Euro Exim Bank

Take five with Merlin J Piscitelli, Regional Director, International, Merrill DataSite

Merlin Piscitelli

Merlin Piscitelli

Martin works closely with M&A professionals to provide first class virtual data room (VDR) solutions for their transaction and due diligence needs. Prior to joining Merrill, Martin led the hedge fund strategy group at Morgan Stanley Capital International and the global equity product strategy group at Reuters International, London.


He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, a marketing certificate from the University of Michigan Business School and currently resides in New York City with his wife and children


For readers who aren’t totally up to speed with the latest developments in financial services, could you illustrate what datarooms are, how long they’ve been around, and why they’re important to modern international commerce….?

A virtual data room streamlines the entire due diligence process by replacing the cumbersome paper deal room.  In the virtual data room environment, relevant documents are captured, indexed and presented for online viewing. In turn, data and documents are accessible for review from any Internet browser, eliminating the need to physically bring potential buyers into a document room. Additionally, ‘best practices’ virtual data rooms provide advanced search and security as well as fine- grained audit functions and reporting. The data room can become operational within 24 hours or less, dramatically reducing deal cycle times and expenses.


Virtual Data Rooms (VDR) have been around since the late 1990’s and are essential tools in an efficient and legally defensible process for completing multiple types of financial transactions.

What benefits does your system have over the traditional paper-based method of deal making?

Merrill DataSite streamlines the due diligence process by providing secure simultaneous access, full-text search capabilities and robust reporting tools. Thousands of users worldwide can securely access important due diligence data via the Merrill DataSite platform.  Since 2001 no organization in the world has been selected to provide virtual deal room services more often than Merrill DataSite. We are the first and remain the only virtual deal room solution to have its entire VDR process ISO 27001 certified. 


As the verifiable leader in the Mergers and Acquisitions space, the following are some highlights that showcase our experience: 

  • More than 16,000 projects completed, with more than 325,000,000 pages of client information securely processed and viewed; 
  • More than 1,600,000 individual users;
  • More than 16,000 discrete daily logins; 
  • More than 90% of the world’s 2,000 largest companies in revenue have used DataSite; 
  • More than 86% of all countries have DataSite users within their boundaries;
  • Every major law firm and investment bank in the world has verifiable participants in a DataSite project;
  • We win 69% of the projects we propose and we win 90% of the projects where the buyer takes the time to see one or more live demonstrations.


International markets are still facing significant volatility.  How does your service help harbour your clients from turmoil like bankruptcy for example?

As bankruptcy regulations grow more complex and filing deadlines grow tighter, companies need a better, more efficient way to deal with the process. One of the biggest challenges lies in managing the paper storm unleashed by the proceedings. Companies quickly find themselves mired in a series of time- and labour-intensive paper-laden tasks related to gathering, reproducing and distributing information to all the parties involved. Increasingly, organizations are turning to virtual data rooms (VDRs) such as Merrill DataSite® to save time, minimize risk and gain more proactive control over the process. Virtual data rooms (VDRs) give companies complete control over the access to and delivery of a project’s information components. Organizations save time and reduce costs by using a VDR solution where all required information, once gathered, is stored in a completely secure, online repository that is accessible via the Internet. 


Accurate information delivery, combined with timely and effective management of information, allows companies to streamline the process and lowers a project’s overall operating costs.  With controlled access through a VDR, companies undergoing restructuring can maintain tighter controls and gain greater insight into every reviewer’s behaviour.  VDR technology also saves time and requires fewer resources to distribute essential information, saving organizations precious financial resources. The ability to meet strict court-mandated deadlines may also prevent the company from incurring additional legal penalties.


What kind of IT infrastructure needs to be in place for companies to benefit from your product?  What start-up costs are involved with regards to IT capability and software?

No additional software is required to use Merrill DataSite. Both online help and a downloadable user’s guide are available for each DataSite project.  DataSite has an intuitive interface with an easy-to-navigate folder structure that allows users to immediately become productive. No training is required, but we do offer both scheduled group sessions and personalized training specifically tailored to your project needs and schedule.  Merrill DataSite is easy-to-use and allows clients to focus on the execution of the transaction not how to use the product.  It’s as easy as launching Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox and logging on to a secure, live site with a user name and password, at your office, using your equipment. 


Are datarooms restricted by location, or is the service available to companies wherever they are in the world?

Virtual data room (VDR) solutions optimize the due diligence process by providing a highly efficient and secure method for sharing key business information between multiple parties with unlimited access for users worldwide.  Real-time activity reports, site-wide search at the document level, enhanced communications through the Q&A feature and superior project management service help reduce transaction time and expense.

Merlin Piscitelli joined Merrill in January 2006 to help lead the International sales effort and has over 12 years of high level sales experience. Merlin has a wide client base of leading corporations, financial advisors and law firms in the UK as well as in Russia, the CIS Region, Spain, India, Scandinavia and South Africa. He has a BS degree in Marketing from Florida State University.