M&A Integration Questions

Introduction

M&A Integration is tough, what are the key areas to focus on and the important questions to ask.  Here are some of the useful questions we ask across 9 central topics.

Day 1

Will everything still be working as it should be or will something stop?  Will I be able to log into my systems?  How do things get approved?  How should I answer the phone?  What things can I make decisions on?  Will I hit my synergies?  Will I get my bonus?  Do I understand what is going on in the company I just bought?  Are customers happy?  Do customers understand what is going to happen?  Do employee understand what is going to happen?  Is management in place?  Are all managers pulling in the same direction?  Do you have a Day 1 plan?  Does our TSA cover everything?  What could go wrong on Day 1?  What early mistakes affect the integration or business?

Integration Management Office

Do you know where to start?  Will you have a consistent approach?  What risks are there?  Can you track synergies?  Can you track and manage integration budgets?  Do you know if you will hit the deal targets?  Can you easily spot critical dependencies?  How will you structure the integration?  Do you have the ability to deliver on time to budget across all companies?  Do you have detailed functional checklists?  Do you have Day 1 checklists?  Has the integration strategy for each area been agreed? Is the integration kick off meeting planned?  What integration tools are to be used?

Integration Strategy

Can we rapidly create a physical map of each company?  Can we find and collect the data?  How do we analyse and standardise the data?  What are the standard scenarios for each department, workstream, business area?  What are the pro’s and cons for each scenario?  Can we select a set of workstream scenarios that all work together across the whole business?  How fast will this go if we don’t have experienced help?  What are the cultural difference?  How mature is each area? Can we gain agreement on a working integration strategy for every area?

Governance

How do we set up our integration structure?  Who makes what decisions?  Who runs the budget?  Who is accountable for delivering the synergies?  Who is responsible for changing the business?  How will you know what is going on?  How will you know if everything is going according to plan?  When should governance be set up?  How should workstream work? Where does each type of decision get made? Do you understand the risks and mitigating actions of an integration?

Growth

Which customers & products make most profit?  What will customers see & feel on Day 1?  Which customers are at most risk for defection?  Are strategies in place to  retain them?  How do we interact with each key customer?  What will competitors do?  Which market opportunities are of highest value?  How do we go to market as a combined company?  What products and services will be in our new portfolio?  How can we increase our profitability?  How will our service delivery be affected?  How do we create a positive customer experience?  How will sales support need to change Day 1?  Are detailed cross sell plans in place? Who will communicate what to whom, when?  What does the combined sales force look like? How will it be run?  Will it achieve the goals set?  How do external relationships (channels, distributors, partners…) need to be managed?  Is there a synergy delivery plan? Is there a visible plan to get the additional growth needed?

Efficiency

Is your integration team independent enough to cut through the politics of people fighting for job, power and budget? Can you see current inefficiencies?  Can you see overlap and duplication?  Do you know how to remove it? Have you delivered that change successfully in the past?  Do you know where to invest your integration budget to get most bang for your buck?  Will you deliver all synergies envisaged?  Do you have the experience to find additional synergies as you get into the detail?  Can you find and fix bottlenecks in the integration and business?  What should be standardised? Where is there value in not standardising?  How does this all affect customers and employee?  Are you historically great at delivering these changes?

Synergy

How will synergies be delivered?   Who will deliver them?  How will accountability be split?  Can you create all the business cases?  How will they be approved?  Are you good at track projects, milestones, actions? Can you link delivery, tracking and financial reporting?  How will you know if synergies are on track?

Communications

How will each stakeholder group view the deal?  Given their current information what will they think?  How will this cause them to act? What will happen to Employee and Customers? What will we tell each? When will we tell them? Who will tell them? How will they get that communication?  Will we have consistent messaging to customers, employee, suppliers and other 3rd parties?  Can people give feedback freely?  Are we using that knowledge?  How will the communications function work during the integration? What will it’s end state be?  When will all the content be in place? Can you see all the risks that will appear?  What does Day 1 look like?  Can you keep productivity up during the changes and keep all your good people?