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What are the best practices for integrating acquired companies during a restructuring phase?


This article provides a detailed response to: What are the best practices for integrating acquired companies during a restructuring phase? For a comprehensive understanding of Restructuring, we also include relevant case studies for further reading and links to Restructuring best practice resources.

TLDR Successful integration of acquired companies during restructuring demands thorough Strategic Planning, Cultural Integration, and Systems and Processes alignment, guided by best practices like due diligence, communication, and Operational Excellence.

Reading time: 4 minutes


Integrating acquired companies during a restructuring phase is a complex and critical process that requires meticulous planning and execution. It involves blending different cultures, systems, and processes into a cohesive unit that aligns with the strategic goals of the acquiring organization. Best practices in this area are continually evolving, informed by the successes and failures of countless mergers and acquisitions (M&As) across various industries.

Strategic Planning and Due Diligence

Strategic Planning is the cornerstone of successful integration. This phase involves defining clear objectives for the acquisition, understanding how it fits into the overall corporate strategy, and identifying potential synergies. According to McKinsey, companies that engage in thorough due diligence and strategic planning before the deal is finalized are 1.6 times more likely to report success in the acquisition. Due diligence should cover not only financial aspects but also cultural, operational, and technological compatibility between the organizations. This comprehensive approach helps in identifying potential integration challenges and opportunities early in the process.

Effective Strategic Planning also involves setting realistic expectations and timelines for the integration process. It's crucial to communicate these expectations to stakeholders in both organizations to ensure alignment. Additionally, establishing a clear governance structure for the integration process, with defined roles and responsibilities, is essential for maintaining oversight and accountability.

One real-world example of successful Strategic Planning and Due Diligence is the acquisition of Pixar by Disney in 2006. Disney took great care to preserve Pixar's creative culture while integrating it into Disney's broader operations. This careful planning and respect for cultural differences have made the acquisition a landmark success in the entertainment industry.

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Cultural Integration and Communication

Cultural integration is often cited as one of the most challenging aspects of M&A. A study by Deloitte highlighted that cultural issues are the reason for 30% of failed integrations. To address this, organizations must prioritize understanding and bridging cultural differences between the acquiring and acquired entities. This involves not only recognizing and respecting the existing organizational cultures but also actively working to create a new, shared culture that incorporates the strengths of both. Leadership plays a critical role in this process, setting the tone for an inclusive culture that values diversity and collaboration.

Communication is another critical element of successful integration. Transparent, consistent, and open communication channels must be established to keep all employees informed and engaged throughout the integration process. This includes regular updates on integration progress, changes, and how they will affect the employees. Providing forums for feedback and questions can also help in addressing concerns and reducing resistance to change.

A notable example of effective Cultural Integration and Communication is the merger between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler. Despite initial challenges, the companies focused on fostering a new corporate culture that leveraged the strengths of both organizations. This effort was supported by extensive communication initiatives aimed at building a unified workforce.

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Systems and Processes Integration

Integrating systems and processes is another critical aspect of successful M&A. This involves harmonizing IT systems, operational processes, and business practices across the combined entity. According to Accenture, organizations that effectively integrate their IT systems within the first year of acquisition are more likely to achieve their expected synergies and performance targets. A systematic approach to IT integration, focusing on both technical and functional aspects, ensures that the combined organization can operate efficiently and effectively.

Operational Excellence in process integration is also crucial. This involves identifying and implementing the best practices from both organizations to create optimized workflows and processes. It's important to involve employees from both organizations in this process, as they can provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of existing processes. Additionally, leveraging technology, such as ERP systems and automation tools, can facilitate smoother integration and improve operational efficiency.

An example of successful Systems and Processes Integration is the merger of Kraft and Heinz. The combined entity focused on integrating their supply chain and manufacturing processes, leveraging technology to achieve efficiencies and cost savings. This focus on Operational Excellence has been a key factor in the merger's success, driving significant improvements in the company's performance.

