The Importance of Shared Culture in M&A Deals

One key element of a successful merger has little to do with business strategy or sales numbers. Two companies might seem like a match on paper, but without a shared culture, a merger is at risk of failing. At Symmetrical, we’ve overseen countless M&A deals and know how to find corporate matches that will lead to a durable and successful merger. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Think Externally and Internally

When it comes to M&A, business owners spend a lot of time thinking about external factors, like how their companies will fit together and perform in the market. That is, of course, important to be thinking about. But as a seller, finding a buyer who shares your business’ internal philosophy and culture is also critical. Culture can be a tricky thing to pin down, though. How do you ensure it’s actually a match?

Talk About Workflow in Specific Detail

It can be easy for discussions of culture to veer into vague generalities. We empower our employees. We’re self-starters. When exploring potential buyers, try to avoid this and focus more on how decisions get made in the workplace. For instance, if your company uses a collaborative approach with lots of stakeholder meetings to reach a decision, it may not be a natural M&A fit with a company that uses a top-down approach driven by a highly engaged CEO.

Focus on Long-Term Vision

Once you’re confident that a buyer is compatible with your company on an operational level, it’s worth considering long-term goals. What’s the buyer’s vision for the new business over time? How does this compare to your company’s goals? If two companies are aligned on this front, it will help them remain compatible not just on the day of the merger, but for years to come.

Empower Employees in the Discussion

Frequently, employees can feel left out of a merger discussion or nervous about their future. If you’re selling a business, make sure to involve employees in these discussions. Employees may have unique insight into company workflow and culture, and they can be a valuable resource when assessing compatibility. If your employees believe there’s a cultural fit between the two companies, they’ll be more committed to making sure the merger is a long-term success.

Navigating a merger can be complicated. But by thinking about culture proactively, you are laying the groundwork for a successful transaction. Our years of experience overseeing M&A deals at Symmetrical have taught us how to spot good cultural matches between companies. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can provide guidance and help you navigate the M&A process.   

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