In:site – The Resurgence of M&A

Posted on: 10/11/2015

We’ve always been really proud to partner with some of the most prominent change agents in the market and thought it was about time we shared some of their experience with the broader market place.

“In:site is our regular knowledge share from the people within industry, where we talk about the latest trends, innovations and transformations.”

We’ve cherry picked some individuals who are leading the way from a People Change perspective and invited them (plus bribing them with posh coffee) to share their insights, knowledge and experiences with us.

In this series of In:site we’re focusing on the resurgence of M&A activity and what you can do to get it right. To kick us off, we’ve recently met with Liz Phillips from the FTSE250, restaurant and pubs business, Mitchells & Butlers. We talked to her about the process of buying and integrating the Orchid Pub Group and what made the project a success!

Talking Acquisition Integration with Liz Phillips, Director of Resourcing & Employee Relations, from M&B.

“Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) acquired the majority of The Orchid Group in June 2014 for £266m and comprising of 173 pubs and a fully operational Head Office. The deal expanded the M&B share of the growing pub and restaurant market in line with its strategy. The aim was to convert the majority of sites to M&B brands and formats such as Harvester, Toby Carvery, Ember, Miller & Carter, Castle and Vintage Inns over a two year period. The average weekly take of M&B brands being £22.7k compared to £15.3k in Orchid. The expected savings and synergies from rationalisation and support functions were c.£6m per annum.

A Board of Directors were appointed to lead the Company; Operations, Finance, HR and Programme Planning. This was a senior leadership team with clear accountability for all aspects of operating the business successfully and the integration. The team had not previously worked together but quickly established a strong rapport recognising each other’s roles, responsibilities and areas of strength.

“The priority was to ensure effective and ongoing communication with all 4,000 employees throughout the business from day one.”

The aim was to explain the wider business context and plans, and provide regular updates though out the period of integration. It was also important to understand the cultural differences and psychological impact of change on people, particularly in closing the Head Office while needing to keep the business running in the medium term.

The people were amazing, supportive and open with us. Whilst we did everything we could to involve, reward and communicate we really couldn’t have done it successfully without them. There have been ongoing 1:1, briefings, newsletters, weekly updates, roadshows, training courses, match making for roles and conferences.

We recognised aspects of the way they did business which we admired, particularly certain aspects of operational practices which we could learn from and have introduced into M&B.

In terms of leading HR, the emphasis was to continue to recruit, develop and retain people to run the businesses in a rapidly changing environment. We closed the office early in 2015 affecting c.100 people. There were a number of redundancies, however, the focus has been on deployment and employability to enhance people’s skills and experiences for their future employment.

“The plan has now been delivered and performance is looking good from an employee engagement, scorecard and ROI perspective!”

A huge thank you to Liz for sharing her experiences of leading an acquisition programme and the challenges they encountered. We hope you found it useful.

Intrigued about Liz? Take a peek at her background (shush, don’t tell her we told you to look but it’ll bump up her profile views!).

We’ve got plenty more where these came from, both confirmed and in the pipeline so don’t miss the next edition of In:site; sign up and get it delivered straight to your inbox!

If you’d like to contribute and get involved with In:site, or just fancy a chat, drop us an email, connect or be old fashioned and pick up the phone.