M&A: And the Mania Continues …

Our last post on the subject was on how The M&A Mania Ain’t Over Yet. In it, we had two words of advice. Don’t Panic! Those two words are more important now than ever now that Jaggaer has bought BravoSolution. Big has bought big to become bigger and fatten the bottom line, most likely dancing to the tune of the private equity firm looking to get a return on its investment by either growing the company big enough to take public (again) or by making a global offering attractive enough to a bigger private equity firm.

And while this could be very good for the private equity firm, is it good for the customers? Let’s think about this. There are three things that make an M&A attractive:

  • More Customers
    Check, and check. The first check for the sizeable customer base that BravoSolution has. The second check for the fact that most of this customer base is in Europe, where Jaggaer is not well established (with the exception of Jaggaer Direct as a result of its Pool4Tool acquisition).
  • Synergy
    Either in customer base (for cross-selling) or in application (for broader platform). Check, but no check. There is a theoretical synergy in customer base (as both organizations sell to Procurement organizations), but there is not only a geographic divide, but a bit of a cultural divide as well (as most customers tend to buy from organizations with similar cultures, and BravoSolution and Jaggaer have, at least historically, considerably different cultures with regards to solution development and delivery.
  • Cost Reduction
    If there is an overlap in personnel, systems, locations, or other cost centers that can be reduced, then there is a great opportunity for cost reduction. Check, Check, and Check! First of all, while Jaggaer needs to be on all continents, and needs multiple offices on big continents (like the USA, EU, etc.), but only so many. There can be office reduction. This would be a big savings. They now have 2 of just about every Purchasing system — one set can be retired (in time). This would be a big savings. And as for personnel — while customer support personnel cannot be reduced (without losing customers, which negates reason one for M&A), tech support and sales and back office personnel can — especially when one set of systems is retired.

Now, we can’t be sure any of the changes hypothesized above will materialize, but unless some do, how will Jaggaer realize the potential benefits of the merger? It’s not time for panic, but it is time for thought. And the formation of a plan, or at least a back-up plan, if you are a current, or potential, Jaggaer or BravoSolution customer and someday it is announced that your solution, local support office, or team is being retired.

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