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M&A Integrations:

A Playbook for Value Realization

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Background

A private equity-backed company with annual revenue of $100MM looked to double in size through serial acquisitions.

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Challenge

A combination of “bolt-on” products and pure absorption deals, the acquisitions would also have aggressive cost savings assumptions.

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Solution

A disciplined and repeatable approach to acquisition integrations based on experiences of Stanton Blackwell's team.

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Result

Delivered an integration playbook that enabled the client to execute – from day one operations to synergy realization.

The Whole Story

A private equity-backed company looked to double in size through serial acquisitions making integrations a new and important capability for the business.

A $100MM annual revenue business aspired to be a $250MM business within two years.  A substantial amount of the revenue growth was expected to come from multiple acquisitions.  Expected to be a combination of “bolt-on” products and pure absorption deals, the acquisitions would also have aggressive cost savings assumptions, particularly in the back office.  A disciplined approach to business integration would be critical to achieve the strategic objectives and to realize the anticipated synergies.

Stanton Blackwell’s Role

Deliver an integration playbook that guides an internal deal team from day one operations to synergy realization.

With substantial hands-on experience in acquisition integrations, we used a best-of-all-worlds approach.  Our team of senior leaders brainstormed integration best practices that we had used over decades of experience with integrations in industries from banking to bananas.  Our focus was first on value realization, making sure that the client would capture the additional revenue and see the cost savings that were assumed during negotiations.  Our second priority was creating scalable processes from early transactions so that each subsequent deal was easier to integrate.  And our third guiding star was completion.  Too often, teams let integrations drag on.  The difficult decisions, change management, and hard work only get more difficult with time after the excitement wears off.  Better to finish the work quickly and get the results in your P&L.

We provided the agendas and task lists for Legal Day 1 which are communications heavy to keep customers, staff, and vendors in the know.  Within days, the execution will accelerate with an integration kickoff meeting where work teams develop their approach using a governance model, project plans, and detailed functional checklists that we provided.  The playbook drives for a first cutover to an Interim Operating Model within 60-90 days with the final cutover to the Target State Operating Model in 120 days optimistically but no later than 180 days.  

Results

A disciplined and repeatable approach to acquisition integrations that creates accountability for execution and achievement of synergies to drive value realization.  

 

The playbook is a best practice approach that starts with functional Target Operating Model definition and a structured timeline followed by detailed project plans and communication examples for change management.  All tools, agendas, checklists, and project plans are comprehensive and customizable for each acquisition.  The client was so confident in the playbook that they decided to execute on their own – and were successful!  We are always willing to provide execution coaching on an integration, but our objective is always to teach our clients to fish, so this was a satisfying conclusion.

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Contributor: Anne Gehring
Anne Gehring is a Founding Partner of Stanton Blackwell.  Throughout her career, Anne has led teams to solve complex problems through collaboration and structured execution.  She has a passion for people development and has been a strong advocate for talent diversity since her career began over thirty years ago.

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