The appearance of a ‘For Sale’ sign over Twitter will not come as a surprise to anyone. As stories leaked that Facebook and Google were in early stage talks to acquire the micro-blogging platform, it was only the mooted price tag of $8-$10 billion that stirred up a frenzy. Mega deals are returning. And, if you listen to KPMG’s Global M&A Predictor, so is the appetite for telecommunications and technology companies. So far this year, Network World staff has recorded ten M&A deals in this space.
So, for companies looking get acquired in 2011, what do they need to think about when developing their communications strategy?
1) Know your assets Will your company’s acquisition provide a cash cow, support growth, enable innovation or open the door to a new market? Divide and conquer. Identify your best assets and talk about them in front of the right people.
2) Price it right. Attracting a better price is down to reputation and belief. Will your ‘unique asset’ change an industry or offer another company a significant competitive advantage? Demonstrate that your company will help shape the future or can deliver accelerated growth.
3) Courting the right people? Times have changed and the acquirers of yesteryear may not be the same as today. Which markets are your acquirers operating in and what are they interested in? Adapt your message quickly, but with substance.
4) Adjusting to the competition: the lines between sectors are blurring. Has your product innovation put you up against a new type of competitor? Or, have other companies scooped up your old rivals? Companies might find themselves competing for a different share of voice, in a market that behaves differently to what they are used to. Make what you say is relevant.
5) Build trust: People buy from people they trust. And, trust in the deal is more critical in today’s economic climate. The profile and personality of the management team is everything. Does the acquiring company believe that the execs have the right market nous? That they have understood their customers’ enough to develop a technology or service that will make a real difference. Show intellect by offering insight into market innovation and acquisitions.
6) Timing is everything: PwC believes that the first half of 2011 is prime buying time. Why should your company get bought now? Have you educated potential acquirers on the dynamics of your business, growth strategy and why a technology shift needs to take place today?
7) Get social: M&As can be hostile, cultures may clash, employees become unsettled, customers twitchy and partners unnerved. So, it is inevitable that conversations will spill over into social media platforms. Organisations that already understand the dynamics of the online communities and have a voice will be best placed to quell rumours and allay fears during M&As.
8) Don’t forget sales: Whilst the management team may be focused on getting the company noticed for its best assets, the sales strategy must not be overlooked. What sales campaigns are underway and how can they be supported? Put your products on your customers’ door steps and show them that other companies trust you.
At the core, it is about getting people to buy you because they’ve heard they should and managing reputation and risk in the process. Of course, if you are in financial technology, the ‘Cloud’, mobile data or security, you are in with a better chance of getting acquired this year.