Where can boards play a bigger role in M&A deals?

by | 27 Nov 2021 | Executive boards

There has been an explosion in the number of M&A deals, but as we know the success rate of M&A deals isn’t great with the often quoted 60% failing to increase shareholder value, leaving the Board to be criticised for not achieving a better deal. So how can Board members be on the front foot and ensure they are valuing the business, negotiating the best deal for all shareholders, managing risks and ensuring a smooth post merger integration?

There are four areas where Board’s can play a bigger role:


  • Evaluating the potential value created by the deal and considering its fit in line with the company strategy
  • Testing the valuation with industry norms


  • Understanding what are the underlying assumptions made – what do projections assume about the target companies products and services
  • Considering how dependent is the deal’s success on the people, customers, vendors/suppliers of the target company

Due diligence

  • Understanding the target’s key risks, including financial, ESG, DE&I, operational and market risks
  • Understanding possible cultural issues – how behavioral norms and values will need to converge

Post-merger integration planning and execution

  • Ensuring the post-merger integration plan is in place and is detailed and robust
  • Adjusting the plan during the due diligence process as risks, issues and opportunities are identified
  • Monitoring to ensure flawless execution and drive out of the growth and cost synergies


  • Test the deals fit with long term strategic goals 
  • Closely monitor key risks, cultural issues and capacity and capability to execute
  • Determine whether there is a well thought out plan for each stage of the deal
  • Ensure the synergies are delivered (growth and cost) during the integration
  • Board composition is crucial in enhancing effectiveness and value add in the M&A process

Based in London and with over 24 years’ global experience, Karen Thomas-Bland is often cited as one of the top business transformation consultants and coaches in the world. She is a trusted advisor to boards, executive teams and investors, creating sustainable, long-term value for FTSE/Fortune businesses and PE funds. She writes for many publications including The Times, FT, Association of MBAs and Management Today.