I have worked in the M&A space for several years now, and I have been advising, leading integration/separations as well. All of my experience has been advising other companies and specifically in the areas of technology. This past year I decided to acquire my own first business and learned that I need to review some of the contract challenges up front, specifically around tenant leases. I ultimately had to pay 10% increase in tenant lease and had I knew this prior to deal close I would like have passed on the deal. So a personal lessoned learned is get in front of the contracts early.
– Change management shouldn’t be just a work stream, it should be the basis for the project management team.
– Employee Surveys should be conducted in all phases of the merger
– The role of leadership/middle management should be highlited from beginning on, you need to push their commitment and engagement during the integration
– All work streams, e.g. IT, HR, Legal need to be always in touch
– I think M&As shouldn’t be organized as waterfall projects, a agile approach, e.g. SCRUM would be much better because of the complexity and dynamics
Here are some of my lessons:
1. Having a dedicated transaction team who are identified early, with clear responsibilities is critical – this ensures that tasks are completed and the “engine room” of the transaction is run from the same playbook
2. If selling, you should understand why you are selling and what you hope to achieve, including timeline and price- it is important to spend some time to get to know your buyer/ potential buyer and their transaction team prior to agreeing a deal ( on price alone) as the culture of a buyer and their team’s approach can dictate how your transaction proceeds
3. DO NOT allow yourself to be bullied
4. Engage the correct management teams ( if buy or sell side) to support the transaction team. Ie. Give HR a seat at the table help advise on Pension matters or what medical or other benefits can continue post sale or are needed from day 1