M & A Beauty Parades – Proposals Pitches Beauty Parades

When a prospective management team has to face the real life Dragon’s Den of Trade or Private Equity buyers they only get one chance. They need to present well as a team and be confident under sustained questioning.

This beauty parade and how their proposals or pitches land can change their lives and affect or derail the sale.

And the stakes are too high to leave anything to chance!

Time is always tight on these jobs. They often need to be carried out covertly without the rest of the company knowing what is going on.

I am retained by Investment Banks or PLCs to get the prospective management team ready for the sales process. For the proposals, pitches, beauty parades and whatever else comes their way – the off-campus dinners and drinks and 1-2-1 meetings that are never supposed to happen – but often do.

These Beauty Parades are very high pressure and exhausting because there is no middle way. Only Good or Bad. Sold or Not Sold.

I work on the teamwork, presentations and positioning of the team while the Investment Bank/Advisers focus on the content of the presentation.


This PLC retained me to prepare the prospective management team for a series of Beauty Parades with UK, European and US Investment Banks. The management team had never worked together (2 of them had never met!) and my job was to meld them into a fluent, cohesive and plausible team. Proposals, pitches, beauty parades – and all in a rush.

I was given 2 days. I needed 4 because we only had the whole team team together in one place for 6 hours – the rest of the work was done with 1 or 2 team members at a time.

After a particularly intensive period of due diligence (it was early 2009 and PE Houses and Trade Buyers were even harder to please than normal) the sale of the division completed 4 months later in mid 2009. The PLC was very happy with the multiples achieved.

This work is the subject of a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Any graduate trying to secure a training contract with the top city law firms will know the competition is tougher than ever this year. The number of applicants has soared even as contracts have become scarce. It’s not uncommon for a firm to interview 250 applicants for 50 places.

For my top-choice firm I knew I had to do something special. In the week prior to I-day, Peter gave me two telephone interviews. The first took me to pieces: it showed me all the gaps in my knowledge and the inadequacies in what I’d genuinely thought was my in-depth preparation. I had to go away and do some serious work.

By the end of the second interview I felt like I could handle whatever trick questions a panel of partners could throw at me. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, what was special about me and how to get that across to the interviewer. The confidence he gave me was invaluable. The firm offered me full sponsorship and a contract within a week. I really can’t recommend him enough.

Ghislaine Lawless 2.1 English Literature - BristolAshurst

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