The deal will create numerous questions in the minds of stakeholders. By anticipating their concerns in advance, you’ll be better prepared to address them. We have compiled lists from our M&A integration consulting projects of the most common questions asked by:
Common Employee Questions
We refer to the first ten questions on the list as “me issues” because they are focused on the most common personal concerns of employees. Until these “me issues” are resolved, people are often too preoccupied with their own situations to focus effectively on their work.
Failure to answer these heavy-duty questions can have a serious negative impact on productivity and customer relations:
- Will I still have a job?
- Will my compensation change?
- Will my benefits change? (consider all benefits, perks, and privileges)
- Who will I report to?
- Will I have to relocate?
- Will I still have the same teammates?
- Will my title or job responsibilities change?
- Will our culture change?
- Will our work processes change?
- Will there be a severance package if I lose my job?
In addition to these ten “me issues,” employees are also likely to have the following questions ...
- What will happen to our previous owner?
- Why was the company sold?
- Why weren’t we told about the deal before now?
- Will anyone lose their job because of the deal? Will all losses be on the acquired side?
- Will any locations close because of the deal?
- How are customers being notified about the deal?
- What do I say to customers who call with concerns as a result of the deal?
- How will the deal impact customers? What differences will they see?
- What will our company name be?
- How should we answer the phone? Starting when?
- Will the salespeople keep their existing territories and customer bases?
- How can I learn more about the other company and how they do business?
- When will we meet the staff of the other company?
- Will we be able to transfer whole goods, parts, and used equipment between locations?
- What will change and what will stay the same?
- How long will the integration take?
- Will the new owner train us on how he wants things done?
- What support will we receive from the new owner? From the acquiring staff?
- How does the way they do business differ from the way we do business?
- What are the new owner’s goals, values, expectations?
- Who should we contact if we have questions?
- What should I do if someone from the media calls to ask about the deal?
- Will we have career opportunities at other locations now?
- What policies and procedures will be changing?
- What are my options if I decide not to work for the new company?
Common Customer Questions
- How will this change in ownership impact me?
- What do I stand to gain from the deal? What are the benefits to me?
- Will my warranties still be in effect?
- Will service quality/policies change?
- Will inventory levels remain the same?
- Will the quote you gave me still be honored?
- Will there be any staffing changes that might affect me?
- Who do I call if I have a problem or concern?
Common Vendor/Supplier Questions
- How will the changes in ownership affect my company?
- What is the legal name of the new organization?
- Where and to whom should invoices be sent now?
- Are the contracts/purchase orders we have in place still valid? If so, for how long?
- Will policies regarding how you select vendors/suppliers change?
- Will we be required to ship materials to a different location?
- Will my company be required to seek any new quality certifications?
- Will we still be dealing with the same purchasing agent(s)?
- Do you expect the volume that you have been ordering to increase or decrease?
- How much notice will we be given if you decide to cancel our service?
Common Community Questions
- Will the company continue to participate in and contribute to community activities/charities/civic events at the same level as before the deal?
- Will the new owner play an active role in community activities?
- Will the previous owner continue to be actively involved in the community?
- Will the deal create new jobs for our community? Will there be job losses?
- How will the community benefit from the deal?
Common Media Questions
- What information can be shared about the deal publicly? (business rationale, price, terms, synergies, structure of the deal, financing, assets acquired, staffing changes, rate of return expected, length of time it took to close the transaction)
- What will become of the previous owner?
- Will there be any jobs lost as a result of the deal?
- Will there be any facilities closed as a result of the deal?
- Where will the new company be headquartered?
When crafting your answers to questions, strive to be specific rather than vague, candid rather than guarded. See answers to FAQs in our Day 1 M&A Playbook: Employee Communications.