Inarticulate ramblings of a management consultant

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

Transformation

East Goes West – interview with Clement Woon

East Goes West is a series of podcasts focused on the challenge of Asian businesses coming to Europe and the US. Abhay Pande and conducted a series of interview with senior Asian leaders to understand a little more of the cultural complexity that exists across the Asian landscape, recognise the key differences and start to think about what an Asian owner might expect of a European and American  business. The […]

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How does it look from over there? The perspective of Asian buyers / leaders on M&A in Europe and the USA

Over the next six weeks, I will be publishing a series of interviews which I and a friend of mine, Abhay Pande, conducted whilst based in Singapore. These interviews were born of a shared interest and desire to get beyond the myth and legend of Asian corporate culture and business practice and actually get some insights from Asian leaders that we have in our network. The facts are plain enough. […]

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Productivity and Creativity – awkward bedfellows or birds of a feather?

The Guardian recently published a long but interesting piece on the history of time management (from Taylor forward). You’ll find the link here. For me, the bit that’s really interesting and that feeds well into the current discourse is the differentiation between productivity and creativity. If you have a moment, do a bit of research to see how these two concepts are portrayed. Even 20 seconds googling will provide you […]

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The great unravelling

Dear friends (those of you who have signed up to this blog are almost inevitably that!), it’s been a while and I realise that I have broken the cardinal rule of blogging… that is regular, predictable and interesting pieces of short, concise and opinion filled content! Many of you will know that I and my family have been through a process of ‘re-potting’ as it’s described these days…a return to […]

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Anchoring….a challenge for corporates as it is for individuals?

With many thanks to my good friend, Alastair Campbell, for an impromptu conversation this week, I wanted to raise an interesting issue. Do the principles of anchoring apply to companies as much as they apply to individuals? To remind you, the concept of anchoring is based on the short circuit in our brain which applies a correlation to unrelated facts / opinions and thereby can make us make some assumptions […]

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Three things to think about when preparing your company for a ‘growth by acquisition’ strategy

At the risk of sounding trite, the opportunities for successful acquirers have never been as great as they are now nor the risks higher! The market generally views with suspicion those who would target growth through deals as their primary vehicle (the Valeant and SunEddison story is another in the litany of M&A disasters…see here for my take on it) but for those who do it well, the leverage of […]

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When does a shareholder vote become a distraction rather than a real test of governance?

I’m struck by a couple of transactions in the last 6 months which have some unusual characteristics….and absolutely demonstrate the passive nature of both institutional and retail shareholders these days. The one in particular which I want to look at today is SAB Miller / Anheuser Busch. The announcement of the transaction between SAB Miller and Anheuser-Busch INBEV in the form of the public statement issued on 11th November 2015 […]

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Asian investors -dealing with a new owner?

We are living in a period of reversals….for most of our lives, decisions have been made in the West and implemented (with mixed success) in the East. From outsourcing shared services to the Philippines and South Asia, to banks developing global platforms by buying local and regional businesses across Asia, to the great manufacturing shift to China and more recently to Vietnam, the emphasis on delivery has the remit of […]

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The market needs certainty…really?

On the morning after the most extraordinary day in British political history, the clamour in every publicly traded market is for certainty… about the timing of the triggering of Article 50, about the new leadership of the Conservative Party (and the Labour Party), about the terms of the agreement with the EU, about the position of the rest of the UK (in particular Scotland and Northern Ireland) etc! As an […]

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Show me the value…!

Think about a recent acquisition that you were involved in. Having accessed the business in the post completion period, which of the following assets proved to be more valuable: The physical assets: Intellectual property, technology platform, operating infrastructure, plant and equipment, inventory / working capital, cash in the bank. The employee assets: innovators, R&D experts, operations managers, leaders, customer facing relationship managers, sales people, ‘historians’ (those who understood the context […]

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The rise and rise of unsolicited bids…

Dealogic reports that there have been 17 unsolicited bids this year, an unprecedented number since 2008 and a record in terms of value of USD 54.9 billion. How it used to work…  In the old days, the intermediaries of investment banks, brokers, corporate financiers were there to assess an appetite and report back on potential conditions which might make an approach attractive.  In the old days, the raising of finance for […]

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Combining the financial and the strategic…the unholy alliance between Takeda and TPG!

Last week saw the announcement of an attempted bid for Valeant, the serial acquirer masquerading as a pharmaceuticals company at a rather opportunistic time when the firestorm of media attention, debt levels, alleged pricing scandals and CEO ill health threatened to unhinge the business entirely. It’s not a first combination of this type…the acquisition of Boots by Alliance Unichem was financed largely by KKR in a similar sharing of interests. […]

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The love affair between Fintech and financial services – unrequited?

Large consulting firms buying / investing in small specialists Telecommunications giants buying / investing in tiny adtech ventures Banks and insurance companies buying / investing in owner managed fintech businesses Once again we are on the crest of a wave of mergers and acquisitions whereby the very large swallow the very small. I’m not at all confident that we won’t have the same result the last time this happened…in the […]

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Does an org structure tell you anything about influence? Think again…

I’ve posted previously on the futility of the classic organisational structure analysis when it comes to M&A (you’ll find the link here). A good friend and ex-colleague came back to me with an excellent challenge…easy to poke holes in it but what’s the solution? Let me respond and come up with some ideas on how to do this more effectively given the constraints of an M&A process pre announcement, notably:  Limited access to […]

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Deals that don’t complete – the consequences of being left at the ‘altar’

What happens when the deal you’ve been banking on is pulled  “Investors should worry whenever bosses and bankers succumb to deal-fever, since so many corporate transactions end up destroying value. The latest crop has some of the tell-tale signs of danger: high ego, high price and over-confidence.” You’re probably not surprised to hear that this is a quote from the FT…as relevant today as it was when it was written, […]

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The rise of China’s serial acquirers – M&A China style appears to be a ‘non-contact’ sport!

According to Dealogic, 102 outbound Chinese transactions have been announced to date worth USD 81.6 billion up from USD 11.2 billion for the same period last year… Some of them have been truly momentous:  Haier’s intention to acquire the GE Appliance business, a business which is steeped in American corporate history. ChemChina’s bid for Syngenta, the sheer size of which is eye popping at USD 48 billion. HNA Group’s bid for […]

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Sponsorship – comes in many shapes and sizes

A few years ago when I was contemplating the opportunity to come to Asia and going through a rather tortuous International Mobility exercise (which seemed full of process but lacked any sense of progress), a colleague whispered to me the secret of all such moves….’sponsorship’. Find a sponsor, he said, one who has money and influence, and all the obstacles you’re currently facing through the ‘official’ processes will magically disappear! […]

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Fixing the irrevocably broken – creating an organisational structure which can thrive in a world of disruptive innovation

With thanks to Toby Tester and following from my blog last week (click here to read it if you’ve unwittingly stumbled upon this random collection of thoughts), here is the exam question for the week: What does an ideal organisational structure look like to cope with the challenges of today’s working environment? Let me first try and define what I envisage as an ‘ideal’ structure with a series of questions: […]

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The real impact of disruptive innovation – fundamentally changing the future structure of organisations

Disruption is the new buzz word in business these days. There are still some organisations and sectors which resist the concept that, somewhere, in the minds of a consumer or an employee, there is an idea which will change their industry for ever….but largely, there is a surface level of acceptance. The real change behind disruption however is much more subtle, disturbing and has the potential to change the corporate […]

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