Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have returned after being mute for most of 2023. And yet, it’s unclear whether companies’ growth has plateaued despite efforts to expand or if companies are trying to consolidate their market position since the global economic slowdown.
Whether financial, operational, or positioning motivations are the deal’s drivers, deciding to embark on an M&A transaction should be based on clear indicators. The companies that have successfully found their acquisition sweet spot are the ones that vetted not only their target companies but also themselves and understood that the lead-up to the acquisition was the warmup.
The real work begins after the due diligence phase and when you start to fold in the new company.
Take your matchmaking role seriously — no one wants a divorce
During the initial due diligence phase, you’ll analyze every aspect of your target company from a business model standpoint to the deepest crevices of its employee benefits before you begin the valuation and structuring of the deal. You aim to check several boxes, but one of the most prominent telltale signs of compatibility is whether your cultures fit or push the two sides apart.
When bringing a company into your fold, nailing communication requires a clear plan that outlines what needs to be shared, when, how, and to whom.
This taken-for-granted aspect of the deal is often the main culprit behind missed return on investment and undermines the success of the deal. The aim is to craft a unified culture that capitalizes on the strengths of both organizations, and the only way to do so is by respecting and valuing the unique aspects that made the target company successful in the first place. Creating a cultural integration plan with a common ground should start with understanding the synergies between both companies’ cultural nuances, including values and beliefs, norms, and work practices. As you narrow the search of prospects, travel to work on-site with their leadership team to find and understand the synergies. You may have to do this a few times.
Preventing polarizing cultural clashes means defining and mapping out the cultures alongside each other and identifying differences that could cause rifts. Dedicate time and resources to obtaining tools like Slack, Harvest, and Snappy to help you develop and articulate your new brand ethos and assess and measure its success over time. Make adjustments along the way with measures and incentives that fuel behaviors and drive the culture forward, so be flexible and patient.