As head of audit and assurance at Mazars Singapore, Rick Chan FCCA is acutely aware that a successful M&A depends as much on compatibility as it does on figures.
Rick Chan may dress like an accountant but he talks like a marriage counsellor. The latter is because, as the head of audit and assurance at accountancy firm Mazars Singapore, he has handled more than his fair share of mergers and acquisitions (M&As), and knows what factors make or break a merger.
The corporate world is replete with examples of M&A efforts that sounded good on paper but that floundered in practice: eBay and Skype, AOL and Time Warner, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler. Most recently, Microsoft has essentially written down its acquisition of Nokia. At the same time, this has not stopped companies from seeking to take advantage of the benefits that a merger or acquisition can bring, just as couples who are getting married do it despite knowing that divorce rates are high. M&As can make sense financially but, to be successful, they have to go beyond the books.
Chan has seen more than his fair share of firms come together, and the secret behind a successful M&A is to treat it like a marriage. It requires chemistry, setting realistic expectations and respecting one another's differing cultures.
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Credits: James Ye for AB Magazine, Singapore edition, July 2016 issue