Navigating Change During Business Consolidation

One year following a prominent merger in the Pro AV industry, three industry veterans, Darren Altman, Business Development Manager at Exertis Almo, and Sharp/NEC‘s David Lacoff and Mark Weniger, discuss the changes and opportunities that arise when navigating business consolidation.

Maintaining Patience

While significant business changes often bring stress and nervousness among team members, Darren, Dave and Mark examine the role of patience in new situations, especially during a company merger.

“Thankfully, patience is a virtue,” said Darren. “I’ve never been on [the acquiree] side of an acquisition before – we were always the acquiring partner and being that [the news] was so new, I said, ‘Let’s just see what happens.’ It was interesting to see how management was staying and learning about the buying partner, and how they acquire companies that do things correctly, keep their personnel, invest in [the company] and keep it running smoothly.”

Dave details the busy months following the merger of the two prominent companies.

“I’ve been through this once before at a prior company, and we acquired another company and let them run the ship,” he explained. “From a personal perspective, here we are – as a vendor – going through a merger, trying to figure things out, and now two of our largest customers are doing the same – it’s gone by really quickly.”

The Value of Relationships

After the acquisition was announced publicly, Mark acknowledges the value and importance of each company’s business relationships, and the challenges that arise when two influential industry players merge their teams.

“It was really just business as usual, as the core leadership [mentality] was always to stay away from rumors,” explained Darren. “The last thing you want to do, regardless of the outcome of any joint venture or acquisition, is burn a bridge.”

While the acquisition marked the start of a new era for the newly combined groups, both teams ensured that all business relationships were properly maintained as changes occurred on each side.

“The relationships that our sales teams have made are more important than just having equipment in stock,” said Darren. While knowledge about product lines is imperative for business, Darren finds that the established relationships with customers, vendors, and manufacturers truly shine through, especially in the event of a large business change.

Identifying Expanded Opportunities, Increased Capabilities, and Room for Growth

Despite the challenges of two successful (and rival) companies merging, there are numerous opportunities for expansion and growth with an impact on the industry across the world.

“2023 will be the year that we’re all rowing in the same direction,” explained Darren. For decades, [our companies] have viewed each other as competitors in the distribution industry. With the combined financial resources and impressive supply-chain logistics on one side and a family-owned history and nationwide warehousing space on the other side, the acquisition paves the way for extraordinary accomplishments as one team.

Additionally, Mark explains the new possibilities regarding the combined product lines.

“You constantly get caught in a cycle of refresh after refresh, and you reach a point in the industry when there’s nothing really new – just updates,” he explained. “Having access to different projector lines, video wall SKUs, cost-effective collaborations – it’s a different area to pull product and knowledge from. I was excited because, as we’ve come to learn and have seen progress, the product lines made sense.”

Staying Thankful

While business acquisitions are admittedly high-stress processes, Darren discuss the importance of remaining thankful for the new business opportunities to come.

“Regardless of the role that you’re in, when acquisitions happen, there are always going to be bumps in the road,” explained Darren. “These changes take time, but once everything is ironed out, I don’t see why we can’t be one of the industry’s leaders, from the feet on the street to people behind their desks, in the manufacturing world and distributing world.”

By putting their trust in the newly combined leadership, Dave found that the merger resulted in new opportunities and increased with growth combined product lines, while maintaining the same, personal approach to everyday business.

“2023 should be a big year for all of us,” said Dave. We have an amazing opportunity in the market with our full product lines and team we have in place to really do well – I’m excited for the opportunity to continue to be a market leader and really affect the business in a positive way.”

Darren Altman
About the Author

Darren Altman | CTS, DSCE

Business Development Manager

Supported Manufacturers: Sharp/NEC (NE, SE, MW)

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