The plan for integration is the result of all the work that has been done in the previous weeks – especially during various phases of due diligence.
The momentum provided by an acquisition is an opportunity to accelerate change. This is part of the value of mergers. Delayed savings usually mean managers have failed to seize the opportunity.
Post-merger integration is hard work. It is tempting to shorten the agony by disbanding teams too early. But ‘the devil is in the detail’. This is never truer than in post-merger integration. It is essential to track changes and apply firm managerial controls. Otherwise the risk of ‘drift’ increases; and benefits slip away. It is prudent, in the first three or four weeks after the acquiring company takes legal control of the target, to consider and take urgent actions:
- to remove ambiguity
- to protect shareholders’ interests
- to maintain momentum.
Taking control of an acquisition is typically characterised by an intensive two or three months of activity – the first 100 days – although establishing effective control can take less or much longer.
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