Once the merger or acquisition has closed, there can be a temptation to breathe a sigh of relief that you finally crossed the finish line. The negotiations and due diligence and last minute scramble to get all of the transaction documents in order is now
all behind you. But, of course, the reality is that the hard work is just beginning!
Post-merger integration can be a busy and stressful time where pre-merger assumptions and forecasts are now put to the test. One key element to successful integration is a good communications plan. Up until the closing, there has likely been limited discussion and knowledge within the firm and very limited discussion and knowledge outside the firm. Now is the time to get on the soap box and be loud and proud about the excitement and benefits of the transaction; for the employees, the clients, and other key stakeholders.
The key to a successful communications plan is to ensure that you are always in the driver’s seat with respect to the message and the timing and never getting into a defensive mode. This can be a fantastic marketing opportunity. To get you started, here are some tips for communicating to who, when, and how:
Employees: These folks should get the word directly and in-person from the leadership team. If there is going to be a change in leadership, make sure the new team is present. Show confidence and strength.
Key clients: Some key clients may have been notified prior to the transaction to address contractual transition matters. In any case, there should be an in-person meeting as soon as possible with the project manager and a member of the leadership team. If an in-person meeting simply isn’t feasible, a telephone call will have to do. Be sure that the client gets a clear message that responsiveness and flexibility will not change. Rather, this will provide access to the same great service along with additional resources.
Other clients: Draft a well-worded letter that conveys the same message as above (same service, additional resources). Ensure that the letter has one point-of-contact, be it a project manager or firm leader, to contact with any questions.
Lenders, insurers, creditors: Draft a letter for these stakeholders that clearly articulates the change and the opportunity that lies ahead. Of course, this will be separate from any correspondence regarding loan covenants, changes to insurance coverage, etc.
Competitors and others: This is a great opportunity to create buzz and excitement and the best way to reach competitors (and prospective employees!) is through the business and trade press. Research the key press contacts and various business journals, technical publications, and other media. Ensure that the press release is brief and to the point and has key contact information.
With all of the groups outlined above (and others), the primary question will be “How does this relate to me?” Be clear on what will change and what will remain unchanged. Articulate the strategic objectives of the transaction and how it is a win-win and an exciting opportunity for all involved.
In mergers and acquisitions (whether you are buying or selling), it is easy to make a million-dollar mistake. Ever wish there were a place where you could get the latest insight on how deals are coming together, hear war stories of what to watch out for, and get the tools and tips you need for M&A success? More than just a seminar, PSMJ's Mergers & Acquisitions Roundtable was designed to ensure that we give you an equal mix of learning and doing. With plenty of case studies, exercises, and examples of valuation and deal structures on real M&A deals, you’ll see why this program always fills up quickly.