Client Stories | September 22, 2020

M&A Readiness Keeps Your M&A Integration Plan On Track

Even if you are already in the midst of your merger or acquisition, our M&A readiness assessment can still identify and help solve your integration challenges.    

Take the case of a large international industrial manufacturing company we worked with. In order to achieve its goals of increasing market share and accessing new geographic markets it explored acquiring a similarly-sized competitor.

The acquisition target had both processes and products that would complement the buyer’s customer offerings.

However, the integration of both companies’ benefits and compensation programs proved challenging, and it may have disrupted the entire acquisition if we hadn’t helped with our M&A readiness solution.

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The issue

While many of the client and product processes of the two companies aligned closely, the programs supporting the employees differed significantly – especially in the areas of benefits and compensation – as well as the HR technology and processes used to manage those.

Those responsible for the actual integration didn’t realize the scope of the problem until after  the acquisition was revealed within the companies and the leaders on both sides began building their integration plans.

As the impediments to integration seemed to mount, our client began considering a portfolio approach (leaving legacy programs and cultures in place) rather than the blended approach they had preferred.

Our solution    

Although we had a long-standing relationship with the acquiring company, our role had been limited to one aspect of employee benefits. That work gave us visibility on the client’s broader integration challenges, and prompted us to reach out to the CHRO (a member of the integration committee) with While this approach is meant to test readiness for a deal, it can give clear insights where problems may lie at an early integration stage.       

The insight revealed by the M&A pre-assessment tool helped us determine that a major roadblock for the client’s integration was that those responsible for the integration already had full-time jobs and that the resources allocated from the core business M&A team did not have enough HR and benefits focus or experience.

We helped the client establish a Project Management Office (PMO) led by an experienced and impartial senior employee who had the bandwidth to take on the work. With our help, this PMO approach harmonized the health and retirement offerings for both companies’ legacy employee groups and coordinated the efforts for all benefits partners and vendors.

The PMO model was so effective the client asked us to expand its scope to encompass HRIS and HRIT review, compensation review, new structure development and workforce planning as well as other aspects of human resources. This included working with both companies’ teams to develop communications to explain the new employee programs and to help build enthusiasm and buy-in. 

The result    

By emphasizing the internal factors that the two companies could control – people, culture and leadership – the integration quickly got on track and met the measurable goals set by leaders ahead of extremely volatile schedule often interrupted by federal oversight.

The sales teams then quickly meshed, following the lead set by the manufacturing, back office and management teams, and learned the expanded product offerings to begin cross-selling new whole-product solutions.

Employee response to the new and combined culture and opportunities within the company has been positive. Recent employee surveys noted that the new benefits and HR programs are judged to be an improvement over both legacy programs.

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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.

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