A merger or acquisition must make business sense, but the most critical component of the deal that aligned Stellar Industrial Supply and Impact Industrial Supplies was cultural alignment, according to Stellar's John Wiborg and Impact's John Diaz in Case Study: Stellar’s Impactful Deal.
“When we’re looking at acquisition possibilities, the first gate that’s got to be overcome is, ‘Is this organization we’re looking at a great organization and are their values and business philosophy compatible with ours?’” Wiborg says. “They’re never going to be exactly the same but they have to be compatible.”
Wiborg and Diaz met nearly a decade ago, and they networked over the years through a variety of common bonds. Both were 3M Premier Distributors, both attended Industrial Supply Association events, and Wiborg recruited Diaz and his company to join Affiliated Distributors.
Through their professional relationship, the duo found ways to share best practices and bounce ideas off each other as their businesses prospered. This provided the foundation for the eventual merger – and also helped foster a smooth integration once the agreement was signed.
“If (target companies) share the philosophies and framework and values that we believe are core to our culture, then we have compatibility,” Wiborg says. “And a lot of the details will work themselves out as we learn together.”
Diaz says Stellar's acquisition of his company – which both organizations call a merger – never felt like a traditional "seller-buyer discussion" but instead was the "result of a relationship" that evolved from years of seeing each other at industry events and realizing that their companies were a perfect match for one another.
Read more about how these companies achieved a mutually beneficial merger in Case Study: Stellar’s Impactful Deal.