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Recommended Reading: Communication Key to M&A Success

Distribution leaders caution acquirers to take care in how and when they communicate change.

While there is no strict guidebook for completing a successful acquisition integration, one of the most common mistakes that distributors make is not communicating enough.

“You’ve really got to be very cognizant of communicating to your own employees and the target employees,” says Charley Hale, president of FCX Performance Inc., Columbus, OH, in M&A: Easing the Transition. “In our business, it’s built around vendor relationships, there are a number of exclusive and semi-exclusive vendor relationships, so the ability to bring those vender pieces together and make the vendors comfortable, the combination is going to produce growth above what they’ve seen in the past. And then trying to capture the customer synergies.”

It's not just how you communicate to new and existing employees, it's also a matter of when you start communicating. For some distributors, the acquisition is announced long before it's finalized. For others, it makes more sense to wait until the very end because rumors don't do anyone any favors, says Bill Scheller, CEO of BlackHawk Industrial, Broken Arrow, OK.

BlackHawk Industrial also won’t announce acquisitions on Fridays. “I don’t want employees sitting over the weekend and thinking about what might happen to them,” Scheller says. “We do them on Mondays or Tuesdays, where I can actually spend time with the employees for three or four days and they can get to know BlackHawk and get to know Bill Scheller and the special culture that we’re creating.”

Read more about ways to ease the transition after an acquisition in M&A: Easing the Transition.

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