‘When it comes to mergers, just look after No 1’ (Times)

Posted on 19 August 2009. Filed under: About the book / weblog, Articles on surviving an acquisition |

An article in the Times this morning (19 August 2009) noted from the Surviving Mergers book the importance of making sure that you don’t depend too much on your boss to take care of you when your company is acquired or even if your firm is the larger one taking over another company. Dominic Walsh wrote ‘A new book by Scott Moeller, a former banker at Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, advises employees on the best way to hang on to their jobs in the event of a merger or takeover by a rival,’ and then continued with:

In assessing the economics of a deal, the shareholders and other analysts will look to see that the gains from the merger will exceed the costs. But perhaps the most telling piece of advice in his book — Surviving M&A: Make the Most of Your Company Being Acquired — is: “Don’t rely on your boss — in a merger everyone looks out for themselves.”

Given that the book is based on 350 interviews with people who have been through M&A deals, we can assume that a number felt that they had been stabbed in the back by their bosses.

But what about bosses nursing similar wounds? “It is fair to say we interviewed bosses who felt that after the deal, it was all about looking out for No 1,” Moeller admits.

This is certainly an important area that was highlighted frequently in our interviews. It’s not that your boss doesn’t have your best interests in mind or that (s)he doesn’t care, but often middle managers and even very senior ones do not really know what is going to happen, they may have been told they are secure themselves but then the situation changes unexpectedly (mergers ARE very uncertain even after closing), they are themselves going through the emotional roller-coaster caused by the deal, and, of course, will be most concerned about whether they have a job first.


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