How to Plan a Successful Post-Acquisition Integration

January 2023

How to Plan a Successful Post-Acquisition Integration

Closing an M&A deal is exciting, but it’s important to remember that it’s just the beginning. 

Poor M&A integration can destroy months of hard work and strategic planning, so you must get it right! A strong post-merger strategy is crucial if you want the deal to live up to your expectations.

So what happens after a deal crosses the finish line? And what is needed to create an effective M&A integration strategy?

 

In this guide, we’ll tell you how to plan for post-acquisition integration and ensure that the deal lives up to its predicted value. 

What is post-merger integration? 

Post-merger integration, also known as post-acquisition integration and M&A integration, is the final step in the M&A process. It involves bringing two or more companies together and aligning processes and procedures, with the aim of maximising synergies and value.

 

Why is post-merger integration important? 

Did you know that between 70% and 90% of M&A deals fail? This is an alarmingly high figure and M&A deals should never be taken lightly. 

A survey conducted by McKinsey found that even when companies felt they were prepared to acquire a company, around 1 in 6 dealmakers still felt they were insufficiently prepared for integration.

Post-merger integration helps companies plan for future success and maximise the value of transactions. McKinsey found that acquirers who do M&A integration well achieve growth that is 6-12% higher than those that don’t. 

When implemented correctly, a post-merger integration strategy can help companies aim higher, achieve more, and realise post-acquisition synergies faster. 

How do I create an effective M&A integration strategy? 

Follow these key steps to create a strong post-merger integration strategy that will keep your team on track and enable value creation.

Step 1: Form your integration team 

A successful M&A integration needs a strong, motivated and unified team. Select skilled employees and appoint clear integration leaders from both companies. 

Step 2: Create your integration strategy

You must have a detailed integration strategy with clearly defined goals and objectives. Hold a kick-off meeting with your team to discuss your vision and determine the value drivers and guiding principles of the deal that supports that vision.

Step 3: Organise M&A integration activities 

Post-acquisition integration involves a wide variety of tasks and activities. This includes human resources, legal, finance, technology, sales, facilities management, and manufacturing. 

You can use a post-acquisition integration plan template to organise activities into functional categories. This will make it easier to monitor key processes throughout the integration process. 

Step 4: Maintain momentum 

Set your M&A integration team clear deadlines and strive to maintain momentum throughout the integration process. Distractions can lead to delays and lost opportunities, so you must keep your team focused. 

Step 5: Set clear exit criteria 

Exit criteria will give your M&A integration team clear goals to work towards, letting them know when integration is officially complete. Setting clear exit criteria will give your integration leaders a framework for decision-making. It will also motivate your team by telling them what they must accomplish and by when. 

You should customise your exit criteria to different M&A integration activities and departments such as human resources, legal, marketing, and so on. Allow each integration team to determine suitable exit criteria.

Tips for successful post-acquisition integration 

  • Start planning M&A integration early: Post-acquisition is a complex process and you should start planning for value creation from day one. Re-assess your M&A integration goals regularly and adjust them when necessary. 
  • Support your post-acquisition integration team: Working in an M&A integration demands a high workload and the role can be stressful. You must support your team and be aware of the signs of burnout to avoid losing top talent. 
  • Prioritise communication: Good communication is a key component of an effective M&A integration strategy. Encourage open communication among your team and establish clear and accessible communication channels. 
  • Leverage M&A tools and software: You can use a platform like DealRoom to centralise all communication, tasks, and integration documents in one place. This will align your M&A integration team on priorities and improve collaboration and efficiency.
  • Use a post-merger integration checklist: A post-merger integration checklist will keep your team on track and help them prepare for the merger.
  • Hire an M&A integration consultant: Seeking the advice of an M&A advisor is a good solution if you lack M&A integration experience. A consultant will help you identify the best areas for synergy and ensure minimal disruption to your operations. 

Tip: Browsing an M&A advisor directory is the easiest way to find an affordable advisor that suits your needs and goals. 

Key takeaways 

Post-acquisition integration can be a long and challenging process. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone! 

The secret to successful post-merger integration is to start planning early, follow your integration strategy closely, and stay focused on the strategic goals and objectives of the deal. 

Reach out to our M&A experts if you would like advice on post-merger integration or have any questions. We’re always on hand to help! 

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