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Typical Business Storytelling After ...

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Typical Business Storytelling After an  M&A Transaction: Not So Good

There’s a certain “cycle of life” in business.

Companies are born, struggle, grow … and grow some more. Then the decline sets in, which typically culminates with the company dying, merging or being acquired.

This keeps the investment bankers busy, befitting the thousands of transactions that take place each year.

This also means thousands of letters each year from the CEOs of the subservient companies (in the transaction) extolling the virtues of the new world order.

Needless to say, this is not business storytelling at its best.

A truthful letter would take guts and sound something like this:

Dear Customer,

I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying being acquired today by ACME Co. deserves applause.

We’ve been struggling to stay relevant.

You know it.

We know it.

And ACME Co. certainly knows it as reflected in negotiations that pummeled our price to essentially cash value.

If the marriage of our two companies does not deliver on the promise of synergy, ACME Co. won’t lose a dime.

To borrow from Garth in Wayne’s World: It’s a “schweet” deal … for them.

Then again, I’m now part of them.

Weird.

My new colleagues are big believers in transparency. I suppose no better time than the present to assimilate, so here goes –

My compensation going forward will be largely dependent on retaining customers like you.

This might sound a bit mercenary, but it actually works to your advantage.

You have what’s known in the investment banking world as leverage.

And I’m highly motivated to put forth a product that wows you.

BTW, my new boss insisted on that verb, “wow.” Personally, I’d be thrilled with “satisfy.”

Time will tell.

I think it’s fair to say such a letter would cause a double take.

I also think companies underestimate the power of honesty in communications.

But I’m not holding my breath.


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