M&A Integration Processes and Issues

A fundamental rule in M&A is to ensure that you don’t destroy value, therefore you need to spend the time to develop your processes and plan for when things go wrong. I’ve found that the most frequently-repeated problems are relating to people – how they react to change and how they react to it and what they do when things don’t go according to plan.

One of the key services we offer our clients is to assist them in setting up a system that allows them to recognize potential issues early and then respond quickly. This could mean such things as having weekly meetings in which the IMO and functional work streams examine progress against the plan, and escalate issues and risks to the SteerCo.

Once the procedure for tackling issues is in place It’s crucial to concentrate on executing. It is crucial to ensure that everyone in the team knows what they are expected to do and how they will be evaluated, and how often. It’s also important to clearly define accountability (i.e. ownership of the final outcomes) and the authority to make decisions across the entire integrated business.

It is crucial that the CEO and senior managers can focus at minimum 90% of their time on the most important issues and not be distracted by integration activities. One method to achieve this is to choose an experienced leader to oversee the Decision Management Office (IMO) which will help triage the decisions and oversee the work flow. This can be someone from the organization that acquired the company, or it can be a rising star within the merging company who has the backing of their boss to make this commitment.