M&A Communications: Better Strategy. Better Actions. Better Outcomes.


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Communications are critical during a merger or acquisition. This presentation outlines the core challenges faced and then presents solutions and case studies.

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  • Good morning, I’m Linda Mertz, a managing director at Mertz Associates and welcome to our Webinar on Maximizing Integration Performance for acquisitions. Mertz Associates is a middle-market merger and acquisition firm helping clients make strategic acquisitions or pursue strategic divestitures or sales.
  • First, a brief overview of the GoToWebinar dialog box that you should see on your screen. I’d like to point out two key features. Number one, in order to minimize and maximize the webinar dialog box, simply click on the orange button with the arrow pointing to the right or left, to close or open respectively. And number two, the phones and mics are on mute, so if you have a question for us, please type it in the Q&A section of the GoToWebinar dialog. We’ll do our best to get to your questions at the end of the webinar.
  • Our agenda for this ½ hour is simple. First, we’ll outline the core challenges faced with M&A communications. Then, we’ll cover solutions and case studies. Finally, for Q&A, please type your questions in the GoToWebinar question box at any time, and we will cover as many of your questions as possible at the end.
  • The vast majority of Mergers and Acquisitions are disappointing or outright failures. Many acquisitions focus just on the numbers, de-humanizing the business. To succeed, you need good strategy, good communications, and good execution of both.
  • The vast majority of Mergers and Acquisitions are disappointing or outright failures. Many acquisitions focus just on the numbers, de-humanizing the business. To succeed, you need good strategy, good communications, and good execution of both.
  • In the end, everyone cares about the same thing – “ME!” Employees – Who stays? Who goes? Who’s on top? And where am I? Suppliers – Does this help me? Who am I competing against now? How can I get their fair share? Customers: The buyer’s: Your attention is diverted and it’s not on ME. The seller’s: The people servicing ME will leave. I’m not so important anymore Prospective: Who are you now and how does this benefit ME? Community: Do they still care about us? Will they move away and take OUR jobs with them? Will they sponsor our events and financially support US? On a higher level, even the people doing the communicating is concerned about themselves: What is their job? How can they produce results for the company? And the reality might surprise you. Survey after survey shows that most acquisitions fail to succeed based on a number of different measures. Whether its cost of capital, stock price, overall productivity or realization of synergies. Still, the top reasons cited for failure are lack of integration speed and poor execution. One would expect given the amount of time companies have been doing acquisitions, that the stats would improve over time…but that’s not the case. [Chris…Definition of insanity (Ben Franklin), to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.] Chris, our buyside practice, where we help companies identify, approach and make strategic acquisitions, has started to really pick up. Plus, we’ve all read recently about the amount of cash on the balance sheets of public companies, and there is a lot of buying power with private companies and private equity groups as well. So with a lot of buying on the horizon, I think this is a great time to cover today’s topic.
  • A lot has been written about the importance of employee retention, vendor support, customer loyalty and even community support to producing successful outcomes. But in the end, everyone cares about the same thing – ME.
  • Discuss company who didn’t even want to answer the phones because they didn’t know what to say.
  • There are 57 channels, but nothing is on. Linda interjects: speaks to financial, legal, transactional communications
  • Case example of customer who’s clients found out a merger from the competitors.
  • Linda interjects: generate content beyond M&A
  • Mary: you know the majority of the transaction before the transaction. (tees up M&A strategy) Linda interjects: Linda to discuss strategy for acquisition itself. If the goal of the seller is to maximize the value, the buyer will generally pay more for a good fit.
  • How does your brand strategy fit in with your story? (brand strategy = subset of ‘what’s your story?’) (2 columns: characteristics of good brand strategies / characteristics of bad brand strategies)
  • Linda interjects: talks to private equity / hedge funds
  • So many M&A focus so strongly on the numbers and the transaction, that they don’t address communications. Clarity is the first step in success. You’re obviously passionate about your business, which is why you pursue M&A. Communications enables your passion to be visible to your audience. Make it personal. (cartoon?)
  • (Linda) That brings us to Q&A. As a reminder, to submit your question now simply type it in the Question box on the Webinar dialog box. ? How would your advice differ for acquisitions of troubled companies? Especially where it comes to the people or soft issues?
  • M&A Communications: Better Strategy. Better Actions. Better Outcomes.

