Despite all the uncertainty mergers and acquisitions create for buyers and sellers, a solid, well-planned postacquisition integration strategy can create opportunity. During the fall of 2001, following a lengthy U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust review, General Mills Inc. acquired the Pillsbury subsidiary from Diageo PLC with an eye towards enhancing their revenue. Although General Mills financial advisors seemed to think that the balance sheets and products of the two corporations complimented each other and made a perfect match, the organizations were very different. Any shift in corporate control meant things were going to change. Kevin Wilde, the vice president and chief learning officer for General Mills was part of the transition team responsible for helping the postacquisition integration go smoothly. While spending most of the summer working on the acquisition planning stage, Wilde and the team tried to envision what employees’ fundamental concerns would be and how the team could help ease anxieties in both organizations. How should the Pillsbury integration process proceed? Despite the extensive planning process, were there any surprises that would affect integration efforts? Could General Mills and Pillsbury be integrated in a way that would generate more value than the companies were generating separately? And which changes should be the team’s top priorities? The B case identifies several issues relevant to managing the integration and includes: human resource and organizational information, marketing initiatives, strategy statements, plant closings, and operational changes.
Darden Business Publishing – University of Virginia