Realizing synergies in mergers and acquisitions : A case study of WM-data’s acquisition of Atos Origin Nordic
The focus of this thesis is the determinants for synergy realization in a merger or an acquisition. The objective is to describe the actions taken by our case company and relate these to the most important factors in realizing synergies in the new entity. We have chosen to study WM-data; a company widely experienced with merger and acquisition events, which during the last two years have conducted two lager acquisitions with subsequent integrations. Our focus has been last year’s acquisition of Atos Origin Nordic. The data about the event was gathered through interviews with key individuals involved in the acquisition and integration, through a questionnaire distributed amongst a group of employees and through studying published and internal documents covering the event. The model that is used relates combination potential, organizational integration, employee resistance and previous experience to synergy realization. The combination potential is affected by the strategic similarities and complementarities found in the combining companies, both which was found in our case company. Organizational integration is best conducted with a co-competence approach, i.e. a high level of integration through a fast and positive process. Also in this area our case company acted in a way that facilitates synergy realization. High employee resistance can reduce the potential for synergy realization. Actions in the areas of communication, culture and career can reduce resistance. Even if our case company used many of the techniques recommended, some employees still had a negative attitude towards the acquisition. Even more emphasis could have been put on communication about the event and forthcoming career implications. Experience of previous mergers and acquisitions activities can facilitate synergy realization if the combination is taking place in a similar industry setting. Our case company successfully recycled a lot of knowledge from a prior acquisition event, conducted by the Finnish subsidiary. In whole, the case study in this thesis represents a good example of how a company could act to realize synergies in a merger or acquisition. So far, most cost synergies relate to the combination of similar operations. Surprisingly, reducing costs through lay-offs was the primary method to achieve the expected savings. However, this event is still in an early phase, we expect more synergies from the combination to be realized in the future. Key words: mergers and acquisitions, case study, synergy realization, combination potential, organizational integration, employee resistance, M&A experience.
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