The best-laid acquisition plans can face fierce opposition from activist shareholders or other investors with widely different concerns and agendas. One group might contest the financial terms of the deal. Another group may launch equally resolute campaigns based on political considerations, or simply because they feel that investments in the developing world face too uncertain of a prospect.
A leading industrial company confronted significant opposition in its $7 billion plan for a friendly combination with another major company. Opponents charged that too high a premium was being paid, that the deal would be dilutive and that there was an insufficient basis to justify the transaction. In a further complication, a major proxy advisory service counseled investors to vote against management.
The company collaborated with LEVICK on a well-planned strategic communications campaign that involved proactive engagement with media and investors, coupled with a dynamic search engine optimization and marketing program to control what journalists and other interested parties found on the Internet. Persistent and consistent messaging justified the deal price while reassuring investors that the basis for valuation was solid.
The recommendations by the proxy advisory service were effectively neutralized. The necessary vote was secured by a comfortable margin and the transaction closed on time.
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