Merger or acquisition in the works? Here’s a comms guide

Communicators must adapt their messaging to an array of audiences, including investors and employees at both companies. Early involvement in the often-chaotic process is essential.

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Mergers and acquisitions are high-stakes stuff.

For the buyer, its competitive position, the ultimate success of its strategy and the trajectory of its stock price are on the table.

For the seller, there are often worries about what will happen to company culture, brand and job security.

At the same time, with teams of lawyers, bankers and other advisors involved, a deal can feel like the proverbial kitchen with too many cooks. For communicators, the challenge is acute, as each faction has an opinion about how the story, rationale and messaging of the transaction should be conveyed to various stakeholders: employees, investors and journalists.

Each aforementioned cook is coming from the right place, and they probably recognize that both early and ongoing communications are essential to a deal’s ultimate success or failure. After all, if the transaction isn’t embraced by employees on both sides, or if investors feel the story isn’t clear enough to support it, even the best deal can falter.

From my M&A experience in the North American financial services industry, there are several effective ways to ensure communications stay front and center in a deal scenario.

Make an early entrance

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