    1. 1. M&A Communications: Better Strategy. Better Actions. Better OutcomesPresenters: Mary Scheibel ─ Principal, Scheibel Halaska Linda Mertz ─ Managing Director, Mertz Associates, Inc. 1 October 12, 2010 Mertz Associates, Inc.
    2. 2. M& A CommunicationsConnecting with your Audience to Achieve Better Outcomes Mary Scheibel Linda Mertz Principal Managing Director Scheibel Halaska Mertz Associates, Inc. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    3. 3. Webinar 101Minimize / Maximize 1Webinar Dialog BoxQuestions for the 2Presenters Enjoy the presentation! Mertz Associates, Inc.
    4. 4. AgendaCommunications is a crucial component of successful Mergers and Acquisitions.Today our goal is to present• Challenges• Solutions• Case Studies• Answers to your questions Mertz Associates, Inc.
    5. 5. The Challenge• The large majority of mergers / acquisitions are disappointing or outright failures.• M&A activity is expected to increase as more CEO’s use M&A strategies to grow or exit their businesses. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    6. 6. Am I Insane? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein Mertz Associates, Inc.
    7. 7. Role of Communications What role can communicationsplay in producing more successful M&A outcomes? Mertz Associates, Inc.
    8. 8. It’s All About ME! Employees Customers Who stays? Is your attention still on me? Who goes? Who is the company now ? Who’s on top? How does this benefit me? Where am I? Am I still important? It’s all about Me Suppliers Community Does this help me? Does the company still care about us?Who am I competing against now? Will they move away? How can I get their fair share? Will the jobs leave? In the end, everyone cares about the same thing. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    9. 9. What’s in it for me?• It is crucial to create an emotional connection between the company and its constituents.• “Don’t tell me what’s happening, tell me what’s happening TO ME.” Mertz Associates, Inc.
    10. 10. The Emotional ConnectionHow can you connect on an emotional level?• Make the message QUICK• Make the message RELEVANT• Make the message MEMORABLE Lesson Learned: Make sure your employees are well-informed and equipped to take the right messages out. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    11. 11. New Rules of Engagement #1Communicate Often.• You can’t over-communicate, but you can over-inform. Communication vs. Information• Avoid too much emphasis on the transaction. Instead, focus on the possibilities it presents. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    12. 12. New Rules of Engagement #2Be Honest.• If you don’t know, you don’t know. When will you know?• Don’t try hiding. You can’t. News travels fast and makes its own path. Lesson Learned: If you don’t tell your own story, your competitors will be glad to tell their version of it for you. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    13. 13. New Rules of Engagement #3Tell your own story.• If you don’t tell your own story, no one else will tell the story you want told.• Use the press wisely, but don’t count on them. They have a different agenda.• Take advantage of new ways to generate your own content. • Website • Outbound E-marketing • Social Media Mertz Associates, Inc.
    14. 14. New Rules of Engagement #4Wishing and Waiting are not strategies.• Top integration risk factors: • Slow decision making • The pressure of addressing too many issues at the same time.• You know your story, or at least the majority of it, long before the transaction.• Develop plans and narratives out front. • It’s the story of the future. • It’s the story of your vision. • It’s not details about the deal. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    15. 15. That’s My Story……and I’m Sticking to It.•Create a singular message that’s relevant to all ofyour audiences, and use it to launch and cap allcommunications.•Make the complex simple, not the simple morecomplex.•Connect to your audiences on an emotional level. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    16. 16. What is your story?Ask yourself these key questions:• How does this acquisition increase value?• What makes me better at taking care of my customers than anyone else?• What is the future we are committed to producing together?• Why should anyone want to hitch their wagon to my star? Mertz Associates, Inc.
    17. 17. Identify your Brand StrategyIf you’re confused, imagine what the marketplace thinks. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    18. 18. Brand Complexity Brand Relationship Spectrum Branded Sub- Endorsed House of House Brands Brands Brands HP LaserJet All products The “LaserJet” is ‘Marriott’ plays acarry GE name a name of a P&G is not lesser role than represented product that is CourtYard ‘equal’ with HP Mertz Associates, Inc.
    19. 19. Putting it into PracticeGood Communications Can Happen.• Multi-million equipment manufacturer filed bankruptcy in March ’09, followed by asset acquisition by a PE firm. Lesson Learned: A good communications strategy and execution can help you navigate even the most difficult waters. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    20. 20. Putting it into Practice“Making a genuine impact”• All messaging reinforced company’s commitment to “making a genuine impact” past – present – future.• 3,000 people globally heard the story simultaneously only minutes after filing.• Company maintained supplier support, customer loyalty and employee commitment throughout the process.• All business units globally are profitable, and profits are being reinvested in the business.• Company is reestablishing global leadership position demonstrating its ability to continue making a genuine impact for manufacturers today – and tomorrow. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    21. 21. Putting it into PracticePlastics News, March 2009 Plastics News, September 2010 Mertz Associates, Inc.
    22. 22. SummaryStrategy, Strategy, Strategy!• Good communications all tie to your strategy.• Create a singular message that’s relevant to all of your audiences and connects on an emotional level.• Recognize your audience is all concerned about “me.”• Make your message quick, relevant and memorable.• Communicate often, be honest & tell your own story. Mertz Associates, Inc.
    23. 23. Q&A - Submitting Questions Minimize / Maximize 1 Webinar Dialog Box Questions for the 2 PresentersOpen Q&A section of dialog box to ask questions Mertz Associates, Inc.
    24. 24. Contact UsMertz Associates Inc. Scheibel Halaska• Buying • Strategic Marketing• Selling • Global Communications• Divestitures • Brand Positioning• M&A Negotiations • Public RelationsLinda Mertz Mary Scheibel(262) 523-4200 (414) 270-3513 Mertz Associates, Inc.