Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

the day to day experiences of a consultant operating in weird and wonderful client situations

Mergers & acquisitions

Revenue synergies – the last great hope in the justification of paying too much for too little

The announcement this morning of the acquisition of Baxalta by Shire suggests that the wave of pharmaceutical acquisitions is still ongoing. The current market fluctuation may help others to continue their quest in what is probably the largest sector consolidation we’ve seen in a decade or two. The Shire share price reaction is also interesting…a fall of 8% suggests that investors are increasingly concerned that for this specific deal, and […]

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2015 and all that

It’s rare to have a ringside view of events on the global stage where the effect on one’s own part of the world is relatively limited. 2015 has been the year of mergers and acquisitions with whole sectors (pharmaceuticals, cement, beer, oil and gas) going through such a radical overhaul that they have indeed truly changed. In the majority of cases, the case for consolidation has largely been driven by […]

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How would you approach change if employees were given a vote?

A few years ago I was involved in the merger of two UK law firms, one with a focus on London as its main operating base, the other more regional in its operations.  One of the conditions for the deal to go through was 100% approval by the partners. In terms of numbers, we were talking about 124 people. Imagine having a hurdle in a project where, before any implementation […]

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Acquisition in an emerging market – integrating the ‘ways of working’ – an exercise in futility?

The final instalment of this series of blogs, from the perspective of a mythical CEO of a family owned business being acquired by a multinational corporate. It is based on my experience of deals across Asia and is not specific to one particular transaction. If you’d like to read the previous parts (which may make sense as they’re written in chronological order), you can access them here – Due diligence, […]

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An acquisition in an emerging market from the perspective of the acquired CEO – two steps forward?

By popular demand (from the exclusive few that appear to read this blog), this is part 3 of a series based on the experience on a fictional CEO in an emerging market going through an acquisition by a multinational corporate. If you’ve wondered onto this blog by accident, firstly, my sympathies and secondly, it may make some sense to read them in the order that they’ve been written. The link […]

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Due diligence in an emerging market – the management interviews – lots of communication, perhaps less understanding!

Last week I explored the challenges of doing diligence on a fictitious family owned business based in Indonesia, from the perspective of the CEO (the link is here if you missed it). This week, let’s have a playful look at the next stage in the process…the management interviews, again from the perspective of the CEO of the business being acquired. This is the accumulation of a number of my experiences […]

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Leadership in transactions – staying close but not too close!

With thanks to Toby Tester who suggested that I write something on this subject. Up until now, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the challenges of programme leadership for the post deal integration process, with all its complexities and more importantly, opacity arising from the peculiarities of the situation; lack of access to information, business case based on assumptions which cannot be validated until the deal is completed, […]

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Culture as part of an acquisition – is it worth anything?

My focus in my last blog was to address some of the myths that exist, particularly around the thorny subject of what might constitute a cultural assessment. To be clear, I believe that these are good things to do…they can be one of the most powerful activities you can do in an integration to create momentum and change. My challenge relates to the methodology and process. This week I want to address […]

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Considering culture as part of post acquisition integration – ‘nice to have’ or something more?

Anyone who has spent any time managing a post acquisition integration will recognise that culture is a, and in many cases, the critical factor which can determine success or failure. This is not something new…and yet it still comes as a surprise for many acquirers. Despite this widespread knowledge, much confusion still reigns around what cultural dimensions to consider, how to find them and measure them, and then most importantly, […]

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The uncomfortable reality for CEOs today – the ‘incremental’ growth strategy is no longer acceptable

Everywhere you look these days, seismic shifts are taking place. Whether it is in: the burgeoning M&A marketplace where whole sectors are undergoing the sort of change that used to be once in a generation, or major established organisations declaring transformational intent which is nothing short of revolutionary (for employees, shareholders and analysts) or CEOs, imbued with the private equity spirit, are embarking on radical performance improvement within companies or […]

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Buying it or developing it internally…the challenge of innovation.

