Mergers & Acquisitions: Corporate IT Challenges for Investment Firms

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The global business landscape has significantly increased the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume. From 2011 to 2016, the worldwide total of M&As increased by a staggering 1.3 trillion USD, reaching an all-time high of 6.1 trillion in 2015; this year, often called the 'golden year' for mergers and acquisitions, showcased such transactions' immense potential and challenges.

Investors, whether they represent a traditional bank, a hedge fund, a venture capital firm, or part of the expansive private equity community, are familiar with the unique challenges of M&As. Each transaction, regardless of its scale, brings a set of complexities that need to be addressed.

The Role of Technology in M&As

Investors increasingly turn to technology to streamline the M&A process in today's digital age. They seek solutions to make these transactions as efficient and successful as possible. This is where the expertise of an information technology department or a specialized third-party technology provider becomes invaluable. These entities play a pivotal role in guiding the M&A process, from the initial selection, due diligence, to ensuring integration and maximizing profitability.

A study conducted by Ernst and Young highlighted the importance of IT in M&As. The study revealed that 47% of respondents believed that if IT had been involved during the due diligence phase, it could have prevented value erosion during the transaction. Moreover, 26% pointed out that IT-related issues often hinder post-transaction objectives. Thus, getting IT can mitigate potential risks and ensure a smoother transition.

Investor Concerns and the Importance of Strategic Planning

When embarking on an M&A journey, investors often grapple with concerns about unclear strategic or financial rationale and potential regulatory or antitrust risks. These concerns were highlighted in a comprehensive study by FTI Consulting. As the M&A progresses, the focus of investor concerns shifts towards integrating assets and company cultures and ensuring a seamless cost and revenue synergy between the merging entities.

Having a technology advisor, either from within the company or an external expert, can be a game-changer. Such advisors can collaborate with the integration task force to facilitate transparent communication with all stakeholders. They can also guide teams towards the best tools for reporting, metrics, and tracking, ensuring that the M&A transaction is deemed 'successful' by all parties involved.

Defining Success in M&As

The term' success' in the context of M&As can be subjective. A survey by Deloitte emphasized that integration planning is paramount for a successful merger or acquisition. For employees, success might mean job retention, smooth integration of company cultures, and minimal disruption to their daily tasks. In contrast, the legal department might prioritize overcoming regulatory or antitrust challenges.

Investors are challenged to consider all these facets while ensuring swift integration and charting the most efficient path to profitability for the newly merged entity. Transparent communication, as highlighted by the FTI survey, is crucial. 95% of investors agreed on its importance, emphasizing clear communication with employees, customers, and regulators.

The Digital Advantage in M&As

In the digital era, IT support services are indispensable. Tools like team messaging applications like Slack can revolutionize company communications by reducing email clutter, enhancing connectivity among remote teams, and boosting overall productivity.

Cloud applications further enhance the M&A process. With data and documents stored in the cloud, remote team members can access updates in real-time, making communications more efficient and transparent.

Seeking Expertise from Third-Party Providers

Before diving into an M&A, the IT department must evaluate both parties' current IT infrastructure management. They must decide whether to integrate or outsource, ensuring a smooth transition for all involved. A detailed analysis should consider the practicality and financial implications of maintaining infrastructure internally or if outsourcing to a third-party expert is more viable.


Takeaways from the Article:

IT Challenges in Mergers and Acquisitions:

Mergers and acquisitions bring IT challenges due to the integration of diverse systems, processes, and cultures.

Complexities of Integration:

Merging IT infrastructures is complex and requires careful planning to ensure seamless operations and data continuity.

Data Migration and Security:

Data migration during mergers can lead to data loss or security breaches if not managed effectively.

Cultural Alignment and Communication:

Aligning different organizational cultures and ensuring effective communication are essential for successful IT integration.

Role of IT Experts:

Involving IT experts in the planning and execution stages can mitigate risks and ensure a smoother integration process.

Main Point Reminder:

Mergers and acquisitions introduce intricate IT challenges that require strategic planning, expert involvement, and a focus on data security and cultural alignment to achieve successful integration.


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