Company acquisitions pose many risks. Michael Tait, Independent-Chairman, discusses the mains risks with company acquisitions in his experience.

I have heard it said that 5 out of 6 acquisitions fail to meet what was hoped for. This suggests that either the strategic fit wansn’t well thought out or the integration of the aquired company was not well executed. Many a merger or aquisition was born out of meglamania and integrating two companies is a real test of leadership. Let’s examine the key aspects:

Integration Challenges: Merging two companies involves integrating their cultures, processes, and systems. Failure to do so effectively leads to internal conflicts, morale problems, and disruptions in operations.

Cultural Differences: Differences in organisational culture between the acquiring and acquired companies can pose challenges. If not managed extremely well, these differences can lead to employee dissatisfaction, decreased productivity, and even talent attrition.

company acquisitions

Financial Risks: Acquiring a company often involves a significant financial investment. If the acquiring company overestimates the target’s value or underestimates the costs of integration, it can result in financial losses.

Regulatory and Legal Issues: Acquiring regulatory approvals is often necessary for acquisitions, and not obtaining them can present a significant risk post event. Additionally, legal issues such as contractual disputes, compliance issues, or unforeseen liabilities can arise.

Customer and Employee Retention: The acquisition may lead to uncertainty among customers and employees, potentially resulting in customer loss or key talent leaving the organisation. Retaining key personnel and customer relationships is crucial for the success of the acquisition.

Strategic Misalignment: Misalignment in strategic goals between the acquiring and acquired companies can result in conflicts and challenges when trying to achieve synergies. This can result in the failure to realise anticipated benefits from the acquisition.

Market and Technology Changes: Rapid changes in the market or technology landscape can affect the relevance and competitiveness of the acquired business. Failure to adapt to these changes can impact the success of the acquisition.

Overpayment for the Target: Paying too much for the acquired company can result in a poor return on investment. Conducting thorough due diligence and accurately valuing the target is essential to avoid overpaying.

Communication Issues: Inadequate communication, both internally and externally, can lead to misunderstandings and resistance. Clear communication is vital to managing expectations and building trust among stakeholders.

Reputation Risk: Negative publicity or a damaged reputation can arise from mishandling the acquisition process, leading to a loss of customer and investor confidence.

Successful company acquisitions require careful planning, due diligence, and effective execution to mitigate these risks. Engaging experienced professionals, including legal and financial advisors, will contribute to a smoother acquisition process and help manage potential challenges.


Harvard – 4 risks of acuisitions