Take a job with a company being acquired?

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investor997
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Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by investor997 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:46 pm

Company A and Company B are both public companies. Company A recently announced they were going to acquire Company B. The deal hasn't closed yet as it is still pending regulatory and shareholder approval, but the odds are good that it will. It's assumed that significant "synergies" between the two will be realized upon closure of the acquisition. in other words, lots of people should expect to lose their jobs. Most will probably fall in the finance/HR/marketing areas but it's foolish to think engineering wouldn't also be affected.

I have good working relationships with a few people I know at Company B that I trust. One of them recently contacted me regarding a position which just opened up that could be a good fit for me. Without getting too specific, the position is a customer-facing technical role, ie, Field Application Engineer, so while it would technically report in through a sales organization, it's very technical in nature and requires an engineering background. It's very similar to what I do today and frankly should be considered a lateral move, but Company B is quite a bit more prestigious compared to my current employer and it would also potentially offer greater opportunities for advancement a few years down the road. Company A is even more prestigious than Company B, but that's not a done deal..yet.

Although my present employer continues face some challenges, the job itself is pretty good. I have a very short commute, a high level of autonomy and the pay is pretty good - I even have a 401k plan that lets me do Mega Back Door Roth IRAs. It's not quite all rosy: Our travel expenses have been frozen for several months so I find myself chained to my desk much more often than I used to be. I'm the type who likes getting out into the field. All in all, however, I haven't felt the need to proactively look for something new.

So: Given the uncertainty of what could happen to Company B after the acquisition closes, is it worth considering a career move with them? Or given the risk involved, should a move to them only be acceptable if it came with specific increases in either title or compensation? Or never under any circmstances given the relative satisfaction I have at my current job?

dak
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by dak » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:59 pm

I would think very carefully before stepping into a company that is about to be acquired. While you are not invested in the company at this point, there will be a good deal of turmoil in both companies "A" and "B" for longer than you might expect. You would be stepping into a political mess that will take (probably) years to sort out - without even the cover of having an established reputation in the company to protect you. Your friend (in company B) may well be powerless in the new organization.

I would consider waiting to see how things shake out before making the leap.

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dm200
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by dm200 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:06 pm

it is not uncommon that the acquiring company "plunders" the acquired company.

There are, of course, exceptions. I would be "cautious".. [Speak from experience]

Neither should you believe just about anything anyone says (or promises).

investor997
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by investor997 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:36 pm

I tend to agree. At this point I'm inclined to sit on the sidelines and wait for the merger to close. If I were in an untenable situation with my present employer I might think differently but since I'm not, I don't think it's worth the risk.

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Pajamas
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:58 pm

Beware. If there are significant "synergies", then the acquiring company may be primarily interested in eliminating a competitor and in absorbing the acquired company's customers rather than retaining many of the employees. Been there, done that.

donall
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by donall » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:19 pm

Loyalties to an employee is from the person that hired them. Unless company A or a person from company A hired you, stick with your present job. Your friend is from company B. If there is a position after the merger, then investigate.

JoeRetire
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by JoeRetire » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:26 pm

investor997 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:46 pm
Given the uncertainty of what could happen to Company B after the acquisition closes, is it worth considering a career move with them? Or given the risk involved, should a move to them only be acceptable if it came with specific increases in either title or compensation? Or never under any circmstances given the relative satisfaction I have at my current job?
How much uncertainty can you tolerate?

If you were offered a job at Company A, would you consider that a good thing?

I've worked at plenty of companies that were acquired. Most of them were fine for the first 1 or 2 years. After that, they ranged from barely tolerable to absolutely miserable. For me, I valued the small-company and startup environments and loathed the megacorp environment. Once acquired the smaller companies were eventually subsumed into the megacorp culture. I would never have applied for a job at any of the acquiring companies, so that was always a signal for me to eventually leave (or in the most recent case, to retire).
Last edited by JoeRetire on Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tim1999
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:28 pm

Also keep in mind that the post-merger cuts don't always happen immediately, but sometimes up to a year or two down the road, as the senior management of company A observes the folks from company B and decides who they don't like or who they feel is unnecessary or underperforming.

