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6 Strategies for Post-Merger Integration Synergies

A significant number of Mergers remain unsuccessful, because companies do not employ a thorough and disciplined approach to realizing Post-Merger Integration Synergies.  In reasons for failure, we hear remarks like:

  • Targets were set several months earlier by the top management without consulting the line managers, or taking ground realities into consideration.
  • Assumption base for setting targets was untested.
  • Targets were met but the timeframe for achieving them made them ineffective—in terms of diminished returns, shareholder disappointment, or depressed share value.
  • Desired Synergies were achieved but at a very high cost or fairly weakened morale.

A disciplined and rational approach to pursuing Merger Synergies is key to successful Post-Merger Integration (PMI).  Companies that authenticate and set pragmatic yet ambitious Post-Merger Integration Synergy targets do the following to exceed targets and achieve substantial share price premium and a significant Competitive Advantage:

  • Advise Integration Leaders on how to aim high.
  • Give managers—responsible for achieving targets—a say in target-setting process.
  • Create detailed plans with built-in accountabilities.
  • Pursue their targets aggressively.

Successful PMI Synergies—be it in Cost Optimization, Strategic Sourcing, Greater Revenues or any other Cost or Revenue realm—have the common characteristic of leaders pursuing synergies with speed, rigor, discipline, and pragmatism with lots of analysis, planning, preparation, and fine-tuning before the close.

Success can be ensured time and again if the 6 Strategies for Post-Merger Integration Synergies are followed to the letter:

  1. Link Due Diligence (DD) and Post-Merger Integration (PMI)
  2. Leverage Clean Teams
  3. Establish Stretch Targets
  4. Rapidly Iterate to Targets
  5. Pursue Both Revenue and Cost Synergies
  6. Institute Performance Management

Implementation of the 6 Synergy Strategies involves adopting High-Engagement and Rapid Iteration approach which yields effective Stretch Target Validation and High Level of Line Accountability.

Let us delve a little deeper into 2 of these PMI Synergy Strategies.

Link Due Diligence (DD) and Post-Merger Integration (PMI)

Linking DD to PMI ensures realistic estimates on part of the DD team thus avoiding formulation of broad-brushed and imprecise Synergies.  Linking also guarantees greater amount of ownership and accountability at the same time enabling more compelling Stretch Targets.  Linking of DD to PMI is necessary because:

  • Under pressure to complete the M&A, Due Diligence teams frame assumptions with little knowledge of the levers influencing Synergies or the challenges involved in achieving them.
  • Due Diligence teams typically project more value in Cost Reduction and enhanced Revenues based on erroneous assumptions—without taking into account either the Operating Model (of the former entities and the freshly created one) or the difference / overlap in Customer Base.

Successful Mergers ensure a harmonized hand-off from Due Diligence teams to Integration Planning teams by ensuring the following:

  • Placing members of the Mergers and Acquisition team on the Post-Merger Integration (PMI) team to produce a greater degree of ownership and continuity.
  • Involving Business Unit Heads in target setting at the Due Diligence stage ensures ownership and accountability.
  • Linking of Due Diligence and PMI to enable setting of more profound Stretch Targets.
  • Analyzing and detailing drivers of saving at a high-level for creating Synergy Targets and Ranges which make later improvements possible based on subsequent information. These targets and ranges enable evaluation of potential gains from new company’s Operating Model. 

Leverage Clean Teams

Clean team is an independent group that is tasked with the collection and analysis of sensitive company data—pre-closure—with the guidance of management.  Clean team may comprise of third-party members or employees who can be reassigned out of business in case of deal failure eradicating the risk of compromising confidential information.  Clean team is formed by legal contract based on protocols agreed to by both company’s legal departments.  Clean teams help by:

  • Accelerating PMI planning.
  • Enabling the acquiring company to have a clearer picture of the target company without violating anti-trust regulation or confidentiality agreements.
  • Assessing risks and enabling companies to achieve Synergies faster.
  • Keeping sensitive information of both sides safe—pre-closure—yet embark on planning and preparation even before close in order to save precious time and keep customer confidence high.
  • Aiding companies accomplish 3 core integration activities before closing—compiling wide-range baseline data, vetting Synergy targets, and preparing options for key decisions.
  • Empowering companies to avoid / diminish confusion caused by overlap in client assignments and sales people.
  • Assisting provision of clear information to customers regarding products and services thus avoiding drop in sales.

Interested in learning more about the 6 Strategies for Post-Merger Integration Synergies?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Post-Merger Integration (PMI): 6 Strategies for Synergies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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