Meet the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions, and Alliances’ (IMAA) resident M&A Law expert, Dr. Hermann Ali Hinderer, LL.M. With his rich background in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Private Equity (PE), and Venture Capital (VC), Dr. Hinderer has a wealth of knowledge to share with IMAA participants, especially when it comes to cross-border deals. Continue reading to learn more about him and his insights on the impact of technology in the M&A process and why a solid understanding of the essentials of M&A matters to be effective in the field.
Starting his international journey in M&A law, Dr. Hinderer made his mark at the prominent US law firm, Baker & McKenzie where he served first as an associate and later, partner. It was during this period that he took the opportunity to earn his Master of Law from the University of San Diego. Since 2015, Dr. Hinderer has been a key partner in the renowned German commercial law firm, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek. Furthermore, he maintains memberships in both the Stuttgart and California bar associations.
On top of his work in the industry, he has chosen to share his expertise with IMAA, teaching leaders, business owners, M&A experts and those aspiring to join the field, subjects such as Legal Due Diligence, Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) Negotiations, and SPA Deep Dive.
When talking about his approach to teaching, Dr. Hinderer says, “There is nothing better than to be challenged on your longstanding beliefs by students or colleagues. It always gives you another perspective and the chance to reflect on your understanding of how things work.” He believes in a learning environment where questions are not just welcomed but encouraged, and where he hopes to be able to answer most of them as adequately as possible.
Dr. Hermann Ali Hinderer: Doing Deals in A Digital World
As the world continues to depend on technology, Dr. Hinderer provides a clear perspective on what can make or break a deal in this digital M&A landscape. He believes, “For a buyer, it’s about doing a thorough and honest pre-deal analysis, identifying and addressing all risks. During the deal, it is about creating a common basis of trust and reliability.” Yet, as more negotiations move online through platforms like Zoom or Teams, building that trust isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.
M&A isn’t just about negotiations, though. The way deals are done has changed. According to Dr. Hinderer, deals are getting done faster, often without the face-to-face meetings that used to be standard. New elements, like W&I-Insurance, are changing how deals work by bringing in new players and changing the role of representations and warranties.
The rise of AI is starting to make an impact in the M&A process. Dr. Hinderer notes, “Technology, including AI, has played an increasing role in M&A transactions, which will become even larger in the next couple of years. This applies in particular to the Due Diligence with respect to the review of a large number of similar documents.” In the next few years, he expects technology to help even more with things like managing M&A projects. But, he still sees humans as central to the process. “But the core activity, negotiating the terms of the transaction, will remain in the hands of humans, at least in the foreseeable future,” he says.
Dr. Hermann Ali Hinderer: Building A Solid M&A Foundation Through Learning and Experience
Starting a career in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) isn’t just about jumping in. Dr. Hinderer believes in the power of understanding the basics before diving deep. He says, “As a lawyer, I believe it is most important to understand the economics of a transaction, in particular valuation and purchase price calculation.” This knowledge helps people fully understand the negotiation process and know what’s at stake.
But it’s not all about money. It’s also about knowing the paperwork. Dr. Hinderer mentions the importance of being familiar with the structure of the transaction documentation, such as the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA). “Once mastered, you can save a lot of time by going to the right documents and sections to get a very good understanding of the transaction as a whole,” he adds.
For those eager to make their mark in M&A, Dr. Hinderer offers some advice based on his long-standing experience in the field. “I believe what is very helpful at the beginning is to be at a place with a high deal-flow. The more transactions you see or participate in, the better.” He then suggests picking a specific area to specialize in, like a particular industry or type of deal such as distressed, VC, or PE.
And when it comes to skills beyond the technical stuff? Dr. Hinderer stresses the importance of being organized and ready to decide on the fly. “For all M&A-transactions, you need to have very good project management skills and should not be scared of making decisions fast under high pressure.”
Wrapping Up: What Matters Most in M&A
In an industry often mischaracterized in media, Dr. Hinderer’s insights offer a practical look into what really matters in M&A. While technology offers tools to simplify and enhance the M&A process, the human element, especially trust, remains crucial. Moreover, having a solid foundation of M&A fundamentals is key in making quick decisions even in difficult situations. Dr. Hinderer’s experiences remind us that while the M&A landscape changes, the importance of a solid M&A foundation and genuine human connections stays constant.
To learn more about Dr. Hermann Ali Hinderer and his work, you can follow his professional journey through his LinkedIn profile or join him in our International Mergers & Acquisitions Expert (IM&A) program or Legal Mergers and Acquisitions Expert (LM&A) program, onsite or virtual live, for firsthand learning.