An acquisition integration checklist can vary widely, depending
on whether your acquisition will remain as a "standalone"
or be "rolled in", or some combination of both. It will
also vary depending on whether your company and the acquired
company are manufacturers, distributors, service providers or a
combination of two or more. Being a public or private company will
also affect your checklist.
You should begin creating your acquisition integration
checklist during due diligence. Your due diligence team should
begin listing issues as they surface.
At the appropriate time, create a cross-functional integration
team from your company and a corresponding team from the acquired
company. The timing here can vary widely – especially
with the seller team – but the sooner the better with the
buyer team. We have done acquisitions where all the integration
work was done prior to closing and others where integration
didn't begin in earnest until after the closing.
Regardless of when teams are formed, each team will require a
leader and each team member will need to list, prioritise, make
recommendations and set timelines for each integration issue
affecting both buyer and seller in their area of responsibility as
well as others.
Create a secure intranet site "data room" where
appropriate plans, documents, etc. can reside and be updated for
all to view. Meet regularly via conference calls, "go-to"
meetings and in person when required.
We suggest using some type of project management software or
Excel to track issues, their prioritisation, timelines, critical
paths, who's responsible, etc.
A recent client was a manufacturer (printing and graphics), a
distributor (product bought or manufactured for resale) and a
service provider (graphic design, file product consulting, etc.).
We broke the integration team down by:
Finance: accounting, accounts receivable, accounts payable,
Operations: facilities, purchasing and manufacturing
Sales and marketing: customers
Employees: benefits and human capital
IT (which crosses over most other functions).
While issues will vary depending upon answers to the questions
in the very first paragraph, the following common threads transcend
those diverse situations.
Communications (you should control all of
Employees of both companies
Shareholders and regulatory bodies, if buyer or seller is a
Relocation packages, if any
Severance packages, if required.
Alignment, or not, of benefits and salaries
Depending on the purchase agreement and seller's plans,
there may be the need to relocate management from your company to
seller's location, temporarily or permanently.
Training requirements regarding processes, products and
services, both at your location(s) and at the seller's
Integration of telecoms
Equipment movement, if any
Consolidation, or not, of purchasing, accounts receivable,
accounts payable, systems, customer service, sales and marketing,
etc. (back office functions and customer facing functions).
Sales and marketing
Customer integration and communications
Website integration, or not
Co-branding of buyer and seller.
Financial reporting integration with focus on controls if
operated as a standalone
Consolidation of banking functions
Consolidation of accounts receivable, accounts payable, cost
and other finance functions, or not.
System integration, or not, to include the following
Web platform and sites
Order entry through invoicing
Secondary platforms such as data collection PC network,
back-ups, cost, radio frequency systems and all other possible
Your acquisition integration checklist may seem daunting at
first. However, much like eating an elephant, one bite at a time
Setting priorities and timelines, and assigning accountability,
is also critical to success.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
Specific Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.
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