This article is the second in a two-part series, ‘Mergers and Acquisitions: Accelerating business value realization using the Agile approach’, in which we outline the challenges inherent to acquisitions and present the solutions offered by the Agile approach. To see part one of this series, please click here.
In the first article in this series, we looked at the challenges of the acquisition process and discussed how keeping an eye on the end state, partnering with a third party, and taking the Agile approach can improve outcomes and allow companies to realize benefits faster. In this article, we will present specific recommendations for implementing the Agile approach.
Level-set with the board
At the start of the acquisition journey, consider setting the acquiring board down in a room to discuss key aspects of the acquisition. You may be surprised by the level of disagreement on the rationale or value of the proposed acquisition between members of the leadership team, and if they can’t come to an agreement, then success is going to be difficult to achieve.
The structure of such a meeting will vary depending on the target, the current business environment, and other factors, but it should aim to assess the level of agreement and find a way to bridge significant gaps. Evaluate the consensus in the room on these four questions:
- What is the key rationale for the acquisition of the target company?
- Where is the value going to come from, and what is the expected amount of that value?
- How are you going to operate the business following the acquisition?
- How are you going to protect business value during and after acquisition?
Launching your integration plan
You can learn a lot by answering just these questions. The first two help to clarify where to focus your Day 1 and integration planning efforts, at least initially. Due diligence may uncover different value areas in the acquisition, so you may need to adjust your thinking as you go, but questions one and two should give you a clear starting point for your post-acquisition vision. Figure 1 lists some of the activities performed in each phase of an acquisition program: