- Pursuing an aggressive acquisition strategy to achieve ambitions growth targets
- Limited presence in the UK meant evaluating target companies was a struggle
- Wanted to ensure smooth acquisition and integration to reduce time to revenue
- A squad of experts from Connor carried out due diligence on target companies
- Sensitive yet penetrative questioning to gather crucial insight for Black Box
- After acquisitions were made, Connor helped Black Box integrate and restructure newly acquired businesses
- Eight companies examined led to six acquisitions
- Recommendations saved Black Box a minimum of £1 million by avoiding high-risk acquisitions
- Restructured organisations improved effectiveness and profitability
You want to take the world by storm. Where do you start?
It’s a laudable aim, wanting to make your mark on the world. Knowing the right moves to get you there can be tricky, though. Where to start? Which companies to target?
Black Box aspired to become the world’s largest technical services company and knew that they wanted to achieve this pursuing an aggressive acquisition strategy of data services businesses that provided structured cabling solutions. They were of course doing the usual due diligence activities to make sure each company they were looking at was sound from a financial perspective. But Leslie Fernandes, Group Managing Director at Black Box, wanted to go further and evaluate each target company from a people perspective.
“We couldn’t afford to make any mistakes when it came to our acquisitions – each one had to be the right choice, and every acquisition had to go smoothly,” explains Leslie, “and for us that meant going beyond the financials and ensuring that each company we acquired had a compatible vision and ethos to us. We were primarily a U.S company, with a limited UK presence, so making those judgements was hard for the organisation.”
Working with trusted experts
Fortunately, Leslie knew just who to turn to. “We already had a relationship with Connor that engendered confidence and trust. Given the breadth and depth of their expertise it was a natural choice to have them support us on our journey.”
Connor devised a three-step plan to support Black Box with their acquisition strategy. First, we would conduct the all-important people and cultural due diligence investigation on each company that Black Box wanted to acquire. This included some basic activities such as checking that target companies were operating within the law from a people perspective, and gathering insight into more strategic topics including the calibre of the people in each target company, the strength of the management teams, and their customer engagement readiness.
Secondly, we would support Black Box to create joint integration plans with the companies they chose to acquire, maximising the chances of a smooth and successful acquisition; finally, we would actually run the integration process itself to ensure that management and employees from both organisations could work successfully together towards new common targets.
“It was especially valuable to us that Connor was able to handle both the consultancy and the execution of the project,” says Leslie. “They didn’t just devise a strategy and then leave it to us to handle the implementation. They were with us every step of the way.”