Competition to acquire privately-held startups continues to increase as cash-rich strategic acquirors from all sectors (including old-line industrial companies) and financial sponsors enshrine engagement in these transactions as a core part of their strategic plans.

With so-called “proprietary” deals declining in frequency, buy-side tech companies face pressure to distinguish themselves from competing bidders. Last year’s release by Atlassian of a model term sheet for its acquisitions, trumpeting the company as a culturally friendly buyer, is emblematic of this pressure. In Atlassian’s words, the term sheet is intentionally “more favorable to selling companies” and designed to make the “M&A process more efficient.”

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