M&A Project Names

What M&A code names are and why investment banks use in them.

What are investment banking M&A project names?

Until an investment banking M&A transaction is publicly announced, investment bankers should always use a code name in place of the actual company name. This helps maintain the confidentiality of the transaction and prevents any material nonpublic information from disclosing to members of the public before it’s disseminated to everyone.  It is recommended that a name is picked using a random project name generator.


M&A project names - code name generator


Why use project names?

Upon undertaking any new assignment, code names should be used for:

  • The name of the project or transaction;
  • The name of the client; and
  • Any proposed business combination partner or counterparty.

M&A project names should be used in place of actual company names as much as possible, even during communications among members of the Investment Banking team and with members of Legal or Compliance, as well as in any expense reports and any other oral or written communications.

Different parties interested in the same potential M&A candidate may not necessarily use the same code name. For example, if two investors are looking at a potential target company to acquire and are working with an investment bank, each of the investors may have a different code name for the project that they use with the bank.


Random project name generator

Investment banking code names should be selected randomly and bear no relationship to the name of any company or industry that would permit a clever third party to see through the code name and identify the parties involved. Code names should be arbitrary and exclusive.

Some companies such as Goldman Sachs have to start using random software generated code names to remove the risk of using names that hint at the name of a company.  Read more about Goldman Sachs project names here -> https://www.wsj.com/code-names-for-deals.


Additional resources

Thank you for reading the CFI guide to code names in investment banking M&A transactions.

To keep learning and advancing your career, these additional resources will be a big help: