Following influencers on LinkedIn can be a fantastic way of gaining insights into the world of M&A and finding out what matters from the people at the top end of the market.
We’ve put together a list of 10 M&A influencers that we believe you can benefit from following.
Their rank includes heads of investment banks, a Stern Business School professor of finance, and a few journalists. Follow them all and gain from their wisdom every time you log on.
With ‘only’ 60,000 followers, Aswath Damodaran could still be considered a hidden gem of LinkedIn.
Often proclaimed as the father of modern valuation, he is not just insightful with his posts, but generous in his responses. People regularly post valuation and M&A-related content to his page, and he responds to most with customary pleasantness and intelligence.
As mentioned in a previous post about M&A courses, he is also now working with the IMAA, so there is regularly relevant content and information on events and webinars for those in the industry.
One of the drawbacks of following high popular professionals on LinkedIn is that their profiles are often managed by PR companies and assistants.
That may be the case with Stephen A. Schwarzman, even though he clearly does contribute to his profile.
The co-founder of Blackstone, with $500 billion in assets under management, is a font of knowledge in a number of areas - primarily value-creating transactions. Schwarzman has over 110,000 followers who follow him for some of this wisdom.
David M. Solomon, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, certainly lacks the high profile of some of his predecessors in the role, but that doesn’t stop him from being highly engaged on LinkedIn.
Solomon posts on an eclectic range of topics. Recent articles have touched on diversity in investment banking, the political changes sweeping the United States (good and bad), and how Marriott Hotels grew from a regional business to a global behemoth.
With over 600,000 followers, it shouldn’t be too long before Solomon is considered one of the most well-known Goldman Sachs CEOs in history.
Even if you’re weren’t interested in mergers and acquisitions, Beth Comstock would be worth following. Her status as the first chairperson of GE and a genuine trailblazer make her remarkable enough on their own.
GE has traditionally been one of the most acquisitive large firms, even if their zeal for deals has faded somewhat over the past decade with a streamlining of their operations.
Comstock was SVP at the company for seven and a half years, making her one of the drivers behind many of its recent deals. She has also written a book recently, Imagine it Forward, about managing the process of change at companies.
Google is never far from most of the large deals in the technology space these days, constantly working on adding to the company’s capabilities with accretive acquisitions.
James Harris is at the heart of nearly all of these deals in his role as Principal of Corporate Development Integration at Google.
Harris posts regularly about technology, but more importantly, about build-and-buy strategies and recent deals in the TMT space, even where the deals do not involve his own company. Harris will also be one of the contributors at M&A Science Academy on March 25, 2021.
Jamie Dimon is rarely without an opinion, and almost always, it’s one worth hearing, even if you don’t always agree with it. Dimon is arguably the most recognized leader of any investment bank in the world.
Most of that stems from his prowess as an investment banker but also for his outspoken opinions. Understandably, most if not all of the content is taken care of by his PR team.
Recent content mostly focus on ongoing CSR efforts at JP Morgan Chase. Dimon also regularly provides insights on the US economy, where he has gained a reputation as something of a sage.
Do not let Arash Massoudi’s insignificant number of followers convince you that he isn’t worth following.
As Corporate Finance and Deals Editor at the Financial Times of London, Massoudi has insight into mergers and acquisitions that very few can claim.
Massoudi has interviewed all of the world’s biggest deal makers and has spent the last five years conducting research into one of the world’s biggest dealmakers - SoftBank Group.
All of the content is his own and all of it is worth reading (albeit, much of it is behind a paywall at FT.com). In short, an unmissable influencer for anybody interested in mergers and acquisitions.
As CEO of Axial, the world’s largest deal making platform for the middle market, it is fair to say that Peter Lehrman eats, sleeps and breathes mergers and acquisitions.
That is reflected in his content, with an unerring focus on deals, their mechanics, and their impact. Lehrman’s relatively small group of followers (slightly over 6,000 at the time of writing) is no reflection on the quality of the content that he regularly provides.
This is a must-follow for any M&A practitioners working in the middle market.
Another journalist on the list, Cara Lombardo is the Wall Street Journal’s Chief M&A Reporter.
One of the benefits of following journalists is that they make posts on LinkedIn (and other social media platforms) an integral part of their work.
Lombardo is an essential follow for those that want to keep track of M&A transactions from the time when they’re first mooted right through to their closing.
Her access to most of the largest dealmakers in North America has allowed her to break stories such as Salesforce’s $28 billion acquisition of Slack and Advanced Micro Devices’ $36 billion acquisition of Xilinx.
As Managing Director of Jeffries, James Thomlinson was one of the world’s largest dealmakers in 2020, advising on deals worth over $7 billion.
Although there are bigger dealmakers around, most of them aren’t as active as Thomlinson. He avoids much of the PR effort which is a common aspect of senior professionals’ LinkedIn profiles and instead goes for interesting M&A-related content.
Remarkably for someone so high in his field, he has less than 1,000 followers on LinkedIn. Despite this, his content is reasonably regular and almost always worth reading for M&A practitioners.