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Communicating Through Mergers & Acquisitions

By Crystal Smith


Mergers and acquisitions: they aren’t just multi-billion dollar transactions for the top Fortune 100 companies. Many mid- and smaller-sized businesses are pursuing strategic opportunities to join forces with similar or complementary organizations. It might be something your organization is considering.

If so, you have no doubt retained financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, and business consultants. You may also be working through the lengthy due-diligence process, and let’s say the transition is nearly ready to close. Have you figured out how to tell anyone about it? What you’re going to say, exactly who you’re going to tell, and when you’re going to tell them?

According to recent report from culture-change specialists The Storytellers, a “lack of emotional buy-in” and poor integration between companies’ cultures are to blame for unsuccessful merger and acquisition deals.

The key to ensuring a successful transition is well-planned, proactive communication. It must start with the thoughtful development of simple key messages, which are aligned with the legal strategy and have the support of key leadership and counsel. That’s followed by conversations with employees before any other external audience. It is important to communicate inside first.

There is a delicate balance that must be kept between sharing too much information too soon, and making sure your key audiences are brought “in the loop” at the right time to allow for questions to be answered, confidence to be maintained, and support to be garnered.

We have seen mergers and acquisitions occur with a proactive communications plan, and without one. Guess which transitions have been the most successful?

If you’re planning to go through a major business transition and are developing the communications strategy, be sure that your messages align with your business objective and that you’re sharing them at the right time.

Are you being heard?

Crystal Smith is the director of integrated media for public relations at Strategic Communications, LLC, which says it provides trusted counsel for public relations, crisis communications, government relations, and business strategy. Contact Smith at

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