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Mergers and Acquisitions: 10 Things HR Won't Tell You

FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Don't count on your Human Resources employees to share these inside tips on mergers and acquisitions with you.  Many of them are in the same position you are:  at risk and in the dark.

Don't count on your Human Resources employees to share these inside tips on mergers and acquisitions with you. Many of them are in the same position you are: at risk and in the dark.

How Do Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) Affect Employees?

Word on the street is this: Your employer is looking to merge with another company. Or perhaps there are rumors that your company will undergo an acquisition.

When M&As occur, there's a lot of hype. It's often difficult for employees to get no-nonsense answers amidst all the sunshine-and-magic-ponies promises of how the new organization will deliver

  • increased profits with
  • greater productivity and
  • fewer expenses.

10 Things to Know About M&As

While mergers and acquisitions may be good for investors, what do they mean for YOU? Here is what your Human Resources department isn't sharing—either because they don't know yet or won't say. Although every M&A situation is different, employees can anticipate at least some of the following 10 things.

  1. People Factors Are Often an M&A Afterthought
  2. Layoffs Are Inevitable
  3. Expect Role Shifting and Confusion
  4. There Will Be Internal Power Struggles
  5. Workload and Stress Levels Will Increase for Survivors
  6. Organizational Cultures May Clash
  7. Key Employees May Leave for Competitors
  8. Less Engaged Employees
  9. Over-Invested in Company Stock? You're Gambling Big
  10. More Than 70% of All Mergers and Acquisitions Fail
What was two is now one. Companies merge and acquire other firms in order to grow. M&As are intended to increase profits and productivity and to decrease expenses.

What was two is now one. Companies merge and acquire other firms in order to grow. M&As are intended to increase profits and productivity and to decrease expenses.

What Are Common Reasons for Mergers and Acquisitions?

Let's first consider why companies engage in mergers and acquisitions. Here are several common reasons:

  • Growth: Companies grow in basically two ways: 1) organically (i.e., by increasing sales) or 2) through mergers and acquisitions. By purchasing a competitor, for example, an acquiring company can gain revenue or market share without having to work as hard for it.
  • Synergy: Ever hear the phrase, "Two heads are better than one?" How about, "Two can live as cheaply as one?" By combining business activities, the new company aims to achieve both operating and financing costs savings. It hopes to reduce overhead by taking advantage of economies of scale (e.g., redundant assets, personnel, processes and taking advantage of bulk buying discounts). The intent is that the combined organization will be more efficient than its predecessors.
  • Strategic Focus: A company can reduce risk by diversifying its revenue sources or integrating with its suppliers or distributors. M&As provide quick access to a foreign country or new market, for example. Companies can also cross-sell related products and services.
  • Eliminate Future Competition: M&As can increase an acquiring company's profitability by reducing its number of competitors, particularly in an overcrowded market. A well-planned merger or acquisition can open up access to a competitor's knowledge and customer base.
Upper management may be celebrating the deal because of stock options, large severance payments known as "golden parachutes," and other lucrative benefits.  How about you?

Upper management may be celebrating the deal because of stock options, large severance payments known as "golden parachutes," and other lucrative benefits. How about you?

So What's Not to Love About M&As If You're an Employee?

Given the benefits that M&As seem to promise, what's not to love about them if you're an employee? Shouldn't you be jumping up and down, too? Well, maybe.

By nature, M&As bring with them a lot of organizational change, so if you are not change adept, get ready to be very uncomfortable. Also, some employees' jobs are impacted substantially more than others.

Regardless, anticipate the following if your company is experiencing a merger or acquisition.

People issues like leadership, organizational culture, politics and talent are often sidelined by deal makers during M&As as they focus on business strategy and financials.

People issues like leadership, organizational culture, politics and talent are often sidelined by deal makers during M&As as they focus on business strategy and financials.

1. People Factors Are Often an M&A Afterthought

The lawyers, top executives and business consultants who put together M&A deals are analytical, logical thinkers. They focus primarily on whether the new organization is capable of achieving the financial and strategic benefits that would create additional shareholder value.

