M&A Strategy for Maximizing Value Before a Transaction

This summer, Divvy sold to Bill.com for $2.5 Billion. Success.  But it wasn’t always pretty and happy on the way to the transaction.  Blakely Cragun, the CFO of Divvy, shares, at the Intermountain CFO Summit, 5 mantras he built into the Divvy finance team ethos to guide them to maximize the value of the transaction.

Blakely, drawing on his lessons learned with a large company (Dell), a growth-stage tech company (Instructure), and a rapidly growing startup (Divvy), teaches us that the CFO is a people leader first. 

His 5 Mantras are:

  1. Just start
  2. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood
  3. Empower and encourage (or demand even) that others have an opinion
  4. We succeed by helping others succeed
  5. “Not in these shoes”

Just Start

Blakely said, “any idiot can tell you why not to do something…don’t be a culture of ideas…be a culture of action”.  A CFO drives a culture that has a bias toward action.  They aren’t a team of nay-sayers.

Seek to Understand Before You Seek to be Understood

A CFO doesn’t have to recreate the wheel on driving value…they must listen to the market.  And then the CFO helps interpret what the market is telling them and how it should drive improvement and goals in the organization.

We Succeed by Helping Others Succeed

Firstly, Blakely suggests that “it’s your job as CFO to help everyone succeed.  Including investors, the board, and employees.”  As trust is built in the organization over time with internal teams such as sales and marketing, they’ll work hard to succeed for the organization in meeting targets.

Not in These Shoes

This is an idea of leveraging pride in the culture and team. In any business there is a tough period of time, it is the CFOs job to let people know to step to the plate and work through the problem.