With our first book, Managing the Merger, Philip H. Mirvis and I were dubbed ‘merger mavens’ by Fortune magazine. The second, Joining Forces: Making One Plus One Equal Three in Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, was called the M&A “bible.” So why a second edition of Joining Forces"? Several reasons:
· Early on we identified the “Merger Syndrome,” the human reactions to the uncertainty and threat posed by combining businesses. We showed how this Syndrome afflicted not just everyday workers and managers, but also the deal makers and leaders on both sides of combining firms. Nowadays, the majority of the corporate workforce has been through a combination or some other organization-wide restructuring or traumatic change. Many more senior executives are M&A battle tested and integration managers have better training and more tools available to put companies together. This new book helps these seasoned managers to accelerate the process of putting companies together and shows how to build longer term resilience in a merged workforce.
· Much of the case material in our two earlier books dealt with big deals in industry consolidations, large companies absorbing small firms, and either U.S., European, or cross-Atlantic combinations. Today the M&A landscape has changed. Firms like Cisco and Google use alliances as an R&D strategy and take a phased approach to M&A. Companies are buying into growth markets with acquisitions that require a delicate balance between integration and preservation of an acquiree. Global companies are acquiring businesses in China and India. And Chinese and Indian firms, like Chinalco and Tata, are globalizing by acquiring U.S. and European assets. These deals pose new kinds of strategic challenges and present new forms of the culture clash that destroys so many mergers. This book identifies the organizational and cultural issues posed by these new forms of M&A and how to best manage them.
· Finally, our guidance in earlier volumes concerned managing a single combination—how to select a partner, set integration goals, put the companies together, bring people along, and so on. Here we also talk about developing an M&A competence within companies—drawing lessons not only from GE and Cisco, but also Asian companies that have benefitted from the M&A lessons learned by Western counterparts . Here we describe how to create a merger mindset in firms, merger competencies among senior managers, and merger readiness and execution skills among professionals and workers at every level. We believe that the capacity to conceive, organize, and implement combinations can become a core competence of companies and a source of competitive advantage.
This new volume shows what it takes—for firms and for their managers—to do M&A well. As with our previous books on M&A, our aim is to blend theory, research, and especially practice in a useful and insightful volume. To accomplish this:
- We not only report the who, what, how, and why’s involved in implementing proven practices in each of the phases of a combination, we also highlight their relevance in different kinds of deals and which ones matter most in eventual M&A success.
- We share our personal experiences (good and bad) as researchers and advisors in many deals and the best of the academic and practitioner literatures on making mergers and acquisitions work.