Unfortunately, like horses with blinders on, they're not always as concerned with people factors, such as who will be leading the transition, who will be losing a job, and other day-to-day impacts on people's lives. That's the "soft," tactical stuff that can be figured out later. Those issues are afterthoughts.

M&A integration teams can give the impression that they don't have everything figured out yet and are making things up as they go along.  Too often, it's accurate.

M&A integration teams can give the impression that they don't have everything figured out yet and are making things up as they go along. Too often, it's accurate.

When communication and other people factors are sidelined, results can prove counterproductive. Layers of M&A integration teams are deployed, and they feverishy begin their work without understanding the basics:

  • why their company's M&A deal was undertaken
  • what the end goal looks like
  • practical impacts of the M&A on employees and their families
  • the "me" issues of other key stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and the community.

Without this strong foundation of understanding, implementation teams give the impression that they don't have everything figured out yet and are making it up as they go along. And that's because they are. Worse yet, they can convey a lack of patience and empathy for those impacted most by organizational changes.

Redundant people, processes, and assets will need to go away. Even good employees may find themselves out of a job as a result of a merger or acquisition.  When you hear "synergy" and "economy of scale" you should think "job cuts."

Redundant people, processes, and assets will need to go away. Even good employees may find themselves out of a job as a result of a merger or acquisition. When you hear "synergy" and "economy of scale" you should think "job cuts."

2. Layoffs Are Inevitable

When you hear the word "synergy" or the phrase "economy of scale," job cuts should immediately come to mind. The business sees it as time to "trim the fat." The only real question is whether your job is at risk. The new organization will be looking to enhance efficiency by getting rid of duplicate personnel, streamlining its business processes, and eliminating redundant assets where possible.

Following M&As, the new organization will be pressed to "trim the fat."  Get ready for job cuts.

Following M&As, the new organization will be pressed to "trim the fat." Get ready for job cuts.

Wage and compensation costs typically account for about 70% of a business' operating expenses, so layoffs are inevitable in this time of turmoil and transition. 1 Expect the company to

  • examine current job roles
  • look closely at past job performance, and
  • forecast what skills are needed in the new organization.

You may be asked in various ways to justify your job or your value to the company. Companies commonly "cherry pick" who they will retain and who they will lay off. Be ready for anything.

Some companies choose to fire employees from their old organization and rehire them as employees of the new organization. Other employers require workers to apply competitively for their own jobs or for other jobs in the new organization.

Confused? That's normal. M&As involve a period of transition while people become accustomed to their new roles, responsibilities, and co-workers.  Direction will become clearer in time.

Confused? That's normal. M&As involve a period of transition while people become accustomed to their new roles, responsibilities, and co-workers. Direction will become clearer in time.

3. Expect Role Shifting and Confusion

Uncertainty reigns before the new normal settles in. People and predictability that you once knew might go away entirely.

Particularly during the interim stage — that is, between the time of the M&A announcement and the date the deal is closed — it may unclear who reports to whom, who should do what, and who has what authority. Even more challenging, the two companies may have very different systems, operations and platforms that will make joining forces a technological challenge.

As employees are shuffled around, a new organizational structure emerges, along with new roles, relationships and responsibilities. In this restructuring and chaos, titles, positions and the name of the company may be different.

Be ready to show how adaptable you are, and keep your grumbling to yourself. It's too early to tell where you and your co-workers will be in a year. (That co-worker could turn out to be your boss before all of this shakes out.)

Depending on your point of view, power struggles in the new organization can be either brutal or entertaining to watch (if you don't get too close).

Depending on your point of view, power struggles in the new organization can be either brutal or entertaining to watch (if you don't get too close).

4. There Will Be Internal Power Struggles

Perhaps you'll notice the internal power struggles taking place on all levels. Much of that depends on

  1. how nasty and open the battles get and
  2. how politically astute and connected you are.

