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Mergers, Acquisitions, and Integrations

M&A transactions require attention to detail, careful planning, and hands-on leadership to ensure success.

Combining two organizations, blending cultures, joining workforces, capturing synergies, and harmonizing processes—all while maintaining ongoing operations—can challenge even the most successful companies.

Integrated Project Management Company, Inc. (IPM) applies professional project and portfolio management to M&A activities from beginning to end. This approach ensures organizational alignment, clarifies responsibilities, and prioritizes the most critical activities so the company begins realizing benefits as quickly as possible, without disrupting performance.

IPM helps optimize your success with a structured approach that keeps stakeholders informed and focused and reduces the risk of losing customers, employees, and suppliers.

Guiding Principles

Because no two M&A deals are alike, we start with a core set of guiding principles, tailored to fit your unique business needs.

Act quickly, not haphazardly:

  • Utilize controlled process (e.g. stage gate) to ensure decisions are well vetted and steps laid out before taking action

Work logically:​

  • Prioritize efforts based on their impact to the business (e.g. define and manage the merger integration portfolio of projects)

Maintain control:

  • Don’t make multiple changes at once causing disruptions to the point that it affects your customers (e.g. integrate in waves)

Keep everyone informed:

  • Ambiguity leads to speculation, which negatively impacts people’s productivity and can lead to a loss of talents (e.g. communication plan, change management plan)

Due Diligence

Due diligence is a fast-paced, multi-disciplined race against the clock, designed to evaluate a business and establish its commercial potential while looking for any potential liabilities.

Typical challenges/risks:

  • Confirmation biases favoring information that supports a company’s preconceived opinions before acquisition
  • Failure to uncover critical issues due to difficulties or delays in obtaining information
  • Inadequate access to management and process inefficiencies due to the lack of coordination

IPM’s approach:

  • Establish a focused plan of attack with defined activities and clear communication of responsibilities
  • Use a central contact point and a detailed issue tracking system to resolve issues quickly and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks
  • Communicate key concerns and progress to redirect efforts where needed most

Day 1

The day the deal closes is pivotal in the M&A timeline. Both internal and external communications must be flawlessly executed, and actions taken to ensure business continuity.

Typical challenges/risks:

  • Failure to quickly and consistently communicate to all stakeholders, which could result in confusion, speculation, rumors, and loss of customers or employees
  • Failure to clearly establish new reporting relationships, which could lead to confusion and a decline in productivity
  • Diluting resources and missing deadlines by introducing synergy realization activities, which should be part of the larger integration effort

IPM’s approach:

  • As part of the final stage of due diligence, develop a detailed plan of key activities to complete after the deal closes
  • Develop a comprehensive communication plan, including scripted messages for each stakeholder group
  • Utilize a cross-functional Day 1 team that works together until all activities have been completed

Integration

Compared to the “sprint” of due diligence, integration is a marathon—and like a marathon, success lies in sticking to a plan that keeps you moving forward at a pace you can handle for the duration.

Typical challenges/risks:

  • Failure to use objective criteria aligned with the Key Value Drivers for the deal to prioritize implementation activities
  • Failure to keep all stakeholders informed throughout the integration process, which could result in disharmony and defection
  • Taking on too much work, too quickly, leading to overtaxed employees and substandard planning
  • Failure to involve employees from the acquired company in the planning process, leading to strategic errors and ineffective adoption of the new organization/processes.

IPM’s approach:

  • Map the Key Value Drivers and/or synergy goals for the acquisition to specific integration projects
  • Treat the integration work like a portfolio of projects
    • Use Key Value Drivers to establish priorities
    • Use a resource planning process to account for organizational capacity
    • Release projects in waves based on priorities and capacity
  • Use a common set of project management best practices for every project
    • Establish a cross-functional team with representatives from both organizations
    • Develop a comprehensive and realistic schedule for each project; continuously monitor progress for slippage, intervening as required
  • Provide routine status reporting to all levels of the organization

 

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