When Two Become One

Sadie Groom, Managing Director

Every sector that Bubble works in experiences mergers and acquisitions from time to time; indeed, it is part of everyday life, with even two of the UK’s main brand supermarkets up to it. In my 20-odd year career I have worked on the PR for many acquisitions, and advised companies on what to do from a branding and marketing perspective. (I will never forget one of my old bosses telling me that an acquisition takes two years to settle in – well, in this dynamic, fast moving world I am not sure that anyone has the time for two years’ adjustment!)

As we approach another IBC, we may well see more large brand consolidations; the show will also co-host a new ‘speed dating’ event that will match start-up and scale-up businesses with media organisations and investors, with the aim of establishing partnerships and acquisitions. 

Even if you aren’t buying or selling at the moment, you never know when your company or a close partner/customer might be involved in M&A. Here are some top tips for making the process a success – for both sides.

Acquisitions are exciting, they get the blood pumping and you know that you are going to get a lot of attention when you send the news out. My top tip here (apart from building disco naps into your day to help with the tiredness) is to find a way to keep the excitement going within your team once the news has all died down. This is when the hard work really starts, so you could celebrate the ‘one month anniversary’ since you came together with a piece of cake for both sides of the party. It’s a bit like weddings reminding you of why you fell in love. 

When you acquire a company you need to be sure that you have people in place to support the new business you have gained. Getting the right talent in the right place is crucial for that post-acquisition period to make it as smooth and quick as possible, so start your search early for the people you may need. If possible, maintain good relations with the previous owner as they will be able to provide invaluable advice and institutional memory. 

Knowing all of the details of the acquisition is crucial for both sides; even though the legal documents can be enough to put you to sleep it is important to understand the key elements of the deal – what assets did it include, how long is your earn-out if you have one, what restrictions are there, are there any stakeholders that need to remain involved? It is worth having a crib sheet of these important things, and also to make sure all levels of the organisations know the parts that are relevant to them. 

Whether you have been acquired or you are the acquirer, you will have new audiences to deal with and you need to make friends quickly. This needs to be very much part of the plan; when people start asking questions, as they tend to do on social media these days, you need to be able to answer them – honestly and quickly. 

This is just a snapshot of advice and lessons that we have learnt over the years. Let’s see what M&A takes place in the next few months and how it all plays out. 

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A Few Kind Words...

Gavin Bunker, AE Live

Bubble were fantastic throughout the whole process and helped us deliver a successful event to celebrate our 30th corporate anniversary with industry peers.

Robert Cloudt, Synchronized

Bubble has been tremendously helpful to bring our marketing communication to the next level, very responsive and thinking with us together on the rightful messaging and timing across different media’s. Definitely a recommendation in case you need a well balanced media agency to help you out.

Carla Molina Whyte, Farmerswife

Working with Bubble Agency for a tradeshow has been truly amazing. The bubble team is incredibly helpful and talented. We are very happy with the results and with all the coverage we got prior and during the tradeshow!

Silvia Candido, Ateme

As usual, we were super busy before and during a tradeshow this year. What a luxury to have Bubble take care of our media relations and our social media accounts! We saw a surge of followers on LinkedIn and got good coverage in a number of publications.

Meg Travis, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, Director, Global Head of Marketing & Communications, Entertainment Services

The Bubble team made everything easy at MPTS! From advising before the show, to facilitating client and press conversations during the show, to making recommendations on how to make the most of the connections we made there - we rely on Bubble as a key strategic partner for our sales and marketing teams.

Dan Pike- Covatic

Bubble brought their significant experience of NAB to support Covatic in kicking off a big US push at the Show. Their support was holistic, assisting us before, during and after the show and well appreciated. We had a successful show, gaining high profile new sales leads and even winning a Product of the Year Award - thanks in no small part to Bubble’s assistance with the application An experienced, credible team and a joy to work with.

Éva Szász – Lightware Visual Engineering

We’ve been working with Bubble for a couple of months now and luckily we found a common voice right away. They always have an easy, quick understanding of what we need and are delivering not only the materials we want, but more and more PR opportunities, in a proactive way. Bubble have been instrumental in raising awareness of Lightware in the run up to ISE and did a great job faciliting us onsite at ISE too including securing and conducting press appointments and manning our social accounts.

Paul Weiser – ASG

I have been working with Bubble for the past eight months. I run marketing for Advanced Systems Group based in Northern California. ASG is a technology company focused on providing technology solutions for the Media and Entertainment industry. Our business is broken down into four diverse areas. One of the challenges that Bubble helps me solve is how to market a company with multiple business units, yet still deliver a unified message for our brand. The key benefits that Bubble provides in helping guide our marketing efforts include: Industry knowledge, Expertise in all functional areas of marketing, Client service & Worldwide brand. The first year of working with Bubble has been a great experience. I’m excited to work with the team to see how we build the ASG brand in the future.

Catherine Watling – Visual Data

The Bubble team have been fantastic and the quality of the work is always exceptional – even at short notice. Our work with Bubble has produced some of the best coverage we have ever had!

Mark Forth – CVP

Working with Bubble has been integral to a rapid improvement in the delivery of our PR and communication strategy. The entire Bubble team are always friendly and professional as well as knowledgeable and well-connected. A real joy to work with!