More often than not, I don’t see culture being a road block to getting a deal done. That’s because the financial aspect normally prevail. And occasionally, if an acquisition is not aligned to an investor’s strategy, it will not proceed. Culture is often the least of the concern until the deal is done, and any cultural mismatch will be unraveled during the integration stage – which is too late.
The problem is that culture is not clear and specific measurement based on a universally accepted formula. In most analytical minds, culture receives limited attention if you can’t precisely measure culture. It’s fascinating how such a powerful derailer of the success of a deal doesn’t have a universally accepted measure.
Large cultural differences can certainly make it much more difficult to integrate within different functions. As a consequence, the synergies and value that was planned to be captured becomes more and more difficult to be grasped, potentially leading to “unsuccessful integrations”. Assessing cultural differences from the beginning and planning accordingly is key (“a good start is half the battle” as we say in Dutch)
I have such similar experiences that a deal could be dropped by cultural mismatch. When my previous company evaluates the acquisition of a smaller company, we found that the small company owner used to have the practice of recruit people who are relatives with existing employees. As such there were small clans in the company and some people are quite laid back. This caused the deal terminated.