Cross-Border Mergers – A Success or Not?
Title: Cross-Border Mergers – Mergers are business transactions that happen between two companies where one takes over entirely or part of the other business. Cross-border mergers are mergers that take part between companies from different countries or nationalities. Cross-border mergers can be classified as either inward or outward; the former occurs where a foreign company acquires a domestic company and the latter occurring when an international company is wholly or partly purchased. These cross-border mergers have been on the rise since the 1990s and are increasingly taking place in different industries. Typical industries that these cross-border mergers take place include the pharmaceutical, automotive as well as telecommunications sector.
Cross-border mergers are a strategy for companies to expand into markets that they think are profitable and are a vital key to the success of their products and services. But due to the international aspect of these mergers, various challenges face the companies involved for example the difference in economic, cultural and institutional aspects and these can be a major impediment to the success of these mergers.
An example of a failed cross-border merger is the merger between Daimler-Benz from Germany and Chrysler from the United States of America. This merger took place in 1998, and the result was the formation of Daimler-Chrysler Company. This merger was viewed as the union of two great automotive companies but sadly it was not a success (Rosenbloom, 2010). Looking into the reasons for the failure of this cross-border merger, several issues can be found to be the reason behind its failure. One of the key reasons behind the failure of the merger was the cultural difference between the two countries.
The German cultures were seen to be the most dominant in the company, and this led to the satisfaction of employees at Chrysler who were predominantly American to drop off. This cultural mismatch is seen to be the main reason behind the failure of this merger and nine years late Chrysler was sold off to Cerberus Capital Management after a string of losses and employee layoffs.
Another reason behind the failure of the cross-border merger between Daimler and Chrysler was the differences between the two companies’ operating styles. The organizational structure implemented at Daimler was a tiered organization that had a clear chain of command and respect for authority. This structure was a direct contrast to the approach at Chrysler that implemented a team-oriented and open plan (Pervaiz, M., and F. Zafar, 2014).
The result was a lack of harmony as well as opposing work styles between the German and American managers at the company. It can be seen that since Daimler was the one that took over Chrysler, it tried running the American company’s operations just like it was doing in Germany (Appelbaum, Roberts, and Shapiro, 2013). If this issue was to be avoided, a focus on the different organizational culture should have been carried out so as to define the various management styles, the similarities as well as the differences and tried to come up with a common ground that could be implemented in the merger.
To summarize the key factors behind the failure of the merger between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler, it can be deduced that the following three issues were behind it all:
- Corporate cultural differences and values
- Lack of trust between employees
- Different organizational structures leading to a lack of coordination between the employees.
According to Qiu (2010) the failure of the Daimler-Chrysler merger had far-reaching financial implications and was a disappointment to what would have been one of the most successful mergers of all time. If this merger had worked out, the company would have had a significant stronghold on the automotive market making it one of the largest automakers in the world and giving it super profits and access to a vast customer base. The competitive advantage that stood to be gained by this merger would be second to none, but this was never to be.
This benefit would have been achieved by the design and production of joint projects by the two companies instead of still competing in the market as separate entities, yet they were from one stable. The merger would have been handled better by focusing on the general issues facing the companies and not the cross-border problems that led to the discontent displayed by the two. Integration workshops would have also been held in a bid to ease the cultural integration between the two companies as well as orient the employees to the new corporation corporate strategy
The result of this failed merger was a lesson to other businesses that would be having the plan to take part in cross-border mergers.
Appelbaum, Steven H., Jessie Roberts, and Barabara T. Shapiro. “Cultural strategies in M&As: Investigating ten case studies.” Journal of Executive Education 8, no. 1 (2013): 3.
Rosenbloom, Arthur H., ed. Due diligence for global deal making: the definitive guide to cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, and strategic alliances. Vol. 8. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
Qiu, Larry D. “Cross-border mergers and strategic alliances.” European Economic Review 54, no. 6 (2010): 818-831.
Pervaiz, M., and F. Zafar. “Strategic Management Approach to Deal with Mergers in the era of Globalization.” International Journal of Information, Business and Management 6, no. 3 (2014): 170.
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