Research suggests that organisations have difficulty identifying who and where their talent is located, and with cross-border mergers and acquisitions this difficulty can be compounded. Drawing on empirical research of three acquisitions involving five subsidiaries (located in Ireland, The Netherlands and USA), this paper addresses the identification and evaluation of talent in the pre and post-acquisition period. Addressing a gap in the research on talent identification, the findings enhance our knowledge of talent management. On the basis of due diligence documentation and 50 in-depth interviews across multiple functions and levels within the organisations studied, it was found that the identification of talent was for the most part informal during the respective acquisitions. A person’s visibility and exposure at executive level had a significant influence on being identified as talent which kept them ‘on the radar’ in the early stages of the deal. The study highlights the need for expanded HR due diligence to support the talent identification process which would help minimise the risk of not having the right people in the most pivotal positions for a successful combination. It also concludes that there is a lack of HR involvement in the early stages of the acquisition process and we need to address this issue by focusing further research specifically on HR as ‘talent’ and how we might address their exclusion.