The new executive: How managing mergers is like dating — The Globe and Mail

Robert M. Yalden

Oct. 12, 2016

The technical aspects of complex business mergers are crucial to a successful transaction, but almost equally as important is the leaders’ skills in integrating business cultures, according to an article in The Globe and Mail. In his article, Chris Atchison explores the relationship between successful business mergers and fostering a favourable workplace culture, especially during major adjustment periods. The article compares business mergers to dating, in that the parties involved must maintain a symbiotic relationship. That’s why having great business sense is only part of the equation, according to Robert Yalden, a partner in Osler’s Corporate Practice Group.

“Keeping up a good rapport is never to be underestimated because there are things that occur during due diligence that might cause a buyer heartburn,” Robert tells The Globe and Mail. “If you have a team leading the transaction that has a strong rapport with the leadership of the target being acquired, that is extremely important to how the negotiation plays out and how it works afterward.”

Robert also stresses the importance of all parties in a merger approaching the acquisition as equals, and keeping their emotions in check while evaluating the deal. He also believes  it’s important for those involved to retain and strengthen the most favourable aspects of each organization’s cultures to capitalize on synergies that may already exist, so headaches can be avoided.

“I’ve seen deals go very badly, not because the business itself wasn’t a good one, but because the people coming over with it couldn’t adapt to what’s being asked of them,” Robert tells The Globe and Mail. “Then, if you lose people with the institutional knowledge of what you’re acquiring, that can be a problem.”

Robert also believes the best leaders are the ones who understand how to support employees through transitional periods.

For more information, read Chris Atchison’s full article “The new executive: How managing mergers is like dating” in The Globe and Mail.