Did you know failing to move quickly during integration is one of the top reasons why deals are unsuccessful? Last week I had the opportunity to guest lecture on this topic at Professor Jeanne Wilson’s Executive MBA class at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. Many companies […]

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Integration proves to be one of the most difficult pieces of the M&A puzzle to get right. Buyers often try integrating the target’s systems into their own, only to realize too late they are destroying the very value they wished to acquire. Large food companies are learning this lesson from past mistakes and adjusting their […]

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By now, many of you have heard the clip of Sainsbury’s CEO caught singing “We’re in the Money” into a hot mic prior to his interview about the merger between Sainsbury and Asda. For all the corporate, flowery language touting the benefits of the merger, this unguarded moment seemed to reveal the truth to the […]

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Done right, acquisitions create value and accelerate a company’s growth setting you up for long-term success. However, experience tells us about 77% of acquisitions fail. Deals often fall apart before they close or fail to generate their expected value. Here are three common reasons why acquisitions don’t work out and how you can avoid them. […]

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From the somewhat plausible to the downright outrageous, rumors abound whenever a transaction is announced. While some rumors may be innocuous, unfortunately others may have lasting, damaging effects on your company and employee morale so it’s important to quickly put a stop to them. Here are three practical steps to kill gossip and reduce confusion. […]

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While it’s an important milestone, a signed letter of intent does not guarantee a successful acquisition. Just ask Pfizer who withdrew its $150 billion bid to acquire Allergan after signing a LOI. Pfizer ended up paying a breakup fee of $150 million. After the LOI is signed, you still have a few major steps to take before the acquisition […]

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One of the challenges of due diligence is that you often do not have access to all the data. Of course you want to know every last detail about the acquisition prospect so you can make the best decision. Unfortunately, the real world is never perfect. The prospect may have an incomplete or no record of the […]

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Just this Sunday, I received an email about the Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards combining with Starwood Preferred Guest. According to the email and Marriott’s website, the three loyalty programs will be linked, but operate as independent programs. Marriott does not expect to merge the programs any time before 2018. Marriott International first announced it […]

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Walmart will acquire web retailer Jet.com for $3.3 billion in order to boost its online business. The deal is the largest ever purchase of U.S. e-commerce startup. While Walmart has plenty of bricks and mortar stores, the company has struggled to grow its online business. Walmart knows it needs to be competitive with Amazon who […]

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You’ve developed your strategy, identified the right markets, negotiated with the owner and papered the deal. If you think once you sign on the dotted line your job is done, you are mistaken. The M&A process doesn’t end when the deal closes. M&A is really a journey “from beginning to beginning” where the consummation of […]

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Poor communication can really hamper your integration efforts, especially when you have to break bad news to your employees. When it comes to sharing an unpopular message, some executives try to sugar coat or beat around the bush. In my experience, avoidance tactics are not effective and just make employees angrier once they eventually find […]

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Whenever I am consulting on an integration program, I introduce a critical component I call the 100-Day Plan. I’ve found that when companies get the 100-Day Plan right, the likelihood for a successful integration is extremely high. But if you don’t implement the 100-Day Plan at the beginning, integration generally doesn’t go well. Why is […]

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Effective leadership plays a critical role in integrating companies following an acquisition. Challenges abound, for instance when disagreements arise between the executive team and the rest of the staff. How do you bridge the gap? Communicate painful decisions? Maintain calm during a period of change? As the leader of an integration process, you should: Be […]

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Culture can often be neglected simply because it is difficult to measure, especially when compared to hard facts such as number of employees or company revenue. After all, what constitutes a “good” culture? Definitions may vary from company to company and even among members of your own acquisition team. Despite this challenge, company culture should […]

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Culture clashes can make or break a deal. Just think about a few infamous deals that fell apart, such as the Time Warner-AOL merger in 2001. In Deals from Hell, Robert Bruner analyzes the reasons for failure in depth along, including examples of deals that failed due to cultural issues. In fact, cultural issues are […]

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It seems as though the employee vs. contractor issue is popping up all over the news. Virtual assistant startup company Zirtual just fired over 400 employees by email because the company couldn’t sustain its payroll once it converted contractors to employees. The Wall Street Journal has also highlighted the many startups that are now grappling […]

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There are many different ways to handle brand integration – whether it means discarding the target’s brand in favor of your own, keeping both brands, or creating a new one. Each strategy is valid, depending on your brand equity and strategic rationale for acquisition. Let’s look at a live example: In its $2.5 billion stock-for-stock […]

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When it comes to integration, people often think equity ownership should determine their approach. If they own 100% of the business, they should change all the target’s practices to their own.  In a strategic alliance where neither side can force the other side to do anything, they might not integrate any of the practices. But […]

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Integration is key area of concern for many involved in mergers and acquisitions. According to a survey by Deloitte, 37% of directors and 43% of CFOs named post-deal integration as their top concern. About 47% of executives believe “people problems” in M&A are more prominent now than 12 months ago. So how can we overcome […]

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Pubicis and Omnicom have called off their proposed $35 billion merger that would have created the largest advertising agency in the world. According to reports, Publicis CEO Maurice Levy and Omnicom CEO John Wren disagreed over many details, including filling key management positions and corporate structure. This comes as no surprise to me. Ten months […]

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