Due diligence is one of the procedure to investigate a business or person which normally occurs after the parties have decided to form an agreement but before a binding contract is signed.
Due diligence can be accomplished successfully by careful planning. Including the assessment of available resources, selection of management, estimation of risk, the recognition of the consequences of failure, definition of the deal’s scope, identification of possible obstacles to deal with and all of which lead to the crucial decisions essential to produce the results one wants to achieve.
Many investors, investment funds and lending institutions have essential criteria for business that they will invest. An overview of the business gained from the basic information enables an investor to plan the due diligence. All financial information, both public and private, constitutes the most basic information studied in due diligence. Such criteria includes financial ratios, historical earnings, projected earning potential, tangible book value in relation to price, type of business and quality management. These criteria give an indication of what investors hope to get for their money, such as income to offset losses, increased market capability or new facilities.
While planning the scope and nature of a due diligence, an investor must implement a risk assessment to determine the degree of business and legal risk that he/she will accept. Scope in this context includes the depth of questioning on any subject and the quantity of original documents to be reviewed. Nevertheless, well-run due diligence program cannot guarantee success for investors.
When an investor seriously considers a business opportunity, a list of information and documents may be required to contain all essential data yet avoid the superfluous. Due diligence will be involved in almost every aspects of business transactions and all business persons, including the professionals representing them or be involved in the transaction. It is crucial to conduct proper due diligence or otherwise could lead to other implications, such as liability to third parties or criminal liability. Additionally, any persons such as attorneys, accountants, broker/dealers, appraisers and other professionals may also find themselves being sued by their clients or by third parties not conducting a proper due diligence.
Questions to be asked:
1. What is the legal name of the business?
2. What is the address, telephone and FAX number of the business’s headquarters and/or the owner?
3. What are the names, telephone numbers and addresses of the principals involved in negotiating this transaction?
4. Review the following documents: