Yet to suggest that agency heads 'should be open to becoming a different person' is completely at odds with accepted wisdom.
If sellers have to change personalities or operating style to make a deal work, at best that deal will hold together until the end of the earn out, at worst it will implode sooner.
The soft 'fit' elements around the deal are as vital as the commercial and financial imperatives. Buyers and sellers need to have the same world view. Sellers need to be sure they will be comfortable in the new corporate environment and that they can commit to delivering the consistent profitable growth that a buyer requires.
Moreover, the market is changing and new acquirers are emerging. Agency heads should be open to the range of potential deal types available, include private equity and cross-border options. Huntsworth acquired Sund, a Swedish PR agency, in 2009 and we are likely to see more deals of this kind.
Jim Houghton, partner, Results International.