So the word from Oz should have the shorts doing chest bumps. This from Magnus Nicolin, CEO of Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN), which acquired Comasec SAS:
The overall integration process will be a gradual one as we take time to get to know the Comasec business.
In case The Merger Verger’s reading is unclear let me offer the shareholders of Ansell a translation:
We are standing by to flush our (your) investment in Comasec down the toilet using a process that will be slow but certain.
In fact, let me go a step further and offer a letter that you might want to send to the noble Magnus, your CEO:
We are glad that you are seeking ways to grow our investment in Ansell Limited. But I, for one, am distressed by what I read about your approach to the Comasec acquisition. Please be aware that your future at my company will depend in large part on how well that approach plays out.
Now, me, I’m just a humble shareholder so don’t expect me to know as much as you about doing acquisitions but it occurs to me that a “gradual” process can’t be that smart. I mean, if you just sort of amble along doesn’t that merely postpone the time that any benefit might inure to us as shareholders? And wouldn’t it extend the time that we are paying for duplicated overhead? And increase the likelihood of employee defections? And open us to competitor shenanigans? I’m just dubious. Is “slow and steady” really the right approach here?
And another thing: you say you want some time to “get to know” the acquired company. (Uhm … how do I say this nicely?) I would have hoped you’d get to know the company before you acquired it. By the time the transaction closed, I would have expected you to know not only the target but also what you were going to do with it. You see what I’m saying?
Listen, anybody can make an acquisition. We don’t pay you to do that; we pay you to make them work. “Mañana” cannot possibly be the right approach.
So get on with. Today.
The Merger Verger’s Take:
An “overall integration process [that is] a gradual one” is a failure waiting to happen. A true short’s delight.