Consolidation Continues... 2015

Consolidation Continues… 2015

The state of the cable and wireless industries remains fluid, the acquisitions and mergers continue.  Hold on, because it looks like it will continue.  In fact, the leading analysts are now predicting that the Cable/Broadband providers will be acquiring and merging with the Wireless Service Providers (or vice versa).  The FCC and SEC have been slowing the roll up in some cases (Comcast/TWC), but they just can’t stop every deal.  The Charter acquisition of TWC and Bright House looks promising

The impact to the workforce is going to be pretty significant for most of these merged ventures, the layers of senior level executives in duplicate roles at the division/region and corporate level will be impacted.  Even the system level executives will be affected in the case where systems are geographically close.  Face it, it is one of the justifications for the acquisition (reducing operating costs).

It is hard to say what will happen with the international acquired companies such as Suddenlink.  Companies like Altice will need a stable and capable team, and this should protect the senior level executives.  Sprint has new owners now, and these International players are continuing to invest in the organization.  The executives will have a new reporting structure and there will be cultural considerations.  It won’t be the same as reporting into Jerry Kent and the investors, that’s for sure.

The best advice I can pass on to everyone is that no matter who you are being acquired by, or merged into, it would be best to begin to position yourself with the new organization and culture as soon as possible.  Research and learn how things work in the acquiring organization.  Position yourself as that motivated and interested leader in the new environment.  Embrace change and welcome the opportunities ahead.

At the same time, keep all your options open.  Confidentially seek advice from others who have gone through mergers in the past.  See how they dealt with it; learn from your peers, mentors, family members, and industry contacts and resources.  Embrace the benefits and incentives to support the transaction, but don’t close off all options.  Stay wary or all your options and evaluate all potential paths; you may be one of the ones impacted by the consolidation. 

I know a number of people who have reaped the rewards of playing out multiple acquisitions, staying on board through the vesting of shares and receiving severance packages, especially if they had stock options.  In some cases it is what positioned them to invest in a new entrepreneurial venture.  But I also know and constantly receive communication from a number of people who lament that they probably should have taken a position versus waiting, especially due to the flood of competition in the marketplace, and lack of new jobs.  Either way, a financial analysis can begin to shed light on what might be the best decision.

You may be forced to take a step back in compensation and move into a lesser role, but that might be a viable option, versus not landing a job, and tapping out your savings.  Be smart, and do what is right for you and your family.  Maybe you should be evaluating a change in career path, investing in a franchise, joining a firm outside of your depth of industry expertise.  Look at functional opportunities (within the same functional area-Finance, Ops, Sales, Marketing).  

Bottom line is to keep your options open, and don’t be complacent.  Be proactive and continue to manage your career.  Continued success!