Introduction This article examines the extent to which organisations address issues of corporate identity and corporate communications

during the various stages of mergers and acquisitions and the effect this has on the result/outcome of these "business marriages". The broad hypothesis underpinning this article is: "Management time and attention to best practice in corporate identity and corporate communications increases the chance of a successful merger/acquisition". Recent research undertaken by Mercer Management Consulting (1997) indicates than an alarming 48 per cent of mergers underperform their industry after three years and that failure to unlock value is often due to poor implementation of mergers . The research therefore had a sub-objective of establishing the main reasons why mergers fail, and to what extent this could be attributed to a lack of attention accorded to corporate identity and corporate communications. Among the authors' major findings are that a long-term approach to mergers may lay sounder foundations for the postmerger company than the more frenzied short-term approach familiar to the UK, and that congruent corporate communication is an essential element of effective corporate identity management. The authors conclude that a commitment to effective management of corporate identity and communication should be treated as a key element in the successful implementation of mergers and acquisitions, particularly given the amount of confusion, uncertainty, and media attention that tends to surround such events. A similar finding was found by Professor Sirower of New York's Stern Business School (Morgenson, 1998) who, in a largescale study found that roughly two-thirds of mergers left shareholders relatively worse off. Other studies and reports also paint a negative picture of the resultant effects of mergers (Bleeke and Ernst, 1993; Kitching, 1987; Porter, 1987). Merger mania: an overview The phenomenal growth of mergers and acquisitions over the last year is a characteristic of the current business environment and appears to have impinged on every industry and country: even within mainland China there are examples of merger activity. Few sectors are immune to the wave of consolidation sweeping the global economy, impinging on both the private and public sectors. This trend is particularly acute in sectors such as petroleum, pharmaceuticals and financial services. The trend is also global, for example: in the UK Lloyds and TSB, Commercial Union/GA, British Petroleum and Amoco; in mainland Europe UBS/SBC (Switzerland, Pharmacia (Sweden) and Upjohn (USA); in North America Citicorp with Travellers Group (USA), Bank America and Nations Bank. The main drivers of such activity are industry consolidation, economies of scale, cost saving, synergies in distribution, synergies in marketing, economic factors and so on. The following serves as a brief overview of the key drivers of merger and acquisition activity in five major sectors: financial services, airline industry, aerospace and defence, pharmaceutical, and food and drink. Key drivers in M&A activity The international financial services industry is reshaping into one where it appears there will soon remain a handful of extremely large companies, supplemented by a number of niche players, but with little scope for the existence of mediumsized firms. The merger of Swiss Bank Corporation and Union Bank of Switzerland at the end of 1997 was the biggest merger in a sector transformed by a recent wave of mergers and acquisitions. The airline industry is a highly competitive industry with low margins and huge capital costs, and subject to vagaries in the global economy such as the Asian crisis, or to political events such as the Gulf War. This sector is characterised by the creation of alliances rather than formal mergers, due to the attention of legislators anxious to prevent the emergence of monopolistic global firms. In the aerospace and defence industry, the end of the Cold War and the resultant reduction in defence spending has led to a polarisation in the fortunes of the two sectors since the end of the Cold War. NATO members' defence budgets have fallen considerably since the end of the Cold War while manufacture of passenger aircraft is booming. Merger activity in the defence sector especially is constrained by governments' reluctance for political reasons to collaborate with foreign-owned companies, although Lockheed Martin is an example of a recent merger driven by consolidation due to increased development costs. The recently mooted merger between British Aerospac e with GEC reflects British and European attempts to compete effectively against their North American competitors. The trend among pharmaceuticals companies over the past three years to merge appears to be a means by which they can offset the huge costs involved in developing new drugs, a period which has seen the mergers of Glaxo with Wellcome, Pharmacia with Upjohn, and Sandoz with Ciba to form Novartis. More merger activity in this sector is anticipated.