Executives with big egos may seek to build or maintain their empires in the new organization. Meanwhile, managers below them jockey for position in a changing organizational landscape. For all of their public kumbaya, there's likely a clash of the titans behind the scenes, with battles over personnel, reporting relationships, titles, assets, budget, and more.

While the gossip can be juicy, just know that practical aspects of employees' lives are impacted by these personality and political conflicts.

Is the workload getting to you? After a merger or acquisition, expect your workload to increase as the two companies work to optimize their relationship and become one, more efficient organization.

Is the workload getting to you? After a merger or acquisition, expect your workload to increase as the two companies work to optimize their relationship and become one, more efficient organization.

5. Workload and Stress Levels Will Increase for Survivors

An M&A is much like getting married. There's the proposal, the excited announcement, and the flurry of activity and hoopla with event planning. But once the marriage is finalized, that's when the real work begins. Sure, the honeymoon is nice, but don't kid yourself. Any kind of merger involves hard work.

When an M&A is announced, the workload kicks into high gear for those who must now integrate and adapt operations, systems, and business processes. If you're an employee, that's you!

In your particular department, you may be surprised that the other company varies substantially in how it accomplishes its work. For example, it may be significantly more structured, streamlined, technologically advanced, and compliant with government regulations. Your disjointed process of Excel spreadsheets must undergo major transition, and it will take a lot of work to make the adjustments. Expect numerous meetings, tight deadlines, and conflicts with new co-workers as you find new ways to work together.

And then, of course, you must integrate the work of your downsized co-workers. Get used to the new mantra: "do more with less."

M&As sometimes involve two companies with substantially different business models or organizational cultures.  Employees may hold  vastly divergent values, beliefs and practices.

M&As sometimes involve two companies with substantially different business models or organizational cultures. Employees may hold vastly divergent values, beliefs and practices.

6. Organizational Cultures May Clash

You can change products and services, company ownership, and top leadership, but there's no instruction booklet for changing corporate culture. Thus, organizational culture clashes are a key reason that M&As fail.

An organization's culture involves all the elements that make up the company's emotional and social environment:

  • how the work gets done
  • managerial and decision making styles
  • habitual methods of interacting with each other, with clients, and stakeholders
  • shared understandings about what capabilities and groups are most important
  • accepted behaviors, attitudes and priorities
  • basic beliefs and underlying assumptions and
  • shared language, history, and meanings.

Like a marriage between two partners from different countries who speak different languages, the successful M&A must somehow blend or assimilate a new business' culture. That challenge, however, can seem insurmountable when two organizations have substantially different business models, a hostile takeover is involved, or the partners have a long history of fierce competition against one another.

Expect differences in organizational cultures, from how the work gets done to underlying assumptions and values.

Expect differences in organizational cultures, from how the work gets done to underlying assumptions and values.

High Profile M&As: Successes and Failures

Companies InvolvedDescription

Disney and Pixar

EPIC SUCCESS: Disney bought Pixar in 2006 for $7.6 billion. Pixar has since produced a steady stream of films that have been both commercially and critically successful.

Sirius and XM Satellite Radio

SUCCESS: In 2007, the $13 billion merger between these two American satellite radio providers combined their 14 million subscribers. At the time of the deal, neither company had turned a profit. Within months, the new company teetered on bankruptcy but eventually turned a profit. Sirius XM anticipates about 100 million subscribers by 2018.

Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation

SUCCESS: Exxon's 1998 controversial acquisition of Mobil was valued at $85 billion. The deal reunited the two largest companies in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil which was forcibly separated by the federal government nearly 100 years before. The deal has been referred to as the archetype for oil industry mergers.

New York Central Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad

FAILURE: In a strategy to avoid bankruptcy, New York Central Railroad merged with its rival in 1968. The deal was itself a train wreck in the making. Penn Central, the sixth largest corporation in the US at the time, filed for bankruptcy just two years after the merger.

