Mergers and acquisitions: Two insurance giants join forces

Things don't always go as planned when one company links up with another. In recent mergers and acquisitions news in Canada, one of the nation's most well-known and respected insurance companies -- Desjardins -- acquired State Farm and things haven't been all smooth sailing. Employees and higher-ups in both companies soon realized it takes time to smooth out any rough spots.

Each company had its own set of values and different cultures according to a recent talk given by Desjardins' senior vice president. Both companies' values were similar, yet different with Desjardins putting emphasis on being pragmatic, while State Farm was fuelled by leadership and relationships. But most State Farm employees were on board with the merger since nearly all employees made the move with the company.

Desjardins paid particular attention on how to move forward having to deal with a company that also has a presence stateside. The company's operating system didn't have a separate Canadian identity, so Desjardins had to figure out how to disconnect from a U.S. entity to fashion a new operating system on this side of the border. The vice president said this merger actually forced Desjardins to communicate better with its employees to keep them abreast of