service performance and staff behavior. the authors suggest that both companies. and post-merger phases. 1997) views corporate identity as referring to those attributes which make an organisation distinct or. Many firms choose to address this issue through the creation of a powerful new visual identity. in effect. The distinct literature on corporate communications is more developed than that relating to the related paradigm of corporat e identity and typically is concerned with integrated marketing. In addition to co-ordinated "controlled" communication it has also been advocated that attention should be given to the communication effects of product performance. a strategic management . The Pounds 32 billion merger in 1997 of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan to form the controversially named Diageo should act as the catalyst for further consolidation within the alcoholic drinks sector. because is transcends disciplinary boundaries is." The interface between corporate identity and strategy therefore assumes critical importance during the merger process. 1998). corporate image and reputation. be seen as providing a mirror and a window. Corporate identity. p. As such. p. therefore. organisational and management communications (Van Riel. Balmer (1995) noted th at changes in visual identity can symbolise a change in corporate strategy or strategic communications and as such can be powerful. The communication which is taking place even if unplanned or unconscious. 1995. Typically.Where have we come from? . Corporate identity and corporate communication consultancy may. refers to "what an organisation is". in effect. and this new corporate identity must be nurtured in order to allow its various stakeholders to identify with the new organisation. 1995. corporate strategy and organisational structure and organisational design. they are. an investor relations manager. Van Riel and Balmer. Beecham. brings to the fore merger issues which. Balmer." Methodology Primary research comprised a series of in-depth individual interviews with senior executives and consultants involved in the merger and acquisition process including a chief executive officer. 29). as such. 1989. particularly efficacious in addressing the nonfinancial aspects of the pre-. explained differently. 1998. Corporate identity/corporate communications explained The nascent field of strategic corporate identity studies (Abratt.What are we now? . is creating impressions and images are being f ormed (Bernstein. reflecting and revealing the organisation's culture and personality. 118). It was no longer appropriate to view the organisation as British or American since the organisation was." When two companies enter into the merger process.Cost savings. 1998. 1986. corporate identity is seen to be multi-disciplinary in perspective which embraces a number of management disciplines including corporate communications. merged with SmithKline Beckham of the USA one of the major concerns for the senior management was how to reconcile the two corporate cultures. when considering a merger. Balmer (1995) provides an example of such a process. and synergies in marketing and distribution. Gray and Balmer. taken from the pharmaceutical industry:"When Britain's second largest pharmaceutical group.What do we want to be? Corporate identity. The benefits of a robust corporate identity is of pivotal importance to the newlymerged company:"A powerful corporate identity enhances the likelihood of identification or bonding with the organisation. appear to be the key drivers of M&A activity in the food and drink sector. creating a new corporate identity. therefore.Why are we here? . should address the following questions of themselves and of their partner company: . To assist them to make this change the organisation appointed corporate brand consultants Landor with the task of ascertaining the core values of the new organisation and reflecting these in a new visual identity. during.Where are we going? . This applies both to internal and external target groups (Van Riel. though complex. a global brand. As a leading corporate communications expert has observed:"A company needs to take a holistic view of communications because it is communicating all the time (even if it doesn't want to realise it) to all of its publics. This has given rise to the related concept of total corporate communications (Balmer. 1995). must be addressed.