Daimler-Benz and Chrysler

FAILURE: In 1998, when Daimler-Benz merged with Chrysler, America's third largest automaker, it was billed as a partnership of equals. However, the German company had deep control needs that got in the way of a collaborative partnership. The clash in organizational cultures -- "conservative, efficient and safe” vs. “daring, diverse and creating” -- led to Daimler selling off Chrysler to a venture capital firm in 2007. In 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

Mattel and The Learning Company

EPIC FAILURE: In what has been called one of the worst acquisitions in history, Mattel ditched The Learning Company, an interactive software company, only a year after acquiring it in 1998 for $3.8 billion. In the year that Mattel owned it, The Learning Company lost about $1 million a day, with Mattel seeing its stock take a 65% dip.

Sears and Kmart

FAILURE: In 2005, Kmart acquired Sears in an $11 billion deal. In 2007, the Sears executive in charge of the deal was named the worst CEO of the year. Sears has experienced steady decreases in revenue and income since the partnership.

Sprint and Nextel

FAILURE: In 2005, the two telecommunications giants joined forces in a $36 billion deal. Unable to overcome technological differences, Sprint shut down the Nextel network in 2013.

AOL and Time Warner

EPIC FAILURE: In 2000, AOL bought Time Warner for $164 billion, to create "the world's largest media company." Shortly after the megadeal, the dot-com bubble burst, leading to a loss of $99 billion, attributable to AOL. At the time, this was the largest one-year loss ever by a company. Time Warner spun off AOL in 2009.

High performers keep their skill sets marketable.  During M&As, uncertainty and frustration often prompts them to head for the doors.

High performers keep their skill sets marketable. During M&As, uncertainty and frustration often prompts them to head for the doors.

7. Key Employees May Leave for Competitors

After a major organizational change such as a merger or acquisition, it's not uncommon for as many as one in four top performing employees to leave. This is regardless of whether they still have a job with the new organization.

In addition, research has found that turnover in acquired firms is double that of non-merged companies for a decade following an M&A.2

High performers become frustrated by poor communication, job losses around them, and an uncertain status and reward structure in the new organization. They've kept their knowledge, skills, and abilities marketable and don't have to tolerate being treated poorly. Thus, they pack up and leave, often for competitors. HR actually has a term for picking off another organization's employees: talent poaching.

Watch to see if company superstars voluntarily head for the doors. The exodus may confer risks to:

  • institutional knowledge
  • client relationships
  • the leadership and technical bench and
  • the likelihood of achieving long-term business goals associated with the M&A.
With damaged or broken trust, layoff survivors struggle to stay engaged in their work.

With damaged or broken trust, layoff survivors struggle to stay engaged in their work.

8. Less Engaged Employees

Survivors of layoffs often experience trust issues surrounding 1) outcomes, 2) decision-making processes and procedures, and interpersonal treatment that they and co-workers received during the M&A. They commonly have lingering questions about the future of the company and their future in it. Accordingly, survivors are often less engaged in their work.

Research indicates that layoff survivors may experience the following:

  • decreased morale and increased cynicism
  • reduced productivity and withdrawal of effort
  • poorer job satisfaction
  • lower organizational commitment
  • greater resistance to change
  • higher absenteeism and lateness
  • and more counterproductive behavior such as sabotage.

So what does this mean for you? Even if you're firing on all cylinders, employees around you may not be fully engaged, thus making it harder for you to do your job following an M&A.

Be rational with your 401(k) investments to ensure diversification. Review the amount of company stock that you own to be certain you aren't over-invested. Don't make a high-stakes gamble.

Be rational with your 401(k) investments to ensure diversification. Review the amount of company stock that you own to be certain you aren't over-invested. Don't make a high-stakes gamble.

9. Over-Invested in Company Stock? You're Gambling Big

If you participate in a stock ownership plan (ESOP), 401(k) plan, stock purchase plan, or enjoy stock options, then you're among the 20% of employees working in the private sector who are employee shareholders in their companies.3

However, the lure of matching contributions and purchasing company stock at a discount can prompt some employees to over-invest in company stock. Also, buying stock on a regular basis can lead some employees to accumulate more company stock than they anticipated. As a result, they can end up violating the first principle of sound investing: diversification.

