Articles | November 10, 2022

A Company’s Playbook Transformed its Acquisition Experience

Some acquisitions fall short of expectations despite legal counsel’s diligence. A common reason is the acquiring organization waits until late in the transaction’s lifecycle to focus on the people, culture and leadership aspects of the deal.

Typically, that’s a risky choice because the expected outcomes are very dependent on:

  • How people contribute and their sense of belonging and purpose
  • The evolution of team-based and overall corporate cultures
  • Belief in leadership
Business Meeting For Merger Or Acquisition

How to stay focused on the human aspects of an acquisition

Organizations that create and follow a comprehensive M&A playbook can help ensure their acquisitions go smoothly. An M&A playbook is a set of best practices that start well before the contract — in fact, well before a potential buyer or seller is ready to move forward with a potential deal — and extends well after the deal closes. It also provides a roadmap for a successful integration.

In “How an Energy Company Transformed its Acquisition Experience,” an article published in the Maryland Bar Journal, Fred Hencke, Senior Vice President and Segal’s M&A Practice leader, presents a case study of how a company revised its M&A playbook to make the latest in a series of acquisitions a success by adding several people, culture and leadership-related activities.

The article covers how the company addressed the following aspects of acquisitions:

  • Governance structure and discipline that included creating a project management office charged with establishing the HR integration governance processes and structures and developing an HR Target Operating Model, among other tasks
  • Project management and integration skills to assist the leaders of HR workstreams
  • Processes and templates, including communication frameworks and content, for “repeatability”

The article describes in detail the strategy and tactics the company used to achieve its six key HR goals for the acquisition: (1) engage employees; (2) retain employees; (3) minimize disruption to plant operations; (4) manage change effectively; (5) improve HR’s business impact; and (6) accelerate post-close “time to productivity.” Each goal was achieved.

The article also includes a brief timeline view of the critical activities performed, the key (reusable) templates and deliverables created and the outcomes produced during the first six weeks, the first six months and the first 12 months after the deal closed.

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Your clients can benefit from following an effective M&A playbook

As their legal counsel, your clients depend on you for guidance on how best to ensure the success of their acquisitions. Encourage them to develop an M&A playbook that’s geared to their industry and tailored to the size and complexity of each deal.

An effective M&A playbook can help acquiring organizations responding rapidly to emerging issues, including problems that arise with technology, operational workflows, methods and organization structures.

Interested in introducing your clients to the benefits of an M&A playbook?

Let’s have a conversation.

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This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.