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How to propose a merger with competitor?
#1
How to propose a merger with competitor?

using a throwaway

I'm a co-founder of a startup and COVID has been challenging to say the least. Lots of wins, lots of losses. Our runway is shrinking for sure, and it's probably time to throw in the towel.

We have one competitor in the same space that sprang up around the time we did. They managed to raise more venture capital funding than we did, but we managed to gain seemingly more traction (more press, more deals in place, they don't run ads to acquire customers, their pricing is worse for a similar offering).

Either way, we'll probably run out of money soon, but I want to propose a merger/acquisition to their founders. We certainly have things they would want, namely our customers and our deals-in-place. They could show investors they acquired a competitor, we could tell our investors we got acquired.

On the flip side, they might be emotionally opposed to the idea, because we've been a ruthless competitor for 2 years now. This means they're throwing all business logic out of the window, because that can happen.

They have no idea we might die soon.

What's the best to approach the competitor with an M&A proposition without revealing too many cards, and without making it clear we will sunset if they don't?

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