If you have more than 5-10% of your holdings in company stock, maybe it's time to review your portfolio. Remember Enron, Lehman Brothers, WorldCom, and Kodak? Employees invested their entire nest eggs in company stock. When each of these companies failed — as is a risk with M&As — employees who had invested their life savings in them saw both their jobs and retirement funds disappear.

How much are you willing to gamble with your future?

M&As require substantial employee adaptation and investment in change.  Unfortunately, a substantial proportion of M&As fail to return enhanced stakeholder value.

M&As require substantial employee adaptation and investment in change. Unfortunately, a substantial proportion of M&As fail to return enhanced stakeholder value.

10. More Than 70% of All Mergers and Acquisitions Fail

Recall that the key stated rationales for M&As involve enhancing stakeholder value—to increase profits, productivity and reduce expenses. Unfortunately, however, a substantial majority of mergers and acquisitions fail to do so.

A 2004 study by Bain & Company found that 70% of M&As fail to create meaningful shareholder value. Reasons included ignoring difficulties of integrating the companies, overestimating synergies, and loss of key talent. A 2009 study by Hay Group and the Sorbonne found a similar result; more than 90 percent of mergers in Europe fail to reach financial goals.

But hope springs eternal. Just as soaring divorce rates don't stop couples from getting married, M&A failure rates don't seem to deter the likes of corporations such as

  • Office Max and Office Depot
  • Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline
  • Kraft and Heinz
  • AT&T and DirecTV and
  • Actavis and Allergan.
Say it's not so.  At least 70% of mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve their stated objectives of achieving greater shareholder value.  That's higher than the rate of divorces.

Say it's not so. At least 70% of mergers and acquisitions fail to achieve their stated objectives of achieving greater shareholder value. That's higher than the rate of divorces.

Reader Experience

Notes

1Shermon, Ganesh. "Post Merger People Integration." Cutting Through Complexity. Last modified 2011. http://www.kpmg.com/IN/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/Post%20Merger%20People%20Integration.pdf.

2Price, Jim. "Why Acquisitions Fail." Business Insider. Accessed July 21, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-acquisitions-fail-2012-10.

3National Center for Employee Ownership. "Estimated Number of ESOP Plans, Number of Participants, and Plan Asset Value (2012 data)*." National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO): ESOP Plans, Stock Options, Restricted Stock, Phantom Stock, and More. Last modified March 2015. http://www.nceo.org/articles/statistical-profile-employee-ownership.

4Voigt, Kevin. "Mergers Fail More Often Than Marriages." CNN.com. Last modified May 22, 2009. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BUSINESS/05/21/merger.marriage/index.html.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I work at a prominent bank that is merging with another bank. Should I look for another job?

Answer: Expect reductions in force (RIFs) when there are mergers and acquisitions (M&As). When organizations merge, there are often job redundancies – that is, too many people performing the same role, thereby necessitating layoffs. If your job is one of these, you may be at risk, particularly if you occupy a position in the lower or middle layers of the organization. Average and poor performers are especially vulnerable as companies seek to become leaner and more adept with a workforce of only the best performing employees.

Sometimes RIFs come in waves or phases. Pay attention to what your company’s CEO tells investors and what market analysts say about your company’s need to reduce its workforce.

Although you may survive a RIF, even survivors experience job stress from all of the rapid change, poor communication, longer hours, and the resulting expectation of "doing more with less." It’s also not unusual for voluntary turnover to increase. This makes it further challenging on survivors.

You need to consider now whether you love your job and company (at least what there is of them now) enough to stick it out through all the turmoil. This is assuming you survive the RIFs. My view is that we all need options to feel in control. Therefore, start preparing now, but be quiet about your plans at work. It NEVER hurts to have your resume updated and be actively looking on job boards like simplyhired.com or indeed.com. Update your LinkedIn profile. Go on some interviews as “practice” just to keep your interviewing skills fresh. Even if you don’t get a job offer, you’ll see what’s out there and what knowledge, skills, certifications, etc. you might need to acquire or update. If you do get a job offer, you don’t have to take it, of course, but you’re creating options for yourself. In a time of turmoil, it’s better to put yourself in the driver’s seat and take charge of your future rather than waiting to see what the company decides for you.

