What lessons did Maurice Levy learned from the failed FCB alliance? According to Maurice Levy, the most important thing he learnt from the failure of the alliance with FCB is the necessity to build an alliance not only based on a good relationship between the managers but also on a strong legal structure. In fact, the relationship Maurice created with FCB’s managers was mostly informal. Maurice and FCB’s CEO met only five times and the alliance was more a collaborative arrangement than a real agreement. The author describes it as an alliance which “intended to be more than just a handshake” but without any agreement on the structure of the deal, the alliance seems mostly to rely on the managers’ relationship. On the contrary, in the next process of acquisitions, Levy not only met the managers several times, he had also special meetings with the CFOs where they try to reach an agreement about the structure of the deal and the structure of the company after the acquisition. For example, for Saatchi & Saatchi acquisition, Maurice worked out the details of the acquisition with the CFO Bill Codhrat and they discuss all the legal points to undertake to face the future events which could affect both companies after the acquisition. They spent two weeks working on the structure of the deal, settling every details before calling lawyers. After the failed FCB alliance, the lawyers became indispensable in the process of acquisition. The second lesson he learnt from this failed alliance is how important are the interest that people have in the acquisition. An alliance consists in two companies becoming one and the managers of the two firms have to realize this fundamental point. After the acquisition, they need to have the interest of both companies in mind to create a successful firm. In order to put aside managers’ egos in next acquisitions, Maurice Levy first spent a lot of time creating a strong relationship with the firms’ CEOs, trying to understand who they were,...
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