Mergers, Acquisitions & You

All the talk of mergers and “will we be sold?” dominates a lot of brainpower lately.  Most everybody you talk to is either for sale, buying somebody, or speculates if they are one or the other.

Hasn’t felt this way for a while—maybe never.

And…you begin asking yourself in most waking hours whether you’ll find threat or opportunity as things shake out.  What do we hope will happen?  What do we hope won’t happen?

Hope doesn’t happen:

  • Jobs evaporate—due to consolidation, and the jobs are not realigned into growth areas.
  • Industry tarnish—we don’t look like a growing biz that attracts the best and brightest.
  • Competition lessens—and we back down from what made the business excellent and lucrative.
  • Unified mindset—local markets line up similarly without regard to local customization.
  • Slow decisions—the risk that a larger company will get bogged down in decision-making.

Hope does happen:

  • A new equilibrium—larger station groups have enough scale to balance financial ups and downs.
  • Investment—larger station groups take a long-term view of local news and INVEST.
  • Talent development—larger groups hire out of college and groom within the company.
  • Innovation—larger groups encourage stations to develop and research new ideas to share.
  • Autonomy—with more stations, a group will need to give more authority to local management.

Some of us have been through these kinds of things before; some of you are going through this for the first time.  A little experience in this area can be calming.  The first time is the worst.

But, unless you’re a senior executive involved in the deal-making, you really have NO CONTROL over what happens in this buying-selling frenzy.   All you can control is your own performance which gets challenged by all the distractions.   So, your best bet is to play through those distractions and be ready to handle anything that comes your way when you get a new boss from a new company or become the new boss of a company you’re taking over.

No matter the owner, everyone is looking for great, focused people who are fearless about the future.