march 1990

If you're looking to buy or sell a company, how can you screen prospective advisers? Jeff Scheinrock, formerly a senior partner with Arthur Young & Co. who specialized in mergers and acquisitions, suggests asking references for the names of deals that fell through. "If an adviser won't turn them over to you, you're better off looking elsewhere."

Says Scheinrock, who is president of Strolee Inc., a Woodland Hills, Calif., manufacturer of baby products: "Seventy percent of deals fall through. If an adviser doesn't come through with a couple of deals that went sour, or acts as if he's only had successful deals, it's a signal that something's amiss.

"Deals don't go through for a variety of reasons, one of which could be the adviser," says Scheinrock. "You want someone who's secure enough to let you see both sides of their work."