  Over the past 6-9 months, we’ve seen an M&A frenzy which has been based on 2 considerations: the low cost of capital and the need to buy innovation. I’ve written about the latter before (see this link). From recent conversations with corporate strategists, the sad truth of the matter is as follows: In large corporates, disruptive innovation (not incremental) is either no longer feasible, cost effective (given the vagaries […]

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What’s the big deal with hostile takeovers? Employee engagement or the ‘Hedgehog’ phenomenon!

A couple of weeks ago, following the rash of hostile transactions (see this link to a good FT article on the issue), I wrote a piece on one of the key challenges behind ‘going hostile’, that of access (you can read it here). This week, my focus is Engagement. In many ways, all the problems of hostile transactions stems from this dimension (it is also, by the way, a challenge […]

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What’s the big deal with hostile transactions?

The flow of transactions has been noted in this blog and throughout the financial press. In addition, the FT led an article earlier this week noting the volume of hostile deals (US appetite for hostile takeovers hits post-crisis high) as the M&A market heats up. I want to address in this some of the key challenges that distinguish hostile from friendly transactions. From my perspective, they fall broadly into 4 […]

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A new breed / identity of buyer from Asia – leading to a different result?

Fascinating times in the mergers and acquisitions market place with the number and size of the transactions unprecedented since 2007…a remarkable turnaround. What is most interesting is that for the first time in a while, the objective external observer can compare and contrast two very different types of buyers: The corporate European and American buyer whose motivation to do deals has been driven by the following factors: An unprecedented (at least […]

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Transformation constipation – the new malady for corporates engaged in an orgy of transactions

For market observers, the current M&A boom looks disconcertingly like the heady days of 2007 and 2008 in terms of volume and market optimism. The papers and the analysts are full of hope and aspiration as the pharmaceutical, technology and telco sectors indulge in increasingly extravagant claims about cost savings, market consolidation and innovation pipelines….much as they did then when the market knew only one direction of travel. There is, however, one big […]

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Innovation – can it continue to co-exist with the conflicting demands of the corporate world or has it become the playground of the individual?

For those of you based in the UK or generally interested in content from the BBC, you may have had a chance to watch the most recent episode from W1A, the hilarious new series about the ‘fictitious’ workings of the corporation. The part of the show from this week which stands out was when Will, the gormless, inarticulate ex-intern, comes up with a fresh, innovative idea for a new programme….which […]

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The power of persuasion – changing public perceptions of deals

For as long as I’ve been working on mergers and acquisitions, the statistics have been dire. With some exceptions, commentators from the strategy houses to the big 4 to independent experts, have bemoaned the seeming inability of companies to consistently generate value from inorganic growth. I will leave the one piece of analysis which reports something different aside, see attached for some comments on that ‘interesting’ analysis! (https://bendehaldevang.com/2014/06/06/the-latest-ma-analysis-from-mckinsey-part-of-the-problem-or-part-of-the-solution/). What’s extraordinary […]

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The cost of capital is less than the cost of innovation…a remarkable shift in the world of M&A

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6aad8ebe-e9c0-11e4-b863-00144feab7de.html#axzz3YTZwnnI3 The attached article from the FT provides a good insight into a remarkable change in the levels of activity in M&A, particularly in pharmaceuticals ($468 billion of transactions announced in 2015, an almost unprecedented rise and certainly the most significant increase since before the global financial crisis). A frenzy of activity therefore, some of which may be driven by not wishing to be left out rather than a solid […]

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The big myth in post acquisition integration

If there’s one consistent message that I’ve heard over the last 15 years of doing post acquisition integration, it’s this:  Big deals are more difficult to integrate than small ones  Whether it’s the investment bankers / accountants / lawyers / consultants or Heads of Corporate Strategy, this message is probably the one thing that everyone agrees on. Complexity is directly correlated with size…for the following reasons: More people requiring more effort […]

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