Saturday 01 October 2016

A peek behind the scenes of M&A communications

Good communication is a central part of successful mergers and acquisitions and really sets the scene for how deal will be talked about in the public domain once the deal is signed. However, what is not often seen or talked about is what happens behind the scenes.

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2010/08/05/new-report-q2-sees-uptick-in-blockbuster-ma/mergers_acquisitions/

With a continuously changing landscape before the deal is signed, tight deadlines and uncertainty around if and when the deal will take place, it can be difficult to navigate that landscape.

Having recently worked on such a project, here are some of the key take outs I got from that experience:

1.       Prepare, prepare, prepare

Plan for the various outcomes that could happen and ensure that you are prepared for whichever outcome – including a leak strategy if news gets out before it is meant to!

2.       Be flexible

There is almost nothing that is certain in the lead up to a deal being signed. Try to stick to regular processes but factor in a degree of flexibility. It is difficult making decisions based on a moving target and that document you’ve just spent half a day working on might need to be reworked almost entirely now that things have changed.

 

3.       Technology

Working out of the office means that you may not be as connected as you’d like to be. Access to internet and consequently emails and file sharing can be a real challenge in these situations. Although a USB stick does help solve some of the file transfer issues, it definitely does not tick the data security box! Having a USB modem is like god-send in these situations.

4.       Have a central repository for documents

With so many people working on different documents and various drafts being edited, it can be hard to keep track of which version is the right or latest one. Having one person as the gatekeeper for all the documents not only ensures that you’ll be able to find the document when you need it, but that you’ll be working off the latest and not to mention, correct, version.

5.       Do it with a smile

It can be a stressful and tiring environment, especially if time is a luxury you don’t have! However, taking a relaxed yet focused approach goes a long way in supporting team morale.

Do you have any other tips that you would like to add? Let me know!

-Eunice Seow

@euniceseow

  • grantsmith8

    Great post Eunice – further to your point 4 regarding document management, it’s also helpful to use a date/time naming system for files rather than Version 1, Version 2 etc, e.g. M&A_release_2011_01_23_1400hrs. It’s not sexy, but it makes finding the right file infinitely easier.

  • MylanVu

    Love this post Eunice! These a some great tips which can be used in several areas of public relations, particularly crisis management and communications. Particularly like the last tip – definitely can’t manage an issue effectively unless you’re focused on what needs to be done and how. Also agree with your third point about wireless internet access. It’s always critical to suss out how accessible and reliable the connection will be, as it can (and often will) affect your entire communications plan.

  • euniceseow

    Thanks guys, both really good points! Definitely have found naming files using a date/time system helpful – should even be used across the board I reckon!

  • awick

    The photo above shows people shaking hands using their left hands.  I recommend that people involved in M&A communications avoid this at all cost!