How to build and use an M&A Integration Playbook

How to build and use an M&A Integration Playbook

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M&A Playbooks are essential for deal success, and leading companies often rely on creating playbooks to get help in maintaining M&A integration teams and for keeping individuals focused and organized.

When a CEO strives to increase business results or kick-start a long-term project, the idea of acquiring another company can be highly appealing. Every other year, corporations invest more than $2 trillion in acquisitions. Despite this, study after study finds that the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions ranges between 70% and 90%.

In such a situation, we believe what’s lacking is a well-developed business plan and how to field guide right from the commencement of the integration process that keeps the integration team focused on creating value while providing step-by-step guidance for tactical implementation.

This article will describe how to select and use a playbook in your subsequent M&A integration and how to capture learnings after a completed integration process. Before that, let’s find out some more details about the advantages of having an M&A Playbook for your deal.

Purpose of an M&A Playbook

An M&A playbook is like a roadmap for the merger and acquisition process. It contains tried-and-true best practices designed to assist the organization during this dynamic, information-dense era. A playbook can also assist in establishing clear roles and tasks for team members and stakeholders. Apart from this, the purpose of an M&A Playbook entails some more critical features.

  • The MergerWare M&A Playbook is a resource guide that will provide Integration Team Members with a structure and range of resources to use for integration planning and implementation activities. The Playbook outlines the tasks needed to structure and begin integration preparation, perform integration planning, and execute integration plans
  • The Playbook is designed for a small group of primary users, including members from the Integration Management Office and representatives of the Integration Teams assigned for each deal activity. Since the structure in the Playbook can be applied depending on a specific deal and its unique characteristics, the Integration Management Office must position the Playbook’s application in an appropriate context with each transaction
  • Each activity’s goals, positions and duties, and procedures are detailed in the Playbook. For each task, the Playbook includes sample deliverables, models, and templates. The Playbook can also be used in conjunction with the best Practice Samples from past integration attempts and project

Important points to consider while building and using an M&A Playbook for your business

  • Typically, a company’s M&A integration DNA isn’t flexible and can’t be fine-tuned systematically until it’s been set. Therefore, it becomes vital that the business model/deal logic changes in tandem with the demand and the activities of the market and its operations. A playbook is a way to ensure that the future of M&A incorporation is clear, that lessons learned are recorded, and that the process is measured and strengthened (similar to a production or sales process).
  • Since the M&A transition process is not well documented and is not part of the line organization’s day-to-day obligations, new hires have difficulty understanding it. A playbook provides current and long-term hires with a valuable holistic and cross-functional perspective. It may also be presented to targets to instill trust, alleviate concerns of hidden agendas, and establish realistic objectives.
  • The examples of typical deal rationales are highly contingent on how the acquirer’s leadership handles negotiations and relationships with the owners and entrepreneurs. A playbook is a position and method for capturing and developing techniques and mitigations from previous acquisitions.
  • Having an integrated M&A Playbook gives access to end-to-end integration methodology, actions, tools, KPIs, and templates.
  • The focus must be aligned towards having a detailed M&A playbook that covers all stages of the M&A life cycle across all streams. It should also be kept in mind that all these streams are guided by a leader particularly identified for each stream, whose primary job is to steer the best practices across deals within a company and drive the M&A playbook rationalization and keep it up to date.
  • The emphasis of governance and leadership is on establishing the right goals. Any day wasted in implementation has a negative impact on the deal’s business case in “economies of scale.” When it comes to “fresh product development,” it’s all about having the right rewards in place, as well as the pace and agility at which you can react to customer/market input. The integration process can be sped up by using an integrated M&A playbook of models and policies.

How to use the M&A playbook for your next M&A deal?

M&A Playbooks are essential for deal success, and leading companies often rely on creating playbooks to get help in maintaining M&A integration teams and for keeping individuals focused and organized. But companies often forget that there are specific pointers that they need to keep in mind while using the Playbook.

If we talk about the mistakes that delay a deal closure, then a lack of pre-planning and thinking ahead can be one of the top ten mistakes made during an M&A Integration process.

In such situations, companies/organizations should realize that when the acquisition process for the company’s M&A operations looks more or less the same every time, it’s time to build an M&A integration playbook. Companies that have a playbook have reasonably consistent integration plans, in addition to a consistent approach to M&A.

Following are some common deal rationalizations for using a playbook:

  • Economies of scale transactions usually focus on reducing the target or aggregate company’s costs
  • The aim of “new product growth” is to introduce a new product into the sales and marketing machine of the acquiring business to increase sales
  • Purchases of assets (patents, brands, licenses)
  • Entry into a new or adjacent market

The complexity of the deal rationale determines the criteria for project leaders and the integration team’s M&A integration skills, expertise, analytical, and market comprehension. Tools like Governance gates, milestones, and KPIs/measurements will all be included in the Playbook, making it necessary for every company/organization to have an integrated M & M&A Playbook whenever they are eyeing a new acquisition or divestiture.

How can MergerWare help you in putting it all together?

Playbooks are essential for establishing a successful, repeatable process. MergerWare’s M&A Playbooks provide expert advice, allowing the team to make confident strategic decisions and execute M&A deals effectively. Good playbooks serve as a foundation and a blueprint for the entire integration process, including templates, strategies, and procedures to drive decision-making, future moves, risk management, tasks, responsibilities, and performance indicators. An effective playbook saves time, reduces expensive mistakes, and keeps staff on track to meet project objectives.

MergerWare’s all-in-one M&A software makes it simple to fine-tune the playbooks based on business facts and lessons learned, allowing teams to create a smoother process as they proceed. We provide customers with several playbook solutions, including bundled and premium playbooks integrated within the platform.

Why should you choose MergerWare as your one-stop solution for all M&A deals?

  • It’s a user-friendly and easy-to-use platform for easy adaption to an M&A integration team.
  • Our software offers coverage and support for the entire M&A deal lifecycle, eliminating the need for businesses to use another platform.
  • The platform is straightforward to configure to the customer’s needs, and the customers can do the majority of the configuration.
  • MergerWare’s robust M&A framework is built on a platform that enables businesses to quickly begin their M&A process without completing their M&A process/Playbook.
  • MergerWare is very adaptable to platform changes as per customer requirements. We also focus on tailoring our product strategy to meet the needs of our consumers. MergerWare’s primary goal is to help customers solve M&A issues.
  • Since M&A experts build MergerWare, it gives our platform an edge and is very adaptable for our customers.

Depending upon your needs, MergerWare provides the industry’s most detailed playbooks for all levels of the M&A lifecycle, based on realistic and real-world practice. Our extensive set of best practices guides the company through the complexities of M&A processes, including the required steps and activities from initial deal strategy to post-integration planning to long-term value capture.

Do you need help to establish a systematic, high-quality M&A playbook for your company that diminishes the risks that come bundled along with the traditional approach of deal management?

Don’t worry, we have got you covered!

Visit us at and schedule a personalized demo with one of our product specialists.