It’s an easy but not particularly insightful assumption to make, that those who develop the strategy for a deal might not be the best equipped to manage the integration process (I’ve written previously about the different skill sets required). What’s more interesting and useful to consider is that, even within the constraints of the integration process, the dynamics vary considerably. So when you’re selecting people for different tasks it’s worth considering whether their strengths lie in sprinting or marathon running…
It’s remarkable how the focus on cost savings has remained unchallenged for all the years that we’ve been doing post merger integration work. We suspect that the big 4 accountants are to blame, in discounting revenue synergy prognosis to cost synergies.
In what other walk of life can you imagine a situation where the thoughts, analysis and assumptions of one person (or perhaps a small team), drawn up before any access to the subject matter was granted and therefore based entirely on an ‘out to in’ perspective are entirely inviolate?
The second in our series of Unchallenged Rules of Post Deal Integration. This week we look at function led integration which flows from function led due diligence and remains the standard approach. Time for a change?
Why, therefore, does the presumption continue that the acquired leadership team should be immune from an objective review / comparison in terms of their talent and experience with that of the acquired?
M&A delivery teams are separate from the teams that work on other business transformation or change projects in both consultancies and corporates…but are M&A integrations really different from other change projects? As an M&A consultant that always felt right to me, however the more deals I do, the more I question why it’s necessary…
All the big name consultancies have used an identical process for delivering mergers and acquisitions over the last 20 years, always sold on fear: “deals fail”, “focus on quick cost synergies”, “revenue synergies are difficult”, and “use our structured process”. They’ve been at this for two decades and we have yet to see headlines that deals are now more successful as a result. We are here to turn the industry on its head, challenge how everything is done and show that there is another way.
I’ve found that my most successful projects are the ones where a team of people comes together to create a ‘playbook’ or ‘blueprint’ for what they want to achieve. That’s included integration playbooks, go-to-market strategies, revenue management practices, and even working capital reduction projects. The alignment that you’ve created around a shared vision and way-of-working is the true value.
Occasionally, if you’ve been in the M&A world for a while, you’ll find a real gem of a business which an acquirer has stumbled upon and bought. It’s a moment of joy as the opportunities which the combined entity offers start to accumulate and you, as the integration director, begin to realise that the real potential is even greater.