Behind the Scenes – A Look at the Human Side of M&A Law


About the Episode

In this engaging discussion about the human side of M&A, attorney Matt Saur, co-founder and partner of Woolery & Co., discusses how the human element of M&A law affects business outcomes. Matt shares stories illustrating the importance of relationships and covers the steep learning curve and plateaus that occur when learning the basics of M&A. He discusses the importance of developing intangible skills around the deal-making process, how a good story on the front end can help get a good outcome for the seller, and why the very best lawyers are business people.

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In this Episode

3:12 How did Matt Saur get into M&A law?
5:54 What is the grunt work in M&A law?
6:58 What is the most difficult thing in M&A law?
10:22 How steep is the learning curve in M&A?
11:51 What’s next after learning the basics of M&A?
13:42 Why is learning the deal-making process important?
16:25 What is a high-level examination of the M&A process?
19:54 What can an M&A lawyer help a seller with on the front end before they go to market?
24:05 How important is being prepared to sell a business?
26:01 What is harder to understand and control in an M&A transaction, the human element or the legal aspects?
32:51 An example of the human side of M&A law – the case of Darwin Deason (Xerox).
36:28 What’s the difference between “small town” and “big city” deal-making?
41:08 What are some ways to develop relationships in M&A?
44:54 Do M&A transactions end up being aggressive or combative?
45:54 What is an example of a market standard argument?

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Meet Our Guest

Matt Saur

Matt Saur

Co-Founder and Partner of Woolery & Co.

Matt Saur is a co-founder and partner of Woolery & Co., a strategic legal advisory boutique based in New York City that focuses on serving as a partner to its clients as they navigate complex and critical business, governance, and strategic decisions. In addition, Matt is a co-founder and non-operating partner of Mad Max Autos, an automotive holding company with businesses in towing and vehicle armoring.

Matt began his career at Cravath, Swaine, and Moore and was most recently the chief lieutenant in the M&A, Shareholder Activism, and Corporate Governance group at King & Spalding, where he co-led the family office initiative at the firm. While at Cravath, he also served as a secondee, leading the business and legal teams on M&A efforts, at Scientific Games, a publicly traded gaming company, which at the time was controlled by Ron Perelman.

In his career, Matt has been involved in a number of high-profile corporate transactions with an aggregate value exceeding $100 billion. He has been recognized as a leading dealmaker and business leader, including as a social media influencer by Family Capital, the leading Family Office publication. He was also named one of the Top 40 under 40 “dealmakers” by The M&A Advisor, the leading M&A and deal-making publication, and called a 2022 Rising Star by Global M&A Network. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Thiel College. Matt received his undergraduate degree from Thiel College with a double major in International Business and Business Administration and his law degree from Notre Dame Law School.

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