Question: Our financial institution is in the middle of an M&A. I will be 64 when the merger is completed. If I don't lose my job in the restructuring, should I tell them I plan on retiring at age 65?

Answer: I see no upside to telling them about your plans. The company will need fewer people, but if you're in a key role (for example, rare expertise), you might not be offered severance or early retirement. Restructuring efforts following M&As sometimes benefit people like you who are a bit too young for regular retirement. These folks may enjoy "sweeteners" to get them to retire early -- enhanced retirement options, for example, that "bridge" them to retirement age. That's the best case scenario for you.

Even if your employer does not offer an early retirement package, the severance terms may be negotiable, particularly if you are close to retirement, a long-term employee, and retain good counsel. If it were me, I'd make the company believe I plan to work there forever and haven't thought about retirement at all. Make them pay you to go away. I also would not confide my true plans in coworkers, my boss, or anyone else.

Question: Can I cash out my retirement during an acquisition?

Answer: You're generally not supposed to be able to withdraw money from your 401(k) until you've reached age 59 1/2 (or 55 if you have lost or left your job). You don't indicate either your age or employment status. Both factors are critical here, and what you're using the money for can be important, too.

There are almost always staff reductions during mergers and acquisitions, so you'll need to know whether you will continue to have a job. If you are one of the downsized employees, you will be able to

1) roll your 401(k) over into an IRA that you open at a bank or online brokerage service (I prefer Ameritrade)

2) roll it over into your 401(k) plan at your new employer

3) keep it with your old employer and let them continue to pay the administration fees or

4) if you absolutely must, you can cash it out and incur the significant penalties and taxes for doing so. (Penalties are less at age 55 if you've been downsized.) I cannot emphasize how bad this option is if you are a young or middle-aged person, however.

If you maintain your job following the acquisition, you generally cannot cash out your retirement. There are rare exceptions, such as the hardship exemption that includes the purchase of a first-time home, but that's not a real good move either.

Cashing out is generally regarded as a bad idea so please consult with a financial advisor about your own individual situation. A place to start is to call the company that administers your company's 401(k), like Fidelity. They can walk you through it, but the decision needs to be yours.

Question: I’m 23 years with a company that has been acquired. The company is now under a new name, but I still have the original contract. Am I entitled to any payment?

Answer: I'm assuming you mean that you have an employment contract with a company that has been acquired by another company.

Early on the acquiring organization will assess staffing needs and whether your services are still needed. Be alert that at some point the old company will officially be dissolved, thus you will no longer be an employee of that organization. HR should let you know officially that you are now an employee of the new organization and thus bound by its policies. Whether you are owed payment depends on the language of your contract and the policies of your company. Don't count on much of a severance payout unless you're a long-term employee with a backlog of unused vacation.

© 2015 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 12, 2020:

Peggy - Absolutely! And for what end really?

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2020:

My husband's company went through a hostile takeover by a larger company. Almost all of the senior executives, like my husband, were let go and replaced with younger, inexperienced people. The company that would have been 150 years old shortly after that ceased to exist. People are deemed expendable and less important than the forecasted numbers, which do not always pan out as predicted. Every time I hear of a merger, I always think of the people's lives that are going to be disrupted and changed.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 05, 2015:

Devika - Thank you for your kind compliment. I'm glad your job situation provides well for you.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 04, 2015:

An interesting hub! You covered important aspects here. I am glad I have a summer job that can provide for the winter etc. I enjoy reading your hubs.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 27, 2015:

Thanks for your comment, Don. You brought a smile to my face, although I'm not sure that's what you intended to do. I appreciate your candor.

