M&A PR: A Different Beast

Over the years, Y&A has developed and overseen public relations plans for mergers, acquisitions, combinations and other M&A scenarios on behalf of clients. Whether these transactions are large or small, the process is nonetheless complex and requires sophisticated coordination of many moving parts to ensure that the right amount of information is communicated both internally and externally to customers, partners, media and the analyst community. Following are some key PR takeaways to keep in mind if your organization is acquiring another organization or if you are in the acquiree position.

  • Develop a Sound Communications Plan – Start with a plan of action that outlines every communication-related piece of the acquisition or merger puzzle. This exercise allows an organization to anticipate each angle that must be addressed in advance–from HR employee letters to partner and customer emails to various media/analyst materials–and yields a realistic roadmap with ownership for the entire process.
  • Rally Around Key Messages – This isn’t the time to improvise. Aligning all communications around a set of key messages enables a unified message to be pushed out and will reduce the chances of confusion and frustration across the board. Of course, all materials will contain varying versions of the messaging depending on the audience, but keeping the core components on the same page is critical.
  • Stay Fluid on Timing – Even with the best laid plans, timing is often in flux for M&A activity as anticipated deal closing dates can (and do frequently) shift. Keeping a flexible mindset can help mitigate additional stress and keep executives’ expectations realistic. Once a media announcement date has been set, offer advances to media and analysts to give them an opportunity to jump on the news before it breaks.

M&A activity can present lucrative opportunities for companies to take major growth steps forward. Taking the time to formulate a solid PR strategy around the initiative is well worth the effort as building a positive perception of the new company among employees, stakeholders, media and analysts will help ensure that the organization starts off on the right foot.

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