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Tips For A Successful M&A Transaction

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was the A-Team.  I loved it when Hannibal Smith (played by George Peppard) would exclaim after a successful mission, "I love it when a plan comes together."  If you are a startup CEO or a larger company leader, you should take the same approach to planning merger and acquisition activities.  It is always  shocking to discover how many companies actually do not properly plan for integrating companies.

Define what success looks like – draft a 3-5 page deal document that provides an executive summary level of detail on the deal.  This is important since you'll need to convince your Board that once you buy the company, that you have a plan to integrate discrete functions of the business as well as when and where you plan on getting synergy from the deal.  This document should cover a high-level operating roadmap timeline, roles and responsibilities on your team for integration, and a section on success metrics for the deal.

Check your list and check it twice – you need to have a dedicated project/integration manager from your team that is responsible for ensuring that every function has specific activities and dates for completion.  I personally have a mega spreadsheet that has something like 20 tabs with 100 rows of activity detail to integrate as part of an acquisition.  Some examples of areas that you need to track and think-thru are:  accounting, accounts payable, credit collections, FP&A, human resources, legal, IT, order fulfillment, payroll, purchasing, real estate, revenue, risk management, sales & marketing, tax, and treasury.

Executive reviews – its always a good idea to keep your Board and/or executive updated regularly on the progress on the integration.  Walk everyone thru your 30/60/90 day plan and high-level milestones.

You and your company are spending millions of dollars buying a company.  Make sure to do the hard work upfront and the proper planning throughout the integration of the new company.  Otherwise, you'll never get the value out of the company and then no one wins (accept your competitors).


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