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The Role of M&A in Consolidating Industries

Home » Insights » The Role of M&A in Consolidating Industries

The Role of M&A in Consolidating Industries

by Khadija Tahir

This high level of M&A activity is good for the industry as a whole and has the potential to vastly change the vendor landscape in the coming years. Some of the acquisitions are done to fill in holes in a vendor’s offerings or strategy. Other acquisitions are the need to enter new market segments through established sales channels. We’re also seeing companies coming together from very different areas of the market acquisitions that consolidates converging areas of technology. It is this last type of acquisition that has the potential to significantly change the vendor landscape as we know it today.

Many of the vendors, like Symantec and EMC, have focused on a particular core area but are now bridging to other areas that were not core for them previously. EMA has been talking about the convergence of management disciplines for quite a few years, and it’s finally beginning to happen. As vendors see the value and the need for bridging the gaps between management disciplines. We will continue to see more of this kind of M&A activity.

Some of these large vendors bridge to adjacent management areas and continue to fill in the holes to build out their strategies. We can expect to see more M&A activity. However, the M&A side of the equation gets the bulk of public attention. It is really the quiet and almost invisible integration and development activities that can have the biggest impact on customers.

And this is where the biggest questions remain. What are these vendors intending to create out of these mega deals? Will it be more of the same with some integration between products for specific needs? Or is it mainly a means to increase revenue streams from diversified offerings? Or is the intent to truly merge these adjacent areas to provide integrated and innovative solutions to meet the current and future needs of their customers? Of course, it’s my hope that they are weighing in on the latter, rather than the former options.

This is particularly true of the vendors who have chosen to go well outside of their core focus. I do hope that they are successful because it could bode very well for our industry. However, they will face many challenges; one of the main ones being the ability to step outside of their myopic, single-focused view of the world. To see the array of innovative possibilities that such a union could achieve. It’s definitely a cultural shift for these companies, and their success in offering innovative approaches to management depends on their success in making the leap to a new, broadened level of thinking. Although it sounds simple, this can be a painful process, as others who have tried it can attest to.

M&A activities have other downside effects. The process of pulling together two large entities can consume a lot of energy. Temporarily slowing the forward movement of the vendors’ products. It can reduce choices as companies as customers lose the flexibility of working with smaller vendors.

M&A activities also offer several benefits for the industry as a whole. More choices from one vendor, integration between products, and vendors with more diversified offerings that are more financially stable. Faster implementations through more complete vendor-built and integrated solutions, innovation, and the list go on.

From a practical viewpoint, if one or two of your suppliers are in a merger/acquisition. Be sure to review your contracts carefully. First, some contracts have an auto-renew clause that unless they hear from you that you don’t want to renew, the contract is automatically renewed. So if the merger puts your company in a position where you no longer want to maintain both contracts as is, be sure that you don’t get caught by such a clause. Secondly, be aware of what will happen to the products you are using.  If it appears that the company will be eventually “end-of-life” your product, check your contracts and look into other options. And thirdly, even if everything will be business as usual, it doesn’t hurt to review your contracts to see. If you can negotiate better terms and conditions by combining them into one agreement.

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