Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Post merger integration

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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Due diligence in an emerging market…identifying the right channels of information, sticking to the 80% rule and managing your parent!

I’ve written this blog from the perspective of the business which is being acquired…all of the examples below are from real situations but not from the same deal. I challenge you to picture yourself in this scenario: You’re the first, professional, externally appointed CEO of a family owned manufacturing business in Indonesia. Your business has been built over 2 generations and occupies a prominent position in the sector you occupy, […]

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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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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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‘Practice makes perfect’ – a model of implementing change

Last week I wrote about the interesting interaction between these three dimensions as three different strategies for implementing change. This week I want to write one particular model of implementation, which I’ve called the ‘Practice makes perfect’ model. As you may remember, the traditional method (in a Western context) looks like this: Let’s now think about some variations on this theme, and in particular what to do when you come across a […]

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More evidence of the link between culture and M&A success

Many of you will already be aware of my focus on culture in M&A and it seems that it’s becoming more mainstream to talk about these matters.. Note the recent commentary in the FT on Holcim and Lafarge which tries to downplay the cultural dimensions…perhaps part of the problem is a blind acceptance in the media around business case as opposed to delivery capability! http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3/d1cc9938-cbec-11e4-beca-00144feab7de.html#axzz3UcoE3fgH The article below is a […]

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The bad news about deals….they expose structural weaknesses when everyone’s looking!

I’ve always thought about transactions as being quite different complex transformations from the ‘business as usual’ activities. There’s been a train of thought for a number of years which looks to create separate governance, resources, processes and methodology in post-acquisition integration. This is based on the requirement for different skill sets and the potential for distraction from the ongoing business. As we enter a period of increased M&A activity again, […]

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Lets stop talking about winners and losers in deals

I’m working on a couple of integration projects at the moment in various parts of Asia and, as often happens when you’re immersed in something, a sudden moment of clarity arises which is worth capturing and sharing.  One of the challenges for an aspiring CEO and his / her integration director is a recognition that M&A is not like some kind of military battle or occupation! Thinking of M&A in […]

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The three things that will determine success or failure in your deal

I was asked this question by a client this week and it caused me to think carefully. In many ways, the question is a little anodyne…as we all know, post merger integration rates amongst the most complex of transformation projects and coming up with a three part solution does not reflect that complexity.. But for what it’s worth, here are mine: (In terms of context, I’ve positioned this from the […]

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Program managing post merger integration – different from other complex projects?

I’ve had a number of very heated conversations with colleagues about the nature of post merger integration in recent weeks. The two positions are easy to understand; on the one hand, there is the perspective that a deal is just another complex transformation project with all the usual challenges. On the other side of the debate, the argument goes that post merger integration represents a wholly different type of challenge […]

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Post merger integration – in every way, an oximoron!

There’s an magnificent irony to the expression ‘post merger integration’ which, as the M&A rollercoaster starts to speed up again at an alarming pace, I wanted to share with you. In fact every part of that phrase can be challenged… Post – the reality as any practitioner will tell you, is that the work starts a long time before completion and potentially announcement. Many studies have shown that if you start […]

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Have pity for program leaders of a post merger integration – they need your sympathy!

Imagine the following situation: You’re given the challenge to program manage a post merger integration, carried out in the public eye, with all of the details (cost, complexity, high level strategy) broadcast to the world. After a few months, you discover that actually there were a number of other people in the frame for the work, who for one reason or another, couldn’t take up the challenge! You’re given a thousand pages of diligence, written […]

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Pray for some divine intervention – M&A may be coming back!

Whisper it quietly but it seems that the M&A market is finally returning to some very decent volumes again (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/04/07/1821102/ma-is-back-ish/). No doubt the headline transactions will be the ones that everyone is focused on, not least because the old scourges of government intervention in the case of Alstom (or pure protectionism by another name) plus aggressive valuation in the case of Astra Zeneca are being played out in public. The […]

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