THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: What makes a successful merger?

Scope Ketchum has announced it will merge Life PR into its UK consumer division

Scope Ketchum has announced it will merge Life PR into its UK

consumer division

Jonathan Simnett

Brodeur A Plus

’There has to be an equally strong desire from both sides for success, a

detailed understanding of the cultures of both companies and a large

amount of senior management mindshare over an extended period of


One of the reasons our mergers are successful is that we work with the

companies before acquisition so afterwards it feels exactly like it did


Beverley Kaye

The Rowland Company

’Keep things simple by ensuring an independent person is there to take

two companies, two cultures and two sets of staff into account. It needs

to be someone who hasn’t got a foot in either camp and who has

everyone’s best interest at heart. It doesn’t happen often enough.’

James Maxwell

Scope Ketchum

’Both sides must have something that the other needs. Doing it simply to

add critical mass or profits is wrong. The fewer the areas of overlap or

potential conflict, the better. Making it happen is a question of honest

dialogue, where individuals’ fears or personal concerns can be discussed

and managed. Above all, neither side should seek to dominate the other -

culturally or professionally. Both sides should use the experience of

merging to refresh themselves thoroughly and improve.’

John Harben


’The single most important factor is trust. The story of the internal

communication team in the Diageo merger is one of rediscovering the

power of storytelling to create trust. Our weekly, multi-language

internal bulletin ran for six months and was read by 81 per cent of

staff. As the merger’s ’official’ storytellers, (the internal comms

team) helped to maintain the psychological health of two companies in

the throes of massive organisational changes.’

John Dickie

GPC Market Access

’The prerequisites are goodwill, shared values and above all going for

growth. People in the merged business need to believe that together they

have more to offer than they did previously. That’s why the merger

between Market Access and Prima worked. Things are different from six

months ago, but one side has not dominated the other and I think people

are comfortable.’

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