Merger Mania: Corp Dev Execs Talk For An Hour About Who They'd Buy And Why

We’d heard this was a great discussion but haven’t been able to get our hands on the footage until now. On July 29th senior corporate development executives from Cisco (Derek Idemoto), Facebook (Michael Brown), Google (Amin Zoufonoun), Microsoft (Fritz Lanman), Twitter (Jessica Verilli) and Yahoo (Taylor Barada) convened at Startup2Startup to talk about what kinds of companies they want to buy, and why.

The panel was moderated by CODE Advisors founder Michael Marquez, who was also a former corp dev executive at both Yahoo and CBS. He put together a panel of buyers that will represent most or all of the M&A activity in the online space over the next year or so, with the possible exception of AOL.

My favorite part is at 27:30 where each panelist says the top acquisitions that the person to their right should make. Watch everyone’s body language – lots of nervousness up there on stage. But the entire hour is worth watching if you’re even thinking about selling your company right now.

  • 10:54 – Mike Brown gives some insights into high level strategy of Facebook
  • 11:51 – Fritz Lanman talks about why Microsoft hasn’t been as active as its peers (although that will be changing)
  • 13:33 – Fritz hits on the highlights of a typical M&A process
  • 20:45 – “Speed Round”, all panelists comment on the areas they believe are most overhyped or underhyped
  • 22:23 – “Speed Round”, all panelists comment on the best under the radar company
  • 27:30 – “Role Playing” – Mike asks the panelist to speculate on the top acquisition choices for others on the panel
  • 32:56 – Taylor answers how a company can best interact with Yahoo!
  • 35:30 – Amin gives advice on how to best survive the Corporate Development process
  • 39:50 – Fritz (and all other panelist) comment on the Corporate Development “bidding” process
  • 52:07 – Panelists talk about M&A learning lessons from “failed” M&A
  • 57:38 – Closing words of advice from each panelist