10 KEYS FOR SUCCESSFUL DIVESTITURES – NETWORK WORLD ARTICLE
Network World requested an article on divestitures. The full article is linked below. Here is the conclusion – the ten things to focus on to ensure a successful divestiture:
1) Think backwards from a press release that explains why the divestiture makes strategic sense. Formulate a clear and compelling strategy and articulate that strategy in every communication.
2) Restructure the business before you sell it. Don’t expect the buyer to pay for employees that aren’t necessary for running it.
3) Contain the process to the division being sold. Don’t let the bankers or the media paint the entire company with the same brush. This takes care of itself if your strategy is clear and focused.
4) Run a process. Don’t get sucked into serial negotiations with potential buyers. Talk to everyone in parallel.
5) Reach out to international buyers and private equity funds, as well as their portfolio companies.
6) Be realistic on timing. It will take 6 to 18 months to get the deal done under current market conditions. There are exceptions, but strategy should not be created around the exceptions.
7) Pay attention to the customers during the process. Reassure them that you are seeking a better owner for the division. Customers can be amazingly loyal during the process, but only if you communicate well with them.
8) Put someone in charge of the deal – someone who a) has bandwidth to manage the transaction, b) knows how to manage it. This can be your M&A advisor or a corporate development professional. A C-level executive with other responsibilities is probably the wrong choice. And avoid enrolling board members and others into a broad selling campaign, because that will only confuse the market.
9) Be realistic but firm on pricing. Pricing the deal too low at the outset will attract the wrong type of buyer and put your process in a downward spiral. Pricing it too high will keep everyone away.
10) Close quickly. When the economy is booming, companies become inefficient. They staff for growth. They build redundancies into every aspect of their operations. They take risks, and they make a lot of acquisitions. A healthy economy provides ample revenue to fund inefficiencies and failed acquisitions.
You can read the full article in Network World on successful divestitures right here.