Don Bobbitt from Ruskin Florida on September 27, 2015:

HR! Managements organization for suppressing the workforce and under times of financial challenge they are the group who methodically process employees, their careers and salaries to reduce corporate costs.

HR people are the modern-day equivalent to the torturers of the Inquisition.

I have watched these people destroy good people and their careers just because they ended up with their name in one column versus another column.

"Nuff Said!

DON

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 12, 2015:

teaches12345 - Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. These things can always be done better for the benefit of those involved.

Dianna Mendez on August 12, 2015:

I've been through mergers, some good and some not so good, but they can be handled successfully using concepts such as these posted. Your failures and success stories were educational and interesting.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 08, 2015:

misterhollywood - I'm sorry about the layoff but hope you landed on your feet. Thanks for the comment and vote.

John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on August 07, 2015:

Amazing hub and all so true. I've experienced first hand the not so joyful side of M/A. Layoff

Voted up!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 05, 2015:

Nadine - I appreciate your reading and commenting. Have a great week!

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on August 05, 2015:

Thanks for that very informative article. I have been self employed almost all my life, and had my own small company with eight employees, but today I'm glad that my partner and I just work for ourselves in our small publishing company.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 26, 2015:

Heidi - The consolidations certainly do have ripple effects! All of the time and investment of energy in relationships can be over in a flash without the vendor being permitted to even bid for the business. Thanks for adding your experience! Have a wonderful week ahead.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 26, 2015:

OMG! I have experienced the scourge of M&A. One company I worked for got acquired by a biggie just before I came on board. So that wasn't so bad for me since I was part of the new order.

But where I felt the pain of M&A has been with clients. Most of the time, as soon as an merger or acquisition occurred, I completely lost the client in favor of the vendors the acquiring and/or stronger company were already using. It collapsed my income dramatically.

Great hub, as always! Happy Weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 26, 2015:

Genna - Thanks so much for the words of support and encouragement. It's such a relevant topic in today's corporate landscape. Makes working for yourself even more attractive! Have a great week ahead.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 25, 2015:

"By nature, M&As bring with them a lot of organizational change, so if you are not change adept, get ready to be very uncomfortable. Also, some employees' jobs are impacted substantially more than others." Exactly. Your photo of horses wearing blinders are the perfect metaphor and illustration of what often happens in the corporate world should M&A's occur. "Redundant People, Processes and Assets Will Need To Go Away." That is the mind-set of those who work feverishly to improve the coveted, bottom line and shareholder's equity. This is a superb article...one of the best I've read.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 25, 2015:

Bill - And it can make employees weary! I was always fortunate enough to be on the side of the dominant acquiring company whose employees generally feel less stress, but I did feel empathy for especially employees of especially smaller companies when they were suddenly swallowed up and expected to comply with all kinds of changes. Their worlds were upended for years afterwards, even when they were geographically removed from corporate. They had so much change done to them in a short time frame it was bewildering for them. Thanks for adding your personal story! Have a great weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 25, 2015:

Audrey - Stressful and a lot of work, too! Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on July 24, 2015:

Hi Flourish. Great topic and one that my employer has been very active with. In the last 15 years we've had two major acquisitions in the Aerospace industry and we just sold another very large division (think helicopters). With the proceeds they will most likely be looking for a large acquisition that fits the core business better. Every time we go through this it's exactly as you stated and we fully spect to be going through this again in the next 6 to 12 months. Fun is.

Great job. Have a great weekend.

Audrey Howitt from California on July 24, 2015:

It was interesting to see how many more failures there are than successes--and to me, this all sounds stressful!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 24, 2015:

Nell - Sorry you had to go through that. It was probably good experience that you'd have been better off without having, huh? Thanks for sharing your story.

