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What to do to prevent Failure of a merger?

M&A Mergers&Acquisitions
New answer on Aug 14, 2019
2 Answers
2.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 25, 2019


I got a question:

What measures can we take (legal and culturally) to prevent failure of a merger?


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Ivan replied on Aug 14, 2019

A lot of mergers fail because the cultures do no mesh.

Some points on this:

- Culture is built around core values: integrity, trust, cost efficiency, growth mindset, customer orientation etc. It might be prudent to have a look on how the core values match together.

- Also, culture is a set of norms and socially accepted behaviours. When two cultures clash on each, this is often because of norms and behaviours are incompatible.

- Culture is not built in a day. Creating a new culture in a organisation may need time or new staff.

- Culture and behaviours are usually shaped through motivational factors and incentives (competitive, burocratic, integrative cultures etc.) It might be worth looking into what motivates people to understand the culture and align on this.

Hope this helps.


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replied on Aug 14, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


As usual with brainstorming questions, please use a driver tree to disaggregate your are of scrutiny into its components. So the first question is "In which different ways can a merger fail?". Or asked differently - what characterizes "failure" of a merger? For example it culd be falling short of cost synergy targets, falling short of projected revenues, failing to integrate internal systems, failing to harmonize core processes, failure to marry cultures of related departments or the entire organization, etc. etc. Then you need to develop ideas for each of these arms, what kind of measures could prevent these issues (you might need to drill deeper into some of these issues first to isolate the actual drivers of the specific failures).

So this question is answered in an identical way as any other brainstorming question - with rigorous and crystal clear LOGIC.

Cheers, Sidi

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