Structuring the merger starts with knowing your goals. What does success look like? What are we trying to accomplish? Once you establish this foundation, the types of successor firms, and targets for smaller firms and deal structures all seem to fall in line with the right thought processes and guidance from professionals who have been down this road.

If your merger means adding partners, then having a strong partnership agreement is key. Working out compensation is rarely the top issue. It is highly unlikely the successor firm does a deal to lose money indefinitely, while the mergee rarely will devote the same time and effort to bring in the same revenues and make less money. Therefore, compensation is only a partial answer. Whereas understanding the roles for both the seller and the successor firms, having clear goals and a strategy to achieve them, and achieving consensus amongst the owners to implement them, are critical keys to merger success.

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