Saturday, September 13, 2008

LinkedIn Discussion Board

As mst of you hopefully have noticed, this blog has been replaced by the discussion board capabilities in LinkedIn. If readers are not members of, I suggest you become a member and link in to the gorup there.

Please contact me if any questions.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Law Firm Mergers - Its the culture

A short article on law firm mergers was just released, see

It points to the statitic that the number of U.S. law firm mergers is up for the first helf of the year from 28 last year to 43 this year. moreover that culture is a key to a successful law firm, otherwise a firm is merely a hotel for lawyers....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Retail Drug Chain -- a personal experience

A linkedin-based member of our group responded to the call for experiences pertaining to the post-merger integration of a retail drug chain.

Fritz Wiant ( writes:
I was involved in the 1997 merger between CVS and the Revco Pharmacy chain as a front-end conversion trainer. It was the beginning of my personal quest to better understand change management in retail organizations and how to create more engaging work environments. I worked in over 20 stores in 8 states with teams of sometimes openly hostile managers, some of whom had just been recently acquired from the Big B chain.

I strongly believe that nowhere near enough emphasis placed upon, or training provided for, the cultural transition necessary to make a smooth merger. As a trainer, I was charged with spending 10 days with the front end team training them on operational procedures and systems applications. The program did not include any time for team building or facilitating understanding of the process. Trainers were also not well versed in the change management curve, which led to confrontations, including a fistfight between a project manager and a district manager and a partial mental breakdown by a licensed pharmacist.

Here are some suggestions based on my observations:
1. Facilitate change management sessions with merged groups prior to introducing any new processes or procedures. Ideally, this would include participants from both organizations. Allow time for employees to negotiate the change curve and discuss their worldview.
2. Create a support network prior to conversion that allows merged employees to work in partnership with existing team.
3. Build a mentorship program for ongoing conversations after conversion experience

To me, my take away is that it seems that the design of the integration was simply focused on the technical tasks and not the softer dimension of an organizational merger....I just wonder if that mistake has happended elsewhere, before???

Let's merge right folks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Drug Store Chain Merger Integration Experiences???

NYSE: CVS to accquire NYSE: LDG which consists of 521 retail drug stores in 4 US states. See

Does anyone have any integration experiences with a similar horizontal retail store merger? Would like to hear the about integration design and how it all eventually turned out from your personal experience, either as an employee, manager, or integration manager. What integration tactic worked, which did not.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Higher-success story

Check out the article "Divestiture Darlings"

"New research from BCG shows that more value can be found in mergers involving divested assets, but the experts warn that integration can be sticky."

The relevant pointis that merging with only a part of the "acquired" firm has a better success rate. Of course, integration can be sticky!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

A student's call for a short research interview

Integration Experts -- please heed this note from Stephen Mix, an MBA student:

I am working on my final thesis for my MBA and the title is "Strategies and techniques for maximising post-m&A synergies". The premise is that, beyond financial engineering, the key source of value creation in an M&A deal is the realization of synergies between the two firms.

I've been reading about how the integration seems to be the 'make-or-break' stage. Key areas I've highlighted in my literature review are:
* How the motives for a merger/acquisition determines the integration plan
* Difficulties integrating two cultures
* The need to have clear communication
* Setting up integration teams
* How quickly the acquirer implements the integration plan
* How to effectively transfer knowledge and resources between the two
* The need for companies to be flexible during the integration stage - providing 'slack' in budgets and targets to allow managers to respond to unforeseen events as they occur.
* Identifying key employees/employee retention/incentives etc.
My research is going to involve a 'meta-analysis' of many case studies to draw commonalities and conclusions, with interviews of practitioners providing insight and emphasis.

At this stage I am looking for people to interview who can draw on their experience to discuss what works and what doesn't etc.

Any help is appreciated!

Stephen (You can reach Stephen through Linkedin)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Growing Organization

At this point there are 91 members. Last night this website was opened up to the community, so we'll have a merger of integration managers soming together at !!!

There is a M&A integration related question posted today in LinkedIn under Change Management questions writen by an MBA student in the UK: "Experience with M&A Integration? I am looking for people experienced in handling integration of the M&A process - planning or implementing - to interview for my MBA thesis. Consultants or people working in industry." Hopefully a few of the members of this group will donate a few minutes of time for an interview for his reserach????