Day one in M&A is a critical juncture for both the acquiring company and the target company. This is the day when the deal is officially closed and the two companies become one entity. Day one involves a lot of planning and coordination between the two companies to ensure a smooth transition. In this article, Chris Evans, former Head of CorpDev Integration at Amazon, discusses how to set up day one for success.
“Integration is rarely groundbreaking. It’s a lot of small improvements that adds up to make a huge impact.” - Chris Evans
Ideally, day one is when everyone will know about the deal. Create a good first impression on the stakeholders, as it could dictate the future of the acquired business. A disastrous day one could turn employees and customers off, and can destroy the value of the deal.
The integration north star is the vision of what the new organization aims to achieve. Communicating this vision is critical to aligning employees' efforts towards a common goal. This means explaining the strategic direction and how the integration will achieve the desired outcomes. Ensure that employees understand the purpose of the merger and how it aligns with the company's long-term goals.
The integration manager is the person responsible for a successful integration. However, there is not a single thing that can make or break an integration. It is the integration manager’s responsibility to incrementally help the deal every step of the way, which adds up to a huge impact in the end. The integration manager is the first point of contact for the acquired people when they have any questions or issues during integration.
During this crucial day, there will always be surprises. Unexpected problems always come up and the integration manager must have the time and energy to deal with those things.. Everyone involved must already know the communication plan, the schedule, and their roles, because the integration manager will be busy putting out fires during the day.