June 26, 2019
Score 10 out of 10
Firmex is used to share large quantities of documents with multiple different types of users (lawyers, accountants, investment bankers or brokers, people at the company) during complex transactions. It is only used by the lawyers in my firm actually working on the transaction, and only for a discrete period of time. For example, I was recently on an auction transaction where my client is no longer in the running (their bid was too low) and that data site has been removed from the list of deals I can access on Firmex.
- E-Mail updates to users when a new document has been uploaded.
- Watermarks on documents showing who downloaded the document and when.
- You can add security to the documents so that users who download them cannot modify them (this is a feature when you are sharing sensitive documents with a third party!).
- This is a bit of a stretch, because as far as I know, no data room provides this, but I think it would be interesting if they added a feature to manage supplemental due diligence requests. In almost every transaction I've been involved with, the buyer has supplemental due diligence requests, either because the seller did not want to provide a document or because they did not think it was sufficiently material (or they just forgot!). These supplemental requests get handled separately, using a Word or Excel document, but I think it would be nice if it could be handled directly in the data room. The reason this would be handy is that you could include dynamics links in the questions (Page 2 is missing from Document 1.1.2 - and then there is a link right to Document 1.1.2) and in the answers (See Document 3.3.4 for the missing financial statements - and then there is a link right to the missing document).
- This is partly on the users, but I do not like it when a data room allows you to delete a document without there being an ongoing reference to the deleted document. It makes it hard for the other side (the purchaser) to keep straight the numbering of the due diligence documents. At a minimum, the software should just keep the numbering of the documents the same with an "Intentionally Deleted" next to the deleted document.
Read this authenticated review
Firmex Virtual Data Room is well suited to complex mergers and acquisition transactions. For example, we recently used it when acting for a potential purchaser involved in an auction transaction for a business unit worth approximately $1 billion. In that scenario, the vendor uploaded all of the documents to the data room and each of the bidders (and each of their lawyers, outside accountants, etc.) had access to the same documents. There were over 1000 documents uploaded to the data room (the index was around 100 pages I think), so it was a good way of managing such a large volume of documents, and such a large volume of users.