9 Rules of Post-merger Integration

Follow nine rules of post-merger integration to increase the odds for a successful project (Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels)

Over the past weeks, I have written nine short pieces on select PMI-related subjects. Each of the articles featured a rule (or a recommendation) which should be generally followed in standard PMI programs. There are no guarantees, but heeding them will increase the probability of a successful, value-adding and satisfying PMI process.

These are my suggestions helping you shape up your acquisition and post-merger integration program (each linked to the respective article):

Rule #1: Repeat acquirers have higher chances of success

Rule #2: Successful acquirers follow a pre-defined program

Rule #3: Keep it simple.

Rule #4: Resource your program with top people

Rule #5: Strong project governance enables integration success

Rule #6: Deal targets are unlikely to be achieved without tracking

Rule #7: Procrastination does not add value

Rule #8: Cultural change often transpires to change to leadership

Rule #9: Integrate IT systems linked to implementation of the TOM only

Much of the above sounds like common sense, and in most cases, it is. However, many failed integration attempts illustrate that a post-merger integration process is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, PMI is a very complex endeavor, involving people, behaviors, (competing) targets, different processes and systems. I have certainly not discussed all and every aspect of an integration project a PMI manager should consider. PMI takes planning, preparation and targeted execution. It binds resources and distracts from the day-to-day business. Yet, growth by acquisition is a proven means to outperforming competition and industry peers. A failed integration though is costly and can bring down an entire company, alongside its management. Therefore, I recommend not only your acquisition process be guided by knowledgeable external advisors, but in doubt the integration process, too.

Christopher Kummer, president of the Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, a research organization in Zurich, Switzerland, said once “Nothing compares to what comes after you acquire the business.” I think he is right.  

Diethard Engel
Management & Consulting Services

Based out of Germany, Diethard Engel is an independent consultant and interim manager, focused on Business Transformation, Post-merger Integration / Carve-out and Executive Finance. He has run multiple post-merger integration/carve-out projects for international businesses.