with inadequate attention given to post-merger concerns." A number of key authors and practitioners have emphasised the importance of corporate communications. Ensuring the long-term success of the newly merged company is given insufficient attention. The data were analysed drawing on the principles of content analysis. especially at the outset." . shortterm approach to mergers. to the detriment of long-term corporate identity and corporate communications issues The army of advisers which is routinely assembled by companies which have entered into the merger and acquisition process overwhelmingly comprises legal and financial consultants. a corporate publicity manager and a human resources consultant. First finding Undue attention is given to short-term financial and legal issues. when conflict has broken out. president of Burson-Marsteller Europe (1990) notes:"More than finance or natural resources. and in-depth individual interviews with a range of senior executives reveals that mergers and acquisitions which fail are attributable to the following nine factors: (1) Undue attention is given to short-term financial and legal issues to the detriment of long-term corporate identity and corporate communication issues. case histories. These include corporate identity and corporate communication issues.. an internal communications manager. (2) There is inadequate recognition of the impact of leadership issues on corporate identity and corporate communications during the merger and acquisition process. The topic guide used for the interviews focused on the emphasis given to corporate identity (CI) and communication (CC) during different stages of mergers. All have considerable experience of recent mergers in the UK. (Wendy Hall. (3) Unsuccessful mergers are often characterised by failure to secure the goodwill of a wide range of stakeholder groups common to both companies. (5) Integrated corporate identity and total corporate communications structures are rarely in place early on in the merger an d acquisition process. as evinced by the following quotations:"If any concern is given to identity issues. (6) Dominant players give little attention to cultural issues. whose primary interest is to secure the deal. it's usually too late. Each of the nine issues will be discussed in the following section. (8) Corporate identity and corporate communications consultants are brought in too late.. This approach fosters a narrow. This was the case with this research which. communications are the key enabler of business strategy today. (4) Unresolved naming issues can reflect unresolved corporate identity and corporate communications issues. Strategic Consultant). (9) Reputations can be damaged. resulted in the broad hypothesis: "Management time and attention to both practice in corporate identity and corporate communications increases the chance of a successful merger/acquisition". Larry Snoddon. This method is useful when a broadly deductive approach is followed and where hypotheses are being tested (Easterby-Smith et al. 1991). maintained or enhanced during the merger process. Findings Why mergers fail The authors' analysis of secondary data.consultant. based on the authors' analysis of the literature. (7) Recognition is not given to the potential conflict between individual and corporate objectives..

and so on. We had to be absolutely certain that what we said could be defended later (Ralph Pitman. While the merger offered synergies in marketing and distribution and enhanced its competitive advantage. and the placing of narrow managerial objectives over corporate objectives constitute important corporate identity/corporate communication issues which can all contribute to a quagmire in which the merger process slowly sinks. we had the Building Society Commission watching us. We had teams of lawyers an d advisers. Also within the financial sector. of which regulatory authorities are among the most important." Third finding Unsuccessful mergers are often characterised by failure to secure the goodwill of a wide range of stakeholder groups common to both companies Although a huge corporate communication effort is made towards company investors. However. Dewars. Ralph Pitman of the Halifax (financial services institution) described the problems regulators can pose:"One of the big difficulties was the fact that any merger is subject to all kinds of regulatory things. where John Reed of Citicorp and Sany Weill of Travelers Group will be co-chairmen and co-chief executives. the company felt that there was no option but to sell the global rights to these brands to one of its major competitors. it was greeted with ridicule and disbelief by the shareholders of both Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. including the number-one selling Scotch Whisky in the USA. Switzerland and Japan. For mergers on a global scale. and J&B. Such was the strength of opposition to the merger than the regulators appeared to co-ordinate their efforts to block it. An illustrative case here is the British-based foods and drinks giant Diageo. Johnnie Walker. Australia.Second finding There is inadequate recognition of the impact of leadership issues on corporate identity and corporate communication during the merger and acquisition process Questions of leadership are frequently a cause of friction between merging companies. its dominance of the spirits market raised concerns with US regulatory authorities. where shareholder loyalty to the Guinness name was so powerful that Diageo's directors had to acquiesce to demands to preserve the Guinness name for the new company's brewing subsidiary. With the former. the level of corporate communication