Tl;dr: Part of a collection of real examples of M&A investment banking slides. This blog covers strategic options slides. See the PowerPoint presentations investment bankers are paid millions for. No matter your job, or your aspirations, you can learn from these slides.
This is part of a collection of 67 free M&A presentations from the top 20 banks (based on ranking, and also the quality of presentation for you to learn from).
Collection of M&A slide examples
The main page for all the M&A resources is here.
I have broken out 827 examples of slides across 32 sections. You can click through to the section you want to learn about next here:
Is this blog for you?
Why the heck should you care? Investment banks (historically) attracted the best and the brightest.
- Slide structure/design: Learn how complicated concepts are structured and designed in PowerPoint
- Analysis approach: See exactly how complex financial methods are presented
- Strategy and communication: M&A deals are not (normally, other than many Duff and Phelps decks) cookie cutter. There’s a host of topics that need to be dealt with
- Morbid interest: I used to do this for a living, but it’s still interesting to see how PPT are made… but then maybe it’s just me and so FML 😉
Who this will help:
- You want to work in banking: There’s a lot of applicants. Knowing the job helps you answer questions
- You work in banking: Even if you’re an MD, you need to know how the best are structuring their thoughts/analysis
- You write presentations: You can’t buy learnings like this. You can learn from the slides
- You have a curious mind: Good for you
About strategic options
“Strategic options” are code for “we have some big decisions to make, we don’t really know what to do, so can you spell them out and recommend to use what we should do please?”
Bankers care about doing deals and that’s what they are hired for. Typically, the recommendations they will make will be around:
- Status quo
- Take private
- Break up company (Starburst)
- Spin out an asset(s)
- Change capital structure (share buybacks etc) / leveraged recapitalisation / special dividend
- Joint venture
The strategic options box is a broad category of slides, so you can include different kinds of topics in it. These could be:
- How to respond to an unsolicited offer (corporate raid or these days, activist shareholders)
- Review of potential acquirers
- “Ability to pay” analysis in the case of a competitive sale process
These slides are not your bread and butter. You’re more likely going to write them when:
- The client is in a bad spot
- You’ve been hired to advise on a restructuring
- Forced restructuring (Chapter 11 etc)
- The deal gets complicated for a reason
Why these slides are made[I need to write]
Comments on making these slides
I’ve never really understood how you can get kids with no experience to come up with things like strategic options. It is a joke. The reality is that you’ll have to figure it out.
However, how slides like these get made will depend on the urgency and the size of the deal. If there are $20m in fees on the line, then there’s probably a few MDs and they’ll be very involved. The smaller the deal (at large firms), the more you’ll do the first draft.
Light on content details
Investment banking presentations are a little different in that they are designed to live standalone, but their primary purpose is for discussion. You’re almost never going to just send a deck and leave it at that. The MD is going to get on a call or meeting and go through it slide by slide. The client can then discuss it internally and work through the numbers after. You’ll notice bullet points are curt and not verbose. The expectation is that anything not understood will be explained.
You normally can find slides to copy / get inspiration from
Annoyingly, no one at banks is super focused on making collections as I have done. What you do have access to is the file history of deals for your team (you are very unlikely going to have access beyond that). I would check your deal lists / ask your boss who has been around for a while who did a similar analysis. Then trawl through the hard drive and find slides you can rip off. I ripped off so many slides, especially when I did a strategic review (at least just to get an idea for slide types).
You won’t be able to just change the logo and reuse slides, but you can steal a lot of smart stuff to save you time.
You’ll draft them and the big boys will go over them
At VP level you will be expected to get a solid draft of any presentation done for your Director/MD. But even at analyst/associate level you will be expected to be thrown into the deep end. If you are an analyst and your VP/Associate is hands-on and organized, you might find yourself just taking on a specific piece of analysis (and you can go to sleep when you’ve completed it).
In banking, you typically want to use numbers to prove everything, at least where you can. You can see three slides from Morgan Stanley showing the purchase price sensitivities.
Strategic options papers
There are some good examples of strategic option slides in these examples, but they’re limited in scope. You are more likely to see something around deal terms, whether to accept an offer or forms of debt.
You can get sucked into what is called “strategic reviews”. In this, you write a big-ass PowerPoint about their options, mainly for clients who have issues. These are not glamorous projects. You don’t get a tombstone at the end of it. Sure, you can put them on your CV, but bankers care about their deal body count.
There is normally some nominal fee, say $250k, but the real reason MDs do the reviews is to position themselves to either lead a deal when it happens, or at least of a co-advisor. Some clients do feel they owe bankers when it comes to big fee-paying deals, so will remember you did that strategic review.
I’ve had to do 3 of these reviews. They are a lot of work and really dig into their options at a strategic level. If you’re getting into options in a live deal, they’re more tactical in nature.
Examples of Strategic Options
I haven’t been able to find many examples of the slides, but to be honest I expanded the scope of the slide types I would cover over time, so there’s probably more in the deck collection.
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