The one time I was at a megacorp acquired by another, the quickest and deepest cuts in the company being acquired occurred in corporate accounting/finance, supply chain, IT (entire IT group was basically eliminated except for a few senior folks) and supervision of blue collar field employees where the two companies had overlapping field territories.

DVMResident
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by DVMResident » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:35 pm

The choice before you is not to take the job or not; the choice is to apply or not.

The phone screen, interview, and job offer process typically takes months. Throw in the potential acquisition induced hiring freeze and this could easily be 6 months until the start date. In that time, you'll figure out if the acquisition falls apart. If the acquisition goes through, I'll echo everyone's opinion.

Probably worth the application and see where things land.

Dottie57
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:40 pm

I wouldn’t take it. The company I worked for bought a larger competitor. Merger politics continued for 10 years. Many, many people from the acquired company were let go. Be careful.

AlwaysWannaLearn
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:08 pm

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Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

2comma
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by 2comma » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:56 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:06 pm
it is not uncommon that the acquiring company "plunders" the acquired company.

There are, of course, exceptions. I would be "cautious".. [Speak from experience]

Neither should you believe just about anything anyone says (or promises).
I was at company B twice and that last statement rang very true for me. In both cases I did my research on what was going on (which was not listening to management) and fled. Two of the best career decisions I ever made. After my experiences I wouldn't consider moving to a company that is about to be acquired.
If I am stupid I will pay.

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dm200
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by dm200 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:40 pm

2comma wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:56 pm
dm200 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:06 pm
it is not uncommon that the acquiring company "plunders" the acquired company.
There are, of course, exceptions. I would be "cautious".. [Speak from experience]
Neither should you believe just about anything anyone says (or promises).
I was at company B twice and that last statement rang very true for me. In both cases I did my research on what was going on (which was not listening to management) and fled. Two of the best career decisions I ever made. After my experiences I wouldn't consider moving to a company that is about to be acquired.
Whether by acquisition or just management changes at the top, the new management often says,

"I/we are not here to 'clean house' "

Translation: "I/we ARE here to clean house" ')

GAAP
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by GAAP » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:58 am

Would you fit into the culture of Company A? Over time, the culture of Company B will be forced to change into the mold from Company A. That process is likely to be somewhat traumatic for Company B employees.

Very few companies do acquisitions well...

investor997
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by investor997 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:25 am

GAAP wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:58 am
Would you fit into the culture of Company A? Over time, the culture of Company B will be forced to change into the mold from Company A. That process is likely to be somewhat traumatic for Company B employees.

Very few companies do acquisitions well...
A's corporate culture is mostly unknown at this point. B's culture isn't known to be the greatest, at least until very recently. B is actually the combination of a completely separate merger that took place within the last few years.

The entire industry I work in is undergoing pretty rapid change, quite a bit of which is due to mergers and acquisitions. Frankly I don't expect much more than about two years' worth of "stability" no matter what I do, which includes staying where I'm at and doing nothing.

Interestingly enough, the place I'm at now acquired a smaller company some years ago and many of the senior managers from the acquired company, ahh, "infiltrated" the ranks of management, bringing some of their culture with them. So I've seen both sides of it. The only thing I know for certain is there will be "synergy". The only question is how much?

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Pajamas
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by Pajamas » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:48 am

investor997 wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:25 am

The entire industry I work in is undergoing pretty rapid change, quite a bit of which is due to mergers and acquisitions. Frankly I don't expect much more than about two years' worth of "stability" no matter what I do, which includes staying where I'm at and doing nothing.
That puts a slightly different twist on things. If you are going to stay in that industry, you might decide to deliberately throw yourself into the current and see where it takes you instead of expending a great deal of effort to tread calm waters.

3feetpete
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Re: Take a job with a company being acquired?

Post by 3feetpete » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:02 pm

Twice in my career is worked for a company that was bought out. Neither I nor anybody I worked with was happy with the end result. You would be better off waiting until the purchase goes through and then seeing if Company A is willing to hire you. For some reason companies seem to have a higher regard for people they have hired directly over those they acquired as part of an acquisition.

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