Nell Rose from England on July 24, 2015:

Hi, I remember when I worked for Maritz, it merged with Grassroots, nobody knew whether we would keep our jobs or no, we never really knew what was going on, so this was interesting stuff, thanks, nell

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 23, 2015:

Linda - I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to read.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 23, 2015:

Frank - Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment. HR is often a job that is misperceived in terms of the people and analytical skills that are required. It's not for the faint of heart who like to see everyone happy all the time. Hope you have a great week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 23, 2015:

Faith Reaper - That little red suitcase is cute. I would've loved to walk out of my job with that little red suitcase. Instead I whittled my belongings a little at a time and they barely noticed until I turned in my resignation. Thanks so much for your comment and shares. I hope you're having a lovely summer.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 22, 2015:

so much information.. HR must be a demanding position... this hub was informative .. and the ends in outs of the workplace can be complicated.. thank you for breaking it down for the lay people :)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 22, 2015:

This is a very informative and useful hub, Flourish. Thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge about this topic.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 22, 2015:

Wow, Flourish, you have certainly covered every aspect of mergers and acquisitions in this informative hub to the benefit of employees. I am happy I do not work in the corporate world, at least for the past 21 years.

Now, you do have me curious to Google one small family-owned companies I worked for back in the early 80s just to see if there was a merger. We only lived out there in Texas for two years when my husband was in the Air Force.

Your photo choices are always entertaining and clever. That one with the red briefcase is funny to me because my husband bought that same one, but it is too bulky for me to lug around everyday ...more like a small suitcase LOL

Up and more and away

Blessings

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2015:

MsDora - Management hubris unfortunately can play a factor as well. Thank you for you comment and votes. Have a wonderful week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2015:

Liz - Although as an individual investor I've been lucky enough to be able to make a small killing on several M&As (e.g., Activis and Allergan, Reynolds and Lorillard), when I sense the numbers are heading that way I get in, wait, then get out. Too bad the employees and customers don't always have the benefit of doing so. Thanks for weighing in.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 22, 2015:

Most interesting!

Awesome research and great photo-sourcing to match!

Every time I hear of one of these mega-mergers, a voice in the back of my head asks, "Whatever happened to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?"

Too few corporations own too much of everything. It is not good for the economy on any level. It aids only the uber-wealthy. I do believe that a merger usually spells "downsizing," a disingenuous term for firing people.

IMO, it's time for the government to put a stop to all of this BS, and allow for free-market failure or success based solely on customer service and satisfaction. You can't cut it? You fail. You please your customers? You succeed, and everyone is happy.

Voted up +++

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2015:

Larry - Many thanks for the read and for the kind words. Have a great week!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 22, 2015:

"They're not always as concerned with people factors;" evident in the fact that they lay off some good workers and bring in favorites who work less and have less financial responsibility. This is a great presentation with detailed and important facts. Thanks too for the table of successes and failures from Ms and As. Voted Up and more.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2015:

Bill - I know what you mean. Have a great week.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 22, 2015:

Sha - What a sad situation. I hope the lady eventually got what she deserved. Thanks for sharing your experience. A local bank in my community that used to serve us all very well has been bought and sold 4-5 times in the last decade and is now part of a large company. Services that used to be free (and delivered with a smile by people who knew your name) are now transactions delivered by client relationship managers. Have a great week Sha!

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 22, 2015:

Always interesting learning about the back room dealings of the HR from you:-) Great hub.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 22, 2015:

I am ecstatic that I work for myself. :) Enough said.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 22, 2015:

Many, many years ago I worked for a small appliance service contract company in Boca Raton, FL. It was owned by two great guys and was a friendly place to work. A few years after I was hired, they merged with another like company who brought in their own management team. The environment changed from a family feel to a cold, corporate one. I worked in the accounting department and answered to the Controller. The new company placed one of their employees between the Controller and the accounting team. This woman was a beast! I ended up getting fired for insubordination two days before my fifth anniversary with the company. My new supervisor spoke derogatorily to me in front of the entire team. In no uncertain terms I let her know I was a person first and no one talks to me that way. I was fired on the spot.

I just Googled the company I'm speaking about. It seems they've merged a total of four times since 1976 and are doing well. However, I'm sure none of the original personnel are still there. It really was a great place to work until that first merger took place.

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