Mergers and People: Key Factors for an Effective Acquisition and for Surviving One

20 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2016

See all articles by Guido Stein

Guido Stein

University of Navarra - IESE Business School

Marta Cuadrado

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

Date Written: February 23, 2016

Abstract

The aim of this technical note is precisely to consider the human dimension of mergers and acquisitions and the way these processes impact people. In the substantial body of scientific literature that exists on this topic, authors discuss the rules and “magic” formulas that lead to a successful acquisition, grounding their arguments in empirical evidence. One of the first conclusions that can be drawn from examining this literature is that the authors cite a wide variety of empirical evidence in each case, and that this evidence serves to support different, and even contradictory, theses concerning the key aspects and elements of company acquisitions. Rationalizations are made a posteriori and seek to offer rules, or something close to that. They should be taken as broad approximations, but do point in the right direction. As a result, they are perhaps more useful for those whose work involves taking action than they are for academics concerned with scientific rigor.

Acquisitions affect everyone involved to one degree or another. They are not neutral transactions in any sense: not from a financial, tax, legal, operational or commercial perspective, and especially not in terms of how they impact the people in both companies involved and other stakeholders (shareholders, suppliers, customers, etc.).

For many companies, mergers by acquisition have become a recurrent strategy for dealing with competition, gaining market share, or simply ensuring their survival. Their impact on stock markets is noted within hours, but their consequences for the people who live though them are rarely reflected in the media.

In this technical note we will address a number of issues related to mergers. First, we will look at the key reasons why companies decide to pursue them and the reasons why many fail (Sections 1 and 2). Second, we will consider the inevitable realities associated with mergers (Section 3). In Section 4 we will discuss human due diligence. Section 5 will focus on the importance of merger and integration committees. Finally, in Section 6, we will offer a practical guide on how to professionally survive operations of this kind. In tackling these issues, we will draw on the experience of managers who have gone through merger processes and ground our discussion in the scientific literature.

Keywords: Mergers, Acquisitions

JEL Classification: G34, J24, O15

Suggested Citation

Stein, Guido and Cuadrado, Marta, Mergers and People: Key Factors for an Effective Acquisition and for Surviving One (February 23, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736815 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2736815

Guido Stein (Contact Author)

University of Navarra - IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

Marta Cuadrado

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

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