Altman Solon merger to boost Award chances

With nomination entries now open for TMT M&A Awards, TMT Finance caught up with last year’s winner Dan Lerner, partner, Solon Management Consulting, now named Altman Solon, to discuss his firm’s winning strategy.

With nomination entries now open for TMT M&A Awards, TMT Finance caught up with last year’s winner Dan Lerner, partner, Solon Management Consulting, now named Altman Solon, to discuss his firm’s winning strategy.

Having defended its title as “TMT Commercial Due Diligence Provider of the Year” at the TMT M&A Awards last year, beating out stiff competition, Solon Management Consulting is confident that it could be a third straight title this year.

Last year, Solon beat strong competition from Analysys Mason, Arup, CIL Management Consultants, EY-Parthenon and McKinsey to secure the commercial due diligence award. The firm managed to secure the award for the category partly because it worked on over 100 both buy-side and sell-side diligence projects, including advising on the public-to-private buy-out of Zayo, Altice’s fundraising in the French rural fibre market and Equinix’s ground-breaking fundraising to accelerate its hyperscale through to proprietary technology deals.

The firm also expanded last year, opening offices in Paris and Milan, bringing its European network to five offices (London, Paris, Milan, Munich and Warsaw). This year, Solon has sought to strengthen its advisory business with a significant deal of its own.

The consultancy firm announced in July a merger with Americas-focused TMT consultancy Altman Vilandrie & Company to form Altman Solon, a 300-strong TMT-focused advisory group with offices across North America and Europe.

“Two heads are better than one” goes the saying, and in strategy consulting the adage holds true, especially when two heads can be on different sides of the Atlantic. At least, that is the sentiment of Dan Lerner, partner at Altman Solon, who moved from Solon, when he spoke with TMT Finance to discuss the deal and share market insights.


Succeeding with due diligence

According to Lerner, the merger was primarily motivated by the need for both firms to solidify a global presence. While Altman focused on the Americas and Solon focused on Europe and Africa, their clients were becoming increasingly international.    

“We also saw increasing transatlantic investor activity, in both directions, as well as increasing consolidation among the corporates we were serving,” he said. “As we observed this happening, we knew if we really wanted to serve our clients, we need to become a global firm.”  

Due diligence is challenging in the TMT sector, it requires extensive analysis of fast evolving-markets and competition. It stress tests the assumptions that offer terms are based on and gives the acquirers the information to make decisions that result in positive outcomes. 

Solon’s two-year winning streak for “TMT Commercial Due Diligence Provider of the Year” is testament to its expertise in this area, which Lerner says is stronger now following its merger with Altman.

“While the merger comes on the back of an existing decade-long commercial partnership between the two firms, being two separate firms made it a bit trickier to collaborate because we had different processes and so on,” explained Lerner. “We now have broader opportunities to work together serving clients. Whether that’s making sure our US clients are getting the full benefit of our European expertise or bringing the deep West Coast insights from our team in San Francisco to our clients in Europe.”


Facing the pandemic

While this year has been marred by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lerner maintains a positive outlook.

“No doubt, there’s been some uncertainty for the short-term outlook but most of the investors we work with are willing to look beyond that because they believe in the medium-term performance of the assets,” he said.

When lockdown measures were imposed across the globe, he wondered if the firm could sustain working remotely and adequately carrying out due diligence. However, he was pleasantly surprised when he saw how quickly the firm’s teams and clients adapted, which he said is a testament to their flexibility.

He added: “What was most impressive to me was that people were willing to perform deals and perform diligence that had previously involved many many hours of in person meetings, and hours of those types of discussions, virtually, which is an enormous leap compared to where we were just a few months ago.” 


The TMT M&A Awards is the globally renowned programme for assessing leadership in Telecom, Media and Tech M&A, investment and financing activity since 2012. The Awards recognise the leading deal advisers, industry leaders, financiers and investors, across digital communications, telecom, media and tech, focused on people, teams, companies and deals.

Winners are qualified based on key criteria, powered by TMT Finance DealData, and assessed by our panel of 25 expert judges, who have many decades of experience of TMT M&A. Submit your entry for TMT M&A Awards 2020 today.