directed at other key stakeholder groups is often inadequate. Partisan allegiance to the premerger companies. This was supported by statements made by interviewees during the research:"The leadership issue is more complex than appears in the papers. Although the regulatory ruling was US-specific. fudging the leadership question. The lingering afterglow of a pre-merger company identity was felt particularly strongly in the Diegeo case. a great deal of negative media comment and coverage was generated when the name of the new company was announced. Bombay Sapphire. Less successful. When the name Diageo was announced. On the other hand. there is the added challenge of meeting the demand of an array of potentially unsympathetic regulatory bodies. as has been seen in the case of the proposed Siticorp and Travelers Group merger. it's the managem ent structures behind them (Investor Relations manager of a major pharmaceuticals company). The balance of the management structure is really complex. . A vivid illustration of these pitfalls is provided by two recent cases . the accommodation of executive egos. As a consequence. Strategic Consultant). and that was a difficulty for us. the proposed merger foundered on the thorny issue of agreeing a clearly established division of roles at the very highest level of the company. who insisted as a pre-condition of the deal that in the US market it divested some of its famous spirits brands. the case of the planned merger between accountants and management consultants KPMG and Ernst & Young was met with swelter of regulatory resistance in the USA." Fourth finding Unresolved naming issues can reflect unresolved corporate identity and corporate communications issues The Pounds 23 billion merger between Guinness and Grand Metropolitan to create Diageo was driven primarily by the desire to reap cost savings. It would appear that many firms underestimate the time. The Halifax). effort and resources that must be devoted to key external audiences. along with a major gin brand. formed by the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. such as Gordon's Gin.""It's not the two leading personalities that count. merely postpones the need to acknowledge the fact that ultimate responsibility has to reside with one individual within the organisation.Glaxo Wellcome/SmithKline Beecham and Citicorp/Travelers Group. The merger between Guinness and Grand Metropolitan serves to illustrate the danger of imposing a new visual identification system on an organisation without preliminary consultation of the new entity's stakeholders. Internal Communications. Canada. a review of brand strategy by Diageo led the company to the conclusion that dual ownership of these two brands was undesirable. but also to benefit from synergies in marketing the newly formed company's portfolio of leading global brands. Bacardi-Martini. It's not just a clash of egos that is critical (Wendy Hall. EU.

especially at the outset Conflicting corporate and national cultures can also lead to facullines developing in newly merged companies. The first case concerned the acquisition of Barings Bank by Dutch-owned ING. 1997). says one participant. . It was sent to all members of staff. the situation is too uncertain (Executive director of a major IR company)." However. However." Fifth finding Integrated corporate identity and total corporate communication structures are rarely in place early on in the M&A process There is an important caveat given the amount of uncertainty that prevails during the M&A process. and to maintain that no matter what. at least tell the staff what you are working on. and then the name came up".""I think that the best advice to companies entering into the M&A process is to commit to communicating regularly and jointly." The degree of emotional attachment felt by various stakeholders to a company's name should therefore not be underestimated. The Halifax). The recent proposed merger between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler illustrates the sensitivity that needs to be shown in this area. not to mention a serious management error. other are research-led. as reported in The Financial Times:""Everything was going fine. in order to ensure consistency in the messages that are sent from both organisations to their respective stakeholder groups. The lack of attention to cultural issues can ultimately cause the demise of the merger. The Germans were adamant the title should reflect Daimler-Benz's history. there needs to be some effort at integration of the corporate communications functions immediately following the decision of a merger. underlining the value of the brand equity that will be lost if the parent company insists on asserting its own name in inappropriate situations:"The moment you try at the highest management level to change such good. The emotional issue of the eventual name would almost scupper the deal at the 11th hour (Simonian. The Halifax). of both organisations. Some are marketing-led. And at the same time we maintained each organisation's ordinary communications media (Ralph Pitman." In discussions with the researchers. Barings. and the fact that their company was the bigger part of the merger. Cultural issues are a core concern to an organisation's corporate identity (Balmer and Wilson. through the forced introduction of the previously unknown practice of cross-selling. As reported by Connon (1998)." Sixth finding Dominant players give little attention to cultural issues. others take a more hands-off approach. after they had been through the merger process. such moves were "anathema" to Barings' corporate finance team:"The team were accustomed to the British