The Breakfast of Champions: Can General Mills Make the Dough with Pillsbury? (A)

7 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Gerry Yemen

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Why do so many corporate initiatives, such as mergers and acquisitions, downsizings, or re-engineerings, look good on paper and turn out so poorly? This case offers the beginnings of one example of a corporate initiative: General Mills' acquisition of the Pillsbury subsidiary from Diageo PLC. Although General Mills financial advisors seemed to think that the balance sheets and products of the two corporations complemented each other and made a perfect match, the organizations were very different. Any shift in corporate control meant things were going to change. Kevin Wilde, the vice president and chief learning officer for General Mills, was part of the transition team responsible for helping the postacquisition integration go smoothly. The B case identifies several issues relevant to managing the integration and includes human resource and organizational information, marketing initiatives, strategy statements, plant closings, and operational changes. Together these cases were meant to motivate students with regard to the importance of understanding human systems and developing people management skills. As an introductory case to Leadership and Organizational Behavior courses, these cases encourage students to think about the skills required of them to be effective in human systems.

Excerpt

UVA-OB-0880

THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS:

CAN GENERAL MILLS MAKE THE DOUGH WITH PILLSBURY? (A)

During the fall of 2001, following a lengthy U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust review, leading food manufacturer General Mills Inc. acquired the Pillsbury subsidiary from Diageo PLC with an eye toward enhancing its revenue. Although General Mills' financial advisors seemed to think that the balance sheets and products of the two corporations complimented each other and made a perfect match, the organizations were very different. Any shift in corporate control meant things were going to change. As General Mills' vice president and chief learning officer, Kevin Wilde was part of the transition team responsible for helping the postacquisition integration go smoothly. While spending most of the summer working on the acquisition planning stage, Wilde and the team tried to envision what employees' fundamental concerns would be and how the team could help ease anxieties in both organizations. They wanted to calm fears, retain employees, and keep their work force focused in order to achieve the real reason for the acquisition in the first placeā€”to increase shareholder value.

Despite the deal being made to create real economic value, the cold reality remained that there was much to consider in integrating Pillsbury into General Mills. What changes would have to be made for the integrated company to produce the synergies that shareholders were expecting? And which changes should be the team's top priorities?

Why the Shopping Spree?

. . .

Keywords: acquisitions, business environment, mergers, planning, post merger, human systems, downsizing, intangible, integration, strategy

Suggested Citation

Yemen, Gerry, The Breakfast of Champions: Can General Mills Make the Dough with Pillsbury? (A). Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0880. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1281876

Gerry Yemen (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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