In summary, integrating acquired companies during a restructuring phase is a multifaceted process that requires careful Strategic Planning, attention to Cultural Integration, and meticulous integration of Systems and Processes. By following these best practices, organizations can increase their chances of successful integration, achieving the desired synergies and strategic objectives of the acquisition.

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Best Practices in Restructuring

Here are best practices relevant to Restructuring from the Flevy Marketplace. View all our Restructuring materials here.

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Explore all of our best practices in: Restructuring

Restructuring Case Studies

For a practical understanding of Restructuring, take a look at these case studies.

Operational Excellence Strategy for Regional Hospital in Healthcare

Scenario: A regional hospital is undergoing restructuring to address a 20% increase in patient wait times and a 15% decrease in patient satisfaction scores.

Read Full Case Study

Cloud Integration Strategy for IT Services Firm in North America

Scenario: A prominent IT services firm based in North America is at a crucial juncture requiring a strategic reorganization to address its stagnating growth and declining market share.

Read Full Case Study

Restructuring for a Multi-Billion Dollar Technology Company

Scenario: A multinational technology company, with a diverse portfolio of products and services, is grappling with a bloated organizational structure and inefficiencies.

Read Full Case Study

Organizational Reorganization for E-commerce Retailer in Consumer Electronics

Scenario: The organization in question operates within the highly competitive consumer electronics e-commerce space.

Read Full Case Study

Telecom Firm Reorganization for Market Leadership in Broadband Services

Scenario: The organization is a prominent broadband services provider in the telecom sector facing market saturation and increased competition.

Read Full Case Study

Reorganization Strategy for Defense Contractor in Aerospace Sector

Scenario: The organization is a defense contractor specializing in aerospace technology facing operational challenges due to a recent merger that has doubled its workforce and integrated disparate processes.

Read Full Case Study

Explore all Flevy Management Case Studies

Related Questions

Here are our additional questions you may be interested in.

In what ways can artificial intelligence and machine learning be leveraged to streamline the reorganization process?
AI and ML can revolutionize business reorganization by enhancing decision-making with predictive analytics, streamlining processes through automation, and facilitating employee engagement and change management, thereby making reorganizations more efficient, data-driven, and adaptable. [Read full explanation]
How is the rise of remote and hybrid work models impacting reorganization strategies?
The rise of remote and hybrid work models is reshaping reorganization strategies, necessitating changes in Organizational Structures, Talent Management, and Operational Efficiency and Innovation, guided by insights from leading consulting firms and market research. [Read full explanation]
What are the implications of blockchain technology on organizational structure and reorganization efforts?
Blockchain technology promotes Decentralization, enhances Collaboration and Innovation, and improves Risk Management and Compliance, driving organizations towards flatter, more agile structures and necessitating new skills and roles. [Read full explanation]
How do you measure the success of a turnaround strategy, and what key performance indicators (KPIs) should companies focus on?
Success of a turnaround strategy is gauged through Financial, Operational, and Market-Driven KPIs like Revenue Growth, Profit Margins, Cash Flow, Inventory Turnover, Customer Satisfaction, and Market Share, aligning with strategic goals for sustainable growth. [Read full explanation]
What impact do emerging technologies like AI and blockchain have on the efficiency and effectiveness of turnaround strategies?
Emerging technologies such as AI and Blockchain significantly enhance Turnaround Strategies by improving efficiency, effectiveness, and stakeholder trust, fundamentally changing corporate restructuring. [Read full explanation]
In what ways can restructuring contribute to a company's sustainability and environmental goals?
Restructuring enhances Sustainability and Environmental Goals through Operational Efficiency, Strategic Planning, and fostering a Culture of Sustainability, aligning with global eco-friendly practices for business resilience and growth. [Read full explanation]

Source: Executive Q&A: Restructuring Questions, Flevy Management Insights, 2024


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