Deal makers around the world announced $5.1 trillion worth of M&A transactions over the last year. It was up by 34% when compared to 2020. The M&A market can expect another strong year in this 2022. This is because the businesses continue to recover and bounce back from the pandemic.
High levels of M&A activity signal a healthy economy. Bad actors are sophisticated cybercriminals and opportunists who are ready to take advantage of businesses. A key component of business infrastructure is a company’s domain name portfolio. Two businesses merge, domain names all too often slip through the cracks of management responsibility. With an exposed domain portfolio, businesses are left vulnerable. They are forced to deal with a myriad of issues relating to brand protection and cyber security.
When a business is going through an M&A event, the integration plan often includes the formation of new teams with fewer roles. Domains are often neglected in the transition of allocating the responsibilities. While domain name portfolios feature in share purchase agreements, it is usually in a schedule to the agreement setting out a simple domain list. Legal undertakings address initial control but do not address the transfer process to another legal entity. This is where control is required going forwards. Also, it provides the sound brand protection. This is as a part of a robust domain strategy. Audit all domain portfolios before an acquisition announcement goes public
M&As can be exciting times. But secrecy is essential to secure the new acquisition and to reveal a new company name or brand. Bad actors are well versed in monitoring sites such as Companies House. The IPO will systematically review these resources to determine the availability of domains that match the name of newly registered companies. Prior to announcing details of an M&A, acquiring businesses should conduct an audit of their future domain portfolios. They must ensure that all potential online real estate is secured. This is critical due diligence. By registering these domain names in advance, organisations can safeguard against any costly acquisitions from unrelated third parties.
Domain names can normally be secured for reasonable sums in the tens of dollars. But they can be sold for many thousands if they are fundamental to the future of a high-profile brand. We should stop and think about our domain portfolio and ensure all potential domains are registered and accounted for prior to our announcement at deal completion. A lack of awareness of how vital domains are to business infrastructure and the potential implications of their neglect during an M&A event may give rise to costly errors.
Regional brands are not exempt from being targeted. At such time the damage can be proportionally higher given limited funds to rectify errors. When planning for future business acquisitions, organisations can help to mitigate these issues. And that is by ensuring they retain the services of a trusted corporate domain manager. Collaboration coupled with expert advice ensures that the deal principals can focus on the fundamentals of the acquisition process in the knowledge that the domain name component is being suitably managed in tandem.