Tips on negotiating deals from 2017 top deal-maker Lisbeth Barron


A business that is able to consistently strike good deals is a business that is likely to succeed.

This past week, I got an opportunity to get negotiating tips from one of the best, Lisbeth R. Barron, of Barron International Group, at her home on the North End of Palm Beach. Over the course of her 30-year career in mergers and acquisitions and investment banking, Barron estimates she has been part of more than $60 billion worth of strategic advising and capital-raising transactions.

UberEATS opens new markets to cafe, pizza restaurant

Variety magazine, in September, listed Barron as one of its top deal-makers for 2017. The magazine cited two deals, in particular. They are the August sale of the “Judge Judy” TV program library in August, (reportedly for $100 million) and Concord Music’s June purchase of Imagem Music (reportedly for $500 million).

So Barron knows a thing or two about negotiating deals. First thing, she says, is throw out what you likely learned in business school.

Non-profit SCORE’s goal is to help you make the profit

“What you’re taught is to win at all cost,” said Barron. “For me it’s never been that way. I want a win for my client. But I want everyone to walk away feeling it was a balanced deal.”

A deal where the terms make the parties feel good is a deal that has a high chance of getting done. That takes a lot of work and skill, she said, starting with learning to be a great listener.

Barron recalls one of her mentors, Martin Lipton, founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, set an important example by not saying a lot — literally.

Palm Beach Tech strives to connect tech entrepreneurs, start-ups

“Marty studied the room, and watched everyone’s body language,” she said. “He listened very carefully.”

Listening and studying people is an indispensable part of discerning what it is everyone wants. And when you know what everyone wants, Barron said, it’s possible to negotiate a deal where people walk away happy — that proverbial win-win.

Still, even that does not replace research. Barron said it’s critical to pour through a company’s records for its entire history to understand corporate culture. And to determine appropriate values for assets, she uses her proprietary 30-year database of precedent transaction valuation metrics.

That’s important in arguing a price for a buyer, and also giving the seller a realistic understanding of what can be expected from a transaction.

Yes, it takes a lot of work, which is why Barron said a 100-hour week is not unusual, and neither is finding her in her office at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.

One other thing: Be discreet. Barron doesn’t talk about clients unless they’ve told it’s OK for her to acknowledge working for them. When I visited her last Tuesday, Barron handed me a bound document with her firm’s credentials and overview. But before I got my hands on it, she dutifully ripped out the pages that listed her clients — giving that binder a deeper redaction than the recent JFK document dump.

Finally, learn from your clients. Barron said Judge Judy, real name Judy Sheindlin, has been a “great teacher” as well.

“She emphasizes to always be willing to walk away,” she said. “Also, to shoot high. And be fearless. And be decisive.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

Billionaire developer Jeff Greene sues gossip site for libel
Billionaire developer Jeff Greene sues gossip site for libel

Contending that an article on the GossipExtra website was libelous, billionaire developer Jeff Greene has sued gossip columnist Jose Lambiet. In a suit filed this month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Greene calls Lambiet’s reporting “grossly inadequate.” Greene’s claim focuses on a Dec. 3 piece titled, “Is Billionaire...
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate
Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

The monthly membership fee for Amazon Prime rose Friday from $10.99 to $12.99. Company officials said the annual membership will remain at $99 dollars. Monthly customers do not get access to Amazon Video, which costs $8.99 a month. The last Prime subscription hike came in 2014, when Amazon increased its yearly membership from $79 to $99. The e-commerce...
Enright elected Port of Palm Beach chair
Enright elected Port of Palm Beach chair

Jean Enright was elected Thursday as the new chair of the Port of Palm Beach Commission. Enright joined the commission in 2005. She was re-elected in 2008, 2012 and 2016. She received a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee University, a master’s from Howard University, and a doctorate from the Catholic University of America. Enright has worked...
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)
Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)

Too much clutter, too little money, too many gifts you didn't like... an eBay auction is one of the simplest solutions to all three issues. If your trash might be someone else's treasure, an eBay business is simple to start and accessible to just about anyone. "It has low start-up costs and it can be started out of your home," noted the ...
Pot docs postpone Miami medical marijuana conference, blame Sessions
Pot docs postpone Miami medical marijuana conference, blame Sessions

The American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association planned to host prominent speakers at a confab in Miami next month. Now, though, the group says Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough talk about weed has forced it to reconsider. The pot docs said they have postponed their NFL and Medical Cannabis Conference. Speakers were to include Dr....
More Stories