Healthcare merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is expected to increase in 2011, which means that many executives will find themselves managing a merger or acquisition as part of their competitive strategy. Mergers and acquisitions are pursued to provide benefits such as increased financial strength, expanded market presence, improved efficiencies and new capabilities.
Yet the majority of M&A transactions fail to produce the desired financial and strategic results. What’s missing? Despite the millions of dollars that are spent on a typical deal, most M&A transactions occur with minimal strategic communications planning to make the deal a success. In fact, M&A communications are often an afterthought and executed hurriedly just before the transaction closes.
Over the last several years, many deals have performed poorly in large part because the acquirers did not effectively tell their story or successfully integrate their organizations once the deal closed.
One key to success is how companies and healthcare organizations communicate about the transaction both internally and externally. The M&A team must actively engage key stakeholders such as employees, customers/patients, board members, shareholders, the community and others with relevant messaging that addresses each audience.
M&A communications involve communicating simultaneously with several audiences who each have their own interests, concerns and information needs. Due to the complexity of mergers and acquisitions, they require a Strategic M&A Communications Plan with a well-defined message strategy for each stakeholder group and carefully choreographed information delivery timelines.
The M&A lifecycle includes four phases of communications: