In a recent interview, Barbara Bagnasacco, one of WTA of Utah’s board members, shared her advice and experience as an attorney and advisor for companies wanting to reach international markets. With a strong sense of justice and an extensive writing background, Bagnasacco attended law school in Italy and knew from a young age that this was the career she wanted to pursue.
Currently, Bagnasacco assists both smaller and multinational corporations, working on their mergers and acquisitions, and negotiating and closing international transactions. As part of her practice, Bagnasacco provides legal assistance to businesses that are in the process of creating a strategy to penetrate international markets. The attorney works with companies that are both in the beginning stages of going international, and companies that have already established their presence in a foreign market, assisting them with various contracts, corporate governance, and inter-company issues.
Bagnasacco breaks down international expansion into three phases:
1) Importing and exporting globally
2) Appointing international distributors or sales agents
3) Creating a strategy to penetrate a foreign market (through the establishment of a foreign entity or the acquisition of another company)
For a company that is considering a divestiture, whether domestic or international, Bagnasacco recommends using “this transition time now that we are exiting the pandemic…to prepare itself for such a transaction and…to put its corporate affairs in order, to make sure that it protects its intellectual property in order to be desirable to a potential investor.”
Additionally, Bagnasacco provides consultation from both business and legal perspectives. Based on her expertise, “the companies that are more successful when they go international have a strategy in place for their international expansion, and so it's very important from a business perspective for the company to have a strategy that not only addresses the budget for international expansion, but all of the steps that the company wants to take once that international expansion is taking place.”
Concerning intellectual property, Bagnasacco advises companies “to have a strong intellectual property plan in place, meaning that the company should be able to protect its patents and trademarks before it goes to international markets.” Unfortunately, Bagnasacco has worked with clients “who went into a foreign country [and] did not think about protecting their name. Third parties registered the name of the company in their own name, and the company had to buy back the use of the name from those third parties. So [it] is important to plan for intellectual property protection as you go internationally. ”
According to Bagnasacco, “one of the big trends right now is making sure that an international business complies with anti-bribery regulations, which are very strict in the United States but are also emerging in many other foreign countries. It's important to have not only policies and procedures in place, but also the employee training and a corporate culture that facilitates compliance with anti-bribery regulations.” As for the future of mergers and acquisitions, “I see a lot of new activity in the market…after the pandemic, during which there was a pause for several industries. Now, investors have funds available to invest in companies…so I see a lot of potential for mergers and acquisitions, including in Utah where the economy proved to remain very strong.”
As Utah’s oldest international networking organization, Bagnasacco values the connections and partnerships fostered in WTA of Utah. She believes that it is “important for executives and professionals who are involved with international transactions to have a network in place to exchange ideas, discuss best practices, and even negotiate deals when the opportunities arise.” WTA of Utah welcomes members who hold these same values, and provides regular updates on LinkedIn and Twitter. To read more stories about influential business leaders, please visit our blog.