Delivering Value Through Mergers and Acquisitions – HR’s Critical Role

9 March 2021

12.00 - 14.00


It’s become axiomatic now that too high a percentage of mergers are ill-conceived and poorly executed. At the outset there is bullish talk of synergies, combined strengths and market share, only for senior executives to acknowledge, a few years later, that very few of the benefits were realised. Often, as one academic remarked recently, CEOs take credit for successful mergers but blame failures on culture.

HR must share responsibility for this. It has a critical role to play in the identification, due diligence and integration phases of M&A. Early participation of HR professionals is needed to identify critical talent or capabilities in the market that support the strategic development of the company. HR needs to scan and understand the market, helping to build a strong business case, working to successfully integrate acquisitions and, critically, identifying any features of both organisational cultures that might cause problems down the line.

The Covid-19 crisis may have delayed, but has not resolved, these issues. A recent survey by the US M&A Council indicated that 51% of companies anticipated pausing their M&A activity as a result of the ‘lock down’ period.

However, the data reveals an encouraging counter-intuitive growth strategy for those companies prepared to turn crisis into opportunity. Periods of economic volatility generally lead to increased consolidation or restructuring and hence higher levels of M&A activity, with higher potential returns for those who move quickly. Almost 50% of respondents indicated that they will pursue opportunistic acquisitions and almost 25% will target entirely new, non-core technologies during the coming year.

Commentators assert that Covid-19 is leading to a more vigilant approach to mergers. There will be more caution in valuations, financing will be heavily vetted, due diligence will be more complex in trying to understand Covid-19 risks, and specific indemnities will be sought. M&A timescales will therefore be longer and the risks greater.

Our research report and online session will support you in reviewing your company’s M&A approach in its search to exploit great value assets. We will hear from Salvatore Cantale on the drivers of M&A and the sources of strategic competitive advantage, from brand acquisition and market share to talent acquisition and enhancing digital capability. We will explore case studies with senior HR practitioners who have been central to their company’s growth through acquisition and will examine how the post Covid-19 environment might change some of the M&A assessments.

All of the above will help you as HR professionals navigate the complicated world of M&A and optimise value creation for your organisation.