offering their experience and industry knowledge to shape its design. ‘Having so many specialist eyes on the process, and so much input from people who do M&A as their day to day, was so useful,’ says Jess Honey, Praxity’s Webmaster. ‘We had experts from around the world contributing – and reaffirming the knowledge that the Hub would be globally beneficial.’ 

Their input shaped the Hub’s features, including what type of information would be shared within it, and how. While data held within the password-protected portal would be covered under the alliance’s general GDPR and privacy policy, a key consideration was to ensure that no sensitive or identifiable information would be shown in regard to each post sharing details of mandates from clients with a business for disposal or looking to acquire. Instead, a ‘show interest’ button would offer the post’s author and the interested party a way to communicate away from the Hub, unseen by other users, and in privacy.

Andy Ryder, chair of Praxity’s M&A working group and corporate finance partner, Shorts

Twelve months into the process, Praxity’s developers had constructed a UAT (user acceptance testing) site. This ensured that the website, once it went live, would be able to hold the information and processes underpinning the Hub. With Praxity’s existing FAS (financial advisory services) group already sharing knowledge around international transactions, the live site would support Praxity members in offering their clients a complete corporate finance solution. 

Now in the last phase of the development process before launch, the team at Praxity worked to ensure that the software could deliver the functionality that the Hub required: essentially, making a vast amount of information easily navigable, to help member firms and their clients work together productively. In Q3 2022, the M&A Hub was launched officially, with users among Praxity’s M&A specialists continuing to flag areas that could be fine-tuned to benefit the user experience: from adjusting which details would be shared if someone displayed interest in a business opportunity, to tweaking the requirements for posting mandates on the Hub.  

The response has been enthusiastic, with many users requesting marketing materials to spread awareness of the Hub as a tool within their own firms. As Deborah Poulter, Head of Business Development at Praxity, says: ‘The level of interaction from members, and the response that we've received from them, indicates that the Hub is being very well received within the alliance.’