I agree with Elisabeth regarding the focus on culture and change management. In addition I would add that the PMI leader (or at least members of the dedicated team) should have a good understanding of the acquiring company processes (to be implemented or aligned at the NewCo) as well as being full aware of the strategic intentions and targets of the NewCo.
For me, it starts with Strategic alignment as the main objective to ensure that the acquisition is successful. Ensuring that the integration planning is thorough and includes elements that integrate systems, processes, structure, culture, across multiple disciplines is important. Fast implementation of these is critical to not create questions and confusion in the minds of employees, customers, and other partners about the changes. Finally, proper, timely, and relevant two-way communication and a comprehensive Change Management plan needs to be a part of the plan for the success of the acquisition.
For me it is planning ahead as part of post-merger integration planning but also thinking three dimensionally. Ensuring there is recognition given to Strategy, Finance and Sociocultural aspects as part of this planning and DD are critical success factors.
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