Mergers activity at highest level since year 2000

With
the number of mergers and acquisitions at their highest level since 2000, the
HR function needs to get involved at the earliest stage possible to ensure the
highest chance of success, experts advise.

According
to The Economist, £80bn of global
deals were announced in
January alone.

In
the past month, Spanish bank Santander
Central Hispano unveiled an £8bn bid for Abbey, while
speculation is growing that US retail giant Wal-Mart is preparing an offer for
clothing retailer Matalan.

David
Parry, partner in the HR practice at Deloitte Consulting, said businesses going
through a merger or acquisition often take a cursory look at people issues,
such as share options and pensions, without looking at how HR links into the
business strategy.

"HR
is often late to the party, which no doubt significantly contributes to the
failure of mergers and acquisitions, which stands at about 65 to 70 per
cent," Parry told Personnel Today. "HR should be involved right up
front when the deal is being considered, ensuring that people issues form part
of due diligence."

However,
it seems businesses are catching on. A survey from HR consultancy Mercer of 51
European companies shows that 67 per cent engage HR throughout the whole deal
process, with 24 per cent enlisting HR’s
advice in the due diligence phase.

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