Author: Carlos Keener

Interesting developments continue in the merger efforts of American Airlines and US Airways: According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Justice and several states have just sued to block the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways, arguing that the new $11 billion airline would reduce...

Over-preparation, which usually manifests itself in extremely detailed, all-encompassing, grand plans, is a hazard that can arise particularly where integration leaders have previously burnt their fingers from  ‘being taken by surprise’ by unexpected events. Understandably, they attribute this to having been previously under-prepared, and instead...

There’s an interesting set of comments in this week’s The Economist  in an article called “Goodwill Hunting” which suggests that corporate ‘write-downs of goodwill’ mask the admission of past M&A failure. But who reads or understands the intricacies of such obscure financial numbers? A good example is HP’s ‘cathartic’ write-down of some $18bn of goodwill, effectively rolling in the Autonomy debacle as well as other past failures, e.g. Compaq. The article goes on to suggest that it generally takes about 5 years for such a failure to de-toxify. I guess at that point, directors can declare mea culpa with little backlash on the basis that they were probably not at the helm when the original acquisition took place (Autonomy may be an exception but we wait and see).

I’ve just left the 5th Merger Integration forum held by Thought Leader Global in Amsterdam.  Over the past 10 years or so I've been to many such conferences - both by TLG and others - and although the economic downturn has seen fewer conferences run, I was interested to note some differences emerging from what I'd have experienced just a couple of years ago.

Congratulations to Glencore on finally completing their long-running merger with Xstrata; we wish Ivan Glasenberg and his team the best of luck. It was especially encouraging to see his comments as reported in the Wall Street Journal earlier today (3 May) recognising that deals only add value post-close, so celebrations are by no means in order yet – the hard work is only just beginning.