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History of AcquisitionWorks

Each of the partners of AcquisitionWorks has experienced acquisitions.  In today’s dynamic business environment who hasn’t!  Many of their experiences were not positive.  Many have suffered from being acquired at one time or another and seen highly productive companies become dissolved into the silos of much larger corporations and the value of the acquired company dissipate with this integration. 

While working at LME Ericsson, Dennis Fitzgerald’s responsibilities included the acquisition of a number of companies with data communications capabilities.  He found that the large Strategic and Human Capital consulting companies that Ericsson had relationships with were too involved with the goals and strategy of the parent company to separate themselves and that they functioned as the Praetorian Guard (the elite Roman bodyguards of the Emperor) of the company’s executives.  The large systems integrators claimed some expertise but viewed the problem from the perspective of integrating systems.

Thus began a series of discussions and a search for consultants who could help.  Don Jacobs was brought in to help integrate the multiple acquired units that made up Ericsson’s Data Networks division.  Sheila Hofmann provided guidance on incentive and compensation programs.  Jonathan Lane provided counsel and advice tested in his consulting experience with other organizations.  On the whole these acquisitions at Ericsson were successfully integrated, bringing new technology to the world class telecom equipment provider (see References).

Further discussions resulted in a specific point of view about why acquisitions fail so often.  A set of principles were developed that we strongly believe can reverse the deterioration of market capitalization, competitive edge and return on the acquisition investment that occurs in most acquisitions. We have tested these principles against acquisitions – both good and bad -- through discussions with senior executives involved in acquisitions.

Early in the summer of 2002, we began to discuss the development of AcquisitionWorks, Inc., a company that would be dedicated to this one problem of making acquisitions work.  A problem that plagues the corporate business world today.  And like the dotcom experience, the vulnerabilities of many acquisition strategies have been particularly highlighted as shareholders begin to look for real value in the companies in which they invest.  It became clear to us that to attract stockholders in today’s market, companies will have to make acquisitions work.  And thus AcquisitionWorks was formed.

Our beliefs and principles are sprinkled through this web page and we hope that it resonates with those who have been through acquisitions.  We hope that you find some usefulness in these web pages and, of course, that you retain us to help you.  Making acquisitions work is difficult work and often underestimated.  But there is tremendous satisfaction in achieving the strategic goals of the acquisition, seeing it grow and become an essential element of the parent organization’s future direction.




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