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Mergers and acquisitions: agents for change

Getting the best from your agency in a disruptive time

Multi-billion dollar mergers and acquisitions have always created headlines in pharma news, and it’s fair to say that the pharmaceutical industry probably experiences more of this type of activity than most others. From the $63 billion AbbVie-Allergan merger currently in play, to the BMS-Celgene merger in 2019, division sales such as the transfer of Novartis vaccines unit to GSK, or even serial shakeups such as seen for Baxter-Baxalta-Shire-Takeda, these events transform the industry landscape, reshaping pipelines and reshuffling R&D priorities. And despite providing longer-term strategic benefits, they also disrupt life inside the companies involved, with new internal structures and processes, changes to branding, and impact on corporate strategies, targets, and job security.

How might your agency help?

Every merger is unique, affecting brands, employees, and customers differently. No matter how carefully planned, mergers always create uncertainty, which can get in the way of delivering programmes that enhance brands and make a real difference for HCPs and patients.

Through experience Bedrock knows that during mergers and acquisitions, agencies can play an important role for clients. We have supported clients in the run up to the merger or acquisition by analysing the strategic impact of the union on a brand, and the likely opportunities and threats that might arise. During the period of any merger, it is useful to audit materials and to create or update style guides for consistency with new requirements. Instead of being forced to pause existing programmes, agencies can provide the continuity of expertise to keep projects moving, giving the client space to focus on internal challenges. And as a valued partner through the rocky road of acquisition and merger, a medical communications agency can also provide a valuable role in transitioning to new messaging and bringing disparate brands together under a portfolio umbrella.

Thinking differently

At Bedrock our number-one goal is to be our clients’ authentic ally, helping them avoid pitfalls, and effectively navigate opportunities and challenges. Bedrock always strive to build deep client relationships which are based on a foundation of trust, so that neither party hesitate to have important or challenging conversations when required, which can be critical during times of stress or uncertainty. Having supported a number of clients whose companies are undergoing mergers, Bedrock has gained valuable insights regarding how different organisations work in these circumstances, and believe it is important to provide a bridge with new teams and new procurement functions. We encourage clients to continue to be brave and not put programmes on hold; doing so can have repercussions for their brands, leaving them behind schedule, and behind the competition when the merger is complete.

We also work with our clients’ internal teams to support behavior change in order to leverage the opportunities brought by the merger. We run workshops for senior managers to ensure they communicate the value for each individual when going through a merger or acquisition; it is important to remember that what motivates a manager might not motivate those they manage. Without good communication, individuals will often feel unempowered and potentially frustrated by the change. Moreover, it is also important for the leadership to act as role models for the change they are seeking from their teams. As with all communications, there is great value in truly understanding your audience’s needs and motivations!

Like any period of change, pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions can be a time of great uncertainty, but also great opportunity for both the individual and the brand. Whether you’re dealing with a merger, a disruptive new competitor, loss of exclusivity, or preparing for launch, contact Bedrock to discuss navigating change and maximising your opportunities.

4th March 2020



Company Details

Bedrock Healthcare Communications

01252 240200

Contact Website

One Fleet
Ancells Road
GU51 2UN

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