Wresting control during a merger

A merger is hard to pull off under any circumstances. It’s harder when everybody is against you.”
Carly Fiorina
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As mentioned yesterday, in a merger / acquisition situation where there are two distinct OSS, it’s common for the stronger of the organisations in the partnership to dictate the technical direction. It’s also for the stronger group to proceed with the systems they’re familiar with and perhaps even helped to develop.

This isn’t always the optimal solution though.

A few years ago, I helped perform a really interesting due diligence for a possible acquisition of Company A. They had built up some really strong attributes, but also had a few weaknesses and a dwindling market position / revenues.

Interestingly, one of the weaknesses was in their OSS space, which they had done a lot of development on and had capitalised to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite this, it had quite a few gaps in what they wanted / needed it to do.

Interestingly, they had acquired another company (Company B) a few years prior. In the takeover, Company B’s network team was pared back before integration into Company A’s, as was Company B’s OSS. In doing so, they made most of Company B’s OSS team redundant, taking the knowledge with them.

What Company A didn’t realise was that Company B’s OSS was capable of filling most of their gaps almost straight out of the box. Instead, this OSS languished in a corner getting little love because nobody knew what to do with it, other than a tiny fraction of its capabilities. Last I heard Company A was seeking to decommission it completely, more’s the pity.

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