Skarbek Strategic Interview on Post-merger Integration Features in Merger Market’s Dealspeak

This month Skarbek Associates CEO Paul Heugh discussed post-merger integration in Merger Market’s weekly Dealspeak:

 

At what point of the M&A process does an integration team become involved?

 

The simple answer is as early as possible. That’s because our approach is fully integrated. There are so many moving parts in the dealmaking process, and it is helpful to everyone to be able to show a clear picture of how all the parties interact… …A fully integrated plan generates the speed needed to see and seize the synergies and commercial opportunities.

 

How do you ensure effective communication during the post-merger integration process?

 

My experience is that if you imagine the communication that you need post-merger, and times it by a factor of ten, you will be about right. The need for effective communication is first about articulating a story that explains “Why” you are merging and then setting up the mechanisms and a rhythm for communicating that to staff and other stakeholders. You must be religious about frequent communications.

 

What is the biggest mistake you can make in the post-merger process?

 

Not treating individuals as adults is a common mistake. In one acquisition the business leader set exactly the right tone by telling staff “we are merging with this company, but it is a smaller organisation. It is an acquisition but we are going to approach it with a significant degree of humility”. His point was that the organisation shouldn’t forget the fact that the reason they were acquiring the company was because its people had made it very successful – so he wanted his employees to treat them with the respect they were due…

 

…Setting that tone encouraged everyone to approach the situation from a position of mutual respect. Failing to do so will be a big pitfall in any post-merger integration.

 

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