tradition of investment banking based on long term relationships rather than transactions. Two cases illustrate this point. Hatch and Schultz. . since it is clearly not possible to integrate fully the two merging companies' corporate identities and corporate communications functions right from the outset. Some have a history of stability. as was pointed out during one interview:"You can't really merge the IR/communications departments before the deal is done. the recent insistence by ING that Barings should mirror the parent bank's way of operating. long considered to be a bastion of the finest traditions of English merchant banking. you make a huge mistake. You destroy capital and it is also a sign of arrogance which the market will not accept.8/10: importance given by senior executives to culture as an issue post-merger. This was done in the case of the merger between The Halifax and The Leeds as the following quotations from the research reveal:"I was asked to produce a weekly newsletter to report on the progress of the merger from the point at which it was announced. others of turbulent change. strategic consultant Wendy Hall indicates the extent to which the significance of cultur al issues is underrated by executives during the M&A process: . Attempting to meld together such companies may represent an unsurmountab le challenge. Even if you have nothing to say. has resulted in defections and widespread dissatisfaction among Barings' staff vide supra Van der Lugt. We decided right from the start that we would commit to regular communication about the merger. 1998.1/10: importance given by senior executives to cultural issues pre-merger. 1998). Whereas some companies are highly centralised. Nobody knows if they are going to have a job when it's over. the clients will distance themselves from their old accustomed brand name. Selling derivatives and bond service was never part of the deal. was acquired by ING in a successful attempt to raise the latter's profile. As a result.Van der Lugt. the CEO of Dutch bank ING (1998). local brand names because you think the name of the parent is better. highlights the dangers of imposing a monolithic visual branding structure on diverse acquired companies. I think that's important (Ralph Pitman.

strategic consultant. the problem can be alleviated through sensitive." Eighth finding Corporate identity and corporate communication consultants are brought in too late Wendy Hall. There was an understanding on his part of the organisation he was mer ging with." This crucial aspect of merger and acquisition practice is further emphasised in the following unattributed quotation appearin g in the management brochure @hand (1998):"It's not enough to invest up front in due diligence and assessment. Research to identify the core values of the merging companies is important. 1998). This may impact on their fortunes when seeking potential merger partners in the future. And it was qualities like that that they were more concerned about losing (Ralph Pitman. as the interview with Ralph Pitman showed:"It is hard for people to focus on the corporate objectives if they're worried about their own position. and consistent communication. i.. to recognize both potential synergies and area in which the corporate cultures may clash (The Wirthlin Report.e. such issues were addressed during the merger and may have contributed to its eventual success:"There wasn't protest about The Leeds losing its name. It's too sensitive. but there was a kind of sadness among Leeds staff." Seventh finding Recognition is not given to the potential conflict between individual and corporate objectives In some ways this may be considered an intractable problem how can staff be expected to focus on the long-term objectives of the company if they are unsure of whether they will even have a job within that company? However. And I think that probably. many employees are suddenly faced with an unfamiliar corporate culture. and perceived The Halifax to be very efficient and very big but less friendly. we tried to be honest.. "and by the way. maintained or enhanced during the merger process The aborted merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham was a bruising encounter from which neither company emerged covered in glory...""The stereotype of the CEO can put merger partners off (Wendy Hall." Key to successful implementation is an awareness of the importance of corporate culture. The Leeds was very proud of its friendliness. The real challenge is post-merger integration. because you can't move straight from announcing a merger into saying. regular.During the merger between The Halifax and The Leeds. Each company recognised the way their behavioural styles has something worth keeping. The reputation of the chief executive can also play a decisive role in affecting the outcome of the merger. I think that's an intractable problem but we tried to deal with it. you're going to do this and your pay is going to be that and your office is going to be situated here. as reported in The Wirthlin Report:"When two companies come together. then that can allay fears of scepticism ab out the merger. I think people were more concerned about losing not the public face of our identity. that' s one of those problems that's impossible to solve. and the senior executives of both companies appreciated the importance of corporate culture. having first gained awareness of the other's style. as the following quotations illustrate:"The chief executive of The Halifax at that time. For example. very few people know about the deal they could be brought in when the deal is announced (Executive director of a major IR Society). The Halifax). as one interview revealed:"There's not really any possibility for identity consultants to become involved at an earlier stage. Such is the sensitivity of pre-merger negotiations that this can mitigate against identity consultants being brought in before the merger is announced. the deeper identity issues. Strategic Consultant). The Halifax). the name and the logo. So. But there was also an element of trust on the part of The Leeds' workforce that he was a man that they know something about (Ralph Pitman." Finding the antidote for merger madness . there is a feeling of unease and that will manifest itself all the time. so that helped. I think they were more concerned about losing the culture and the inherent. has previously been chief executive of The Leeds. cited the example of a recent large oil company merger in Europe in which she was brought in near the beginning. Corporate identity issues were addressed. we hope to be able to sort this out by such and such a date and we're keeping you informed" (Ralph Pitman. The Halifax). Mike Blackburn. If the chief executive is known and respected by both companies' workforces." Ninth finding Reputations can be damaged. we said." But until you've got that sorted out. "well.

Successful mergers and acquisitions rely on the approval of several stakeholder groups. achieve strategic alliances. The authors describe this as the merger mix.stakeholders. once the merger process has been initiated. . the authors have conceptualised the mix of elements that are central to the merger management process. . The interplay of corporate identity. 1995).In M&A situations. with the two organisations' stakeholder groups provides the elements necessary for the successful implementation of a merger. Managers ignore the complexities of the merger process at their peril. while investors need to see the advantages of a merger. as might current partner companies who may withdraw co-operation due to a perceived threat. and present this in the merger mix. This can be manifested in an ability to attract and retain customers and employees. . gain the support of financial markets and generate a sense of direction and purpose. The remainder of the article drawing on the results from the authors' interviews will address the following quest ion: "What are the key elements that are crucial for a successful merger?" The key drivers for a successful merger: the merger-mix The merger management process is inherently complicated and problematic since it entails melting down two companies with their attendant loyalties. and finance." The authors postulate that a quartet of elements should be deployed in managing the merger management process namely: .corporate identity. The merger and acquisition literature emphasises the importance of "due diligence" with regard to the financial aspects of mergers. through building understanding of an commitment to the organisation's defining ethos and character as evinced in the following extract from the International Corporate Identity Group (ICIG):"By effectively managing its corporate identity an organisation can build understanding and commitment among its diverse stakeholders. Rather than focusing on the already well-documented financial aspects of the merger management process. A focus on both organisations' stakeholders is central to and underpins the merger mix for the following reasons: . would appear not to be used as a test for other important management functions and concerns. and creating a new company whose future is at best uncertain.Simultaneous membership of multiple groups in both companies may occur. since the newly merged company will rely on the support of all parties involved. Merger mix: the identification of key stakeholder groups Central to the merger mix is the notion that addressing the demands of the multiple stakeholder groups of both companies is a prerequisite for a successful merger outcome. the authors advocate that a focus should be on the two organisations' stakeholders. This appears to be a major oversight in the literature on the area to date. Thus.The authors' research confirmed the importance of corporate identity/corporate communications issues in mergers and acquisitions. Each will be discussed in the following section. as shown in Figure 1. . Corporate identity is a strategic issue (The Strathclyde Statement. The authors advocate that a focus on the two organisations' stakeholders provides a means by which managers can identify those groups necessary to the launch of a new organisation. and . for example.in the newly merged company. As a means of meeting these concerns and as a point of departure. . corporate communication.if any . however. each organisation has an obligation to stakeholder groups in both companies. from the primary data. the stakeholders of both companies must be taken into consideration. the financial aspects of the process. an employee of one company may have shares in the other. so do regulatory authorities. It is the task of management to respond to the multiple concerns of the internal and external stakeholders of both companies during all stages of the merger process. For other staff this will be a period of uncertainty and anxiety about their future role . rather than focusing only on.corporate communications. There is a prima facie case that corporate identity and corporate communicat ions have a major role to play in the merger management process and can complement the attention given to. the authors have concluded that the key drivers for a successful merger should be identified.finance. It is worth reiterating that the primary objective of corporate identity management is to achieve stakeholder loyalty.

managers need to address the other three elements of the merger mix by making cross-reference to the stakeholder groups. an analysis of stakeholder groups may be formed to comprise a six-stage process: (1) Who are our internal and external stakeholder groups? (2) Which groups are crucial to the merger's long-term success? (3) Which groups will benefit from the merger's success? (4) Which groups feel threatened or anxious about the merger? (5) Repeat the above process for the other company. Merger mix: corporate identity Corporate identity subsumes a number of concerns relating to culture.Consideration must be given to the channels available in communicating to stakeholders of both companies in the M&A process. (6) Compare the results from both companies and break down problem categories into those that may be contained. and of the envisaged "new" company emerging from the merger. Having undertaken this six-stage process. Single company shareholders are not the only stakeholder group which need to be persuaded of the benefits of the merger.companies have other important internal and external stakeholders. The authors advocate that stakeholder reactions to the merger need to tracked over the entire merger process in order to ascertain whether attitudes have shifted due to changing circumstances. resolved.there is a burgeoning in informal and uncontrolled communication between groups which may see the proposed merger in an unfavourable or threatening light. the authors suggest that the following questions should be addressed of: both partner companies and of their prospective partners. Thus.. and . the stakeholder groups for both companies double in size as a result of the process. . and structure and.once the merger process has been initiated. as such. The following eight questions serve to show how this part of the mix may begin to be operationalised: (1) What are the strengths and weaknesses in our business and markets? (2) What are the strengths and weaknesses of our dominant cultural forces within the organisation? (3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of our leadership style? (4) What are the distinctive strengths and weaknesses about our history? (5) What are the strengths and weaknesses of our company structure/organisational design? . influenced. .Stakeholder groups within both companies must be ranked and evaluated according to the degree of communication effort that is required to overcome potential indifference or hostility to the merger. By varying the intensity of the communication effort made towards specific stakeholder groups at specific periods of the M&A process. taking into account the most effective channels required for each stakeholder group. It needs to be borne in mind that: . strategy. the merging companies' communications managers can contribute substantially to the eventual outcome of the project.

The authors are of the view that the importance of financial concerns vis-a-vis a successful merger outcome needs no further elaboration. What the authors wish to emphasise is that while financial concerns are important they should not eclipse the important corporate identity.identifying the emergence of potentially damaging issues. corporate communications and stakeholder issues which often determine the ultimate success or failure of a merger.monitoring perceptions pre-. . .(2) Identifies those controlled and uncontrollable channels essential to the merger's success across both companies. and . (7) Identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses to be nurtured. and post-merger. . across both companies. leaner structures.the efficacy of the communication strategy. maintained and eliminated.revealing conflicting messages emanating from the two companies. as outlined in the five reasons below: . (8) How are the above to be managed in both companies? Merger mix: corporate communications The benefits of effective corporate communication are many and varied.(6) Repeat the process for the other company.(4) Setting up communication structures for the new company as a means of avoiding dissonance between the communications specialists of both companies during the merger process and after the legal formation of the new company. etc. are used as criteria. Merger mix: finance A good deal has already been written on this other crucial aspect of the mix.(1) Identifies multiple stakeholder groups essential to the merger's success. . . pooling of resources. .(3) Identifying weaknesses in communication strategy which might lead to a void that will be filled by potentially damaging rumour and conjecture.(5) Undertaking research to monitor: . . during. Normally economies of scale.

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