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Mergers & Acquisitions: Achieving Success is More Than Just Numbers

Nimble Global

Nimble Global

Achieving Success in Mergers and Acquisitions: More Than Just Numbers

The Unsettling Statistics

Data shows that most mergers & acquisitions (M&A) deals fail to boost shareholder returns, highlighting the difficulties and challenges on the road to M&A success. Whether you're on the buying or selling end of the deal, participating in an M&A can be a transformative experience for your business. The M&A journey is a rollercoaster of emotions, characterized by the highs of success and the lows of unmet expectations.

What Constitutes Success?

Beyond mere financial metrics and power, dynamics are crucial for gauging effectiveness. In successful M&As, financial gains—often termed "mutual benefits"—serve as a byproduct rather than the end goal. Studies suggest that M&As aiming for long-term synergies rather than quick gains have a 30% higher success rate.

The Troubling Reality

More than half of M&As fail to deliver the expected value, often due to negligent oversight of customer interests, which are, ironically, the lifeblood of a business’s revenue stream.

The Importance of Ethics

Adhering to ethical principles can't be stressed enough. An ethically sound approach balances the quest for financial gains with the well-being of all stakeholders involved, ensuring the long-term success of the newly formed or acquired entity.

Best Practices for a Successful M&A

  1. Comprehensive Due Diligence: Don't just examine the numbers; scrutinize the target company's culture, client relationships (wins and losses), and operational aspects.

  2. Involve Key Stakeholders: Ensure that major stakeholders, including clients and employees, are involved in the M&A process. This helps in gauging the impact on these groups and planning accordingly.

  3. Ethical Decision-Making: Evaluate the ethical implications of the merger or acquisition. This ensures that the deal benefits a broader group of stakeholders and not just the executives or shareholders.

  4. Long-term Focus: Consider how the M&A will contribute to long-term goals and sustain customer relationships, rather than just focusing on immediate gains.

  5. Transparent Communication: Keep all involved parties informed about the progress and changes in the M&A process. Transparency helps mitigate risks and maintain trust.

Operational Risks

  1. You don't know what you don't know. Unforeseen challenges can derail the M&A process.

  2. Breakdowns and vacuums in communication can create misunderstandings and misalignment.

  3. Competitors, like circling sharks, seize the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities during the M&A process.

  4. Conflicting priorities between the parties involved can hinder the integration process.

  5. Disruptions to clients, vendors, and Managed Service Provider (MSP) services can negatively impact business continuity.

  6. Lack of leadership direction and strategy can lead to confusion and inefficiency.

  7. Inadequate project planning methodologies and resource capacity planning can cause delays and cost overruns.

  8. Merging different corporate cultures can create friction and reduce employee morale.

Proactive Risk Mitigation

  1. Confirmation of Service Level Agreement (SLA) commitments ensures continued service quality.

  2. Requiring performance guarantees with penalties minimizes client disruption.

  3. Conducting skip-level meetings between the client and the MSP team fosters direct communication and addresses concerns.

  4. In the UK, HR involvement in identifying TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) or similar options for the team is crucial.

  5. Establishing client/vendor forums facilitates open dialogue and collaboration.

  6. Confirmation of contract termination obligations helps manage legal and financial risks.

  7. Exploring contract assignment options ensures continuity of service.

  8. Defining an exit strategy provides a clear plan for disengagement if necessary.

  9. Requiring a detailed project plan ensures structured and efficient integration.

  10. Establishing a regular communication cadence keeps all stakeholders informed and aligned.


Achieving success in mergers and acquisitions involves more than just crunching numbers. It requires a strategic and ethical approach that considers the interests of all stakeholders, thorough due diligence, transparent communication, and proactive risk management. By following these best practices, organizations can navigate the complexities of M&As and unlock long-term value, ensuring the success and sustainability of the newly formed or acquired entity.

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