Everyone makes mistakes. That in and of itself is reason enough to make sure you have an escape route planned for getting out of situations wherein the slightest chance of failure is present. This is especially true when it comes to business alliances. Even after you have done all of your research and gone over the whole deal hundred times in your head, a wise business move would be to protect yourself against any factors that you may have overlooked.
You need to sit down with your team of lawyers before finalizing anything in order to discuss the liabilities that might result from this alliance. How much are you taking responsibility for? If there are debt issues or employee issues with the company you are partnering with, what effect will they have on your company?
Remember to investigate every aspect of the company that you are partnering with. Various legal issues that can be hidden by a company include lawsuits against the company involving sexual harassment, discrimination, etc. You dont want these lawsuits affecting your public image and bank account. Try to have the company resolve them before you become partners.
While you are with your lawyers, discuss possible exit strategies from the alliance should the alliance prove to be more fatal than beneficial to your company. It never hurts to have a backup plan. Not only could such a back-up plan save your company, but it also protects your investors and the stockholders with shares in your company.
Try to retain lawyers who specialize in forming alliances. You need someone who is quick and efficient in hammering out an agreement between the two companies with your interest in his mind.