Foreword - Investment Banking Book

Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers & Acquisitions


By Joseph R. Perella, Chairman and CEO, Perella Weinberg Partners

Investment Banking Book

Mark Twain, long known for his critical views of formal education, once wisely noted: "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." Twain's one-liner strikes at the core of investment banking, where deals must be lived before proper knowledge and understanding can be obtained. Hard time must be spent doing deals, with complexities in valuation, terms, and negotiations unique to every situation. The truly great firms and dealmakers have become so by developing cultures of apprenticeship that transfer knowledge and creativity from one generation to the next. The task of teaching aspiring investment bankers and finance professionals has been further complicated by the all-consuming nature of the trade, as well as its constantly evolving art and science.

Therefore, for me personally, it's exciting to see Joshua Rosenbaum and Joshua Pearl take the lead in training a new generation of investment bankers. Their work in documenting valuation and deal process in an accessible manner is a particularly important contribution as many aspects of investment banking cannot be taught, even in the world's greatest universities and business schools. Rosenbaum and Pearl provide aspiring-and even the most seasoned-investment bankers with a unique real-world education inside Wall Street's less formal classroom, where deals come together at real-time speed.

The school of hard knocks and of learning-by-doing, which was Twain's classroom, demands strong discipline and sound acumen in the core fundamentals of valuation. It requires applying these techniques to improve the quality of deals for all parties, so that deal makers can avoid critical and costly mistakes, as well as unnecessary risks. My own 35+ years of Wall Street education has clearly demonstrated that valuation is at the core of investment banking. Any banker worth his salt must possess the ability to properly value a business in a structured and defensible manner. This logic and rationale must inspire clients and counterparties alike, while spurring strategic momentum and comprehension into the art of doing the deal.

Rosenbaum and Pearl succeed in providing a systematic approach to addressing a critical issue in any M&A, IPO, or investment situation-namely, how much is a business or transaction worth. They also put forth the framework for helping approach more nuanced questions such as how much to pay for the business and how to get the deal done. Due to the lack of a comprehensive written reference material on valuation, the fundamentals and subtlety of the trade are often passed on orally from banker-to-banker on a case-by-case basis. In codifying the art and science of investment banking, the authors convert this oral history into an accessible framework by bridging the theoretical to the practical with user-friendly, step-by-step approaches to performing primary valuation methodologies.

Many seasoned investment bankers commonly lament the absence of relevant and practical "how-to" materials for newcomers to the field. The reality is that most financial texts on valuation and M&A are written by academics. The few books written by practitioners tend to focus on dramatic war stories and hijinks, rather than the nuts-and-bolts of the techniques used to get deals done. Rosenbaum and Pearl fill this heretofore void for practicing and aspiring investment bankers and finance professionals. Their book is designed to prove sufficiently accessible to a wide audience, including those with a limited finance background.

It is true that we live in uncertain and volatile times-times that have destroyed or consumed more than a few of the most legendary Wall Street institutions. However, one thing will remain a constant in the long-term-the need for skilled finance professionals with strong technical expertise. Companies will always seek counsel from experienced and independent professionals to analyze, structure, negotiate, and close deals as they navigate the market and take advantage of value-creating opportunities. Rosenbaum and Pearl promulgate a return to the fundamentals of due diligence and the use of well-founded realistic assumptions governing growth, profitability, and approach to risk. Their work toward instilling the proper skill set and mindset in aspiring generations of Wall Street professionals will help establish a firm foundation for driving a brighter economic future.

Upated with Additional M&A Chapter - 100+ New Pages