Mergers and Acquisitions
M&A Readiness Podcast Series: The Value of Project Management and Communication

Project management and communication are key to a successful transaction—yet companies still underinvest in these areas. In this “M&A Readiness” podcast, Jeff Cox, Global Leader for Mercer's M&A Transaction Services business, is joined by colleagues Jennifer Jakubowski, Chuck Moritt, and Adam Rosenberg to discuss the importance of project management and communication in any transaction.

If mergers & acquisitions deals aren’t going to wither away as company cultures clash, they can’t gloss over project management and communication, our 2016 People Risks in M&A Transactions research report finds.  

Chuck Moritt points out three key criteria for an effective PMO, or project management office. “The first one is ensuring that the PMO has a strategic view. The second one is ensuring that there is a very well-defined PMO organization model. And the third one and likely the most important is that there is a strong central leader of that PMO organization.”

Another vital aspect to a successful deal is communication. “Effective and frequent communications can pave the way to deal success and help to meet objectives quicker,” says Jennifer Jakubowski. Think back to the failed merger between AOL and Time Warner: one of the main sticking points was opposing cultures. “If there are gaps in any of these areas when two organizations come together, it will be very difficult for them to work effectively together, make a decision, and achieve the desired business results.”

During the 78 interviews that we conducted as part of the Mercer M&A risk survey, honest and frequent communications was one of the characteristics that defined a winning culture. “This is super important at the time of the transaction and oftentimes present in a winning culture, whether it’s business as usual or during the time of change,” says Jennifer.

Retention is also a key people issue, our respondents told us. “It’s really important to make sure that you choose the right employees, and that’s one of the biggest challenges that people face,” says Adam Rosenberg. The challenge is about people as much as it is about finances and figuring out the timing of payments. “It’s also about the wider employee value proposition, so people understand what their future role within the organization is and what their opportunities for growth are — these being as important as the financial side of the equation,” says Adam.

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