With 2 carve out of existing businesses, once to a venture capitalist and the other to a privately held company, I must say that being acquired by a privately held company was much more motivating. New owners had deep understanding of the business and pragmatic communication that contributed highly to the overall positive excitement for the acquired retained team. Clearly having honest and decently detailed communication with the people were critical for the overall motivation.
Agree on open honest communication. And look out for the Drop-Catch-Push points. This follows the morale chart or transition chart from ‘dropping’ the message and what your people may perceive to be the endings and then being prepared to Catch them, therefore being able to Push them from the neutral zone up into the new beginnings – this can be accommodated for in good comms plan and a HR & Comms person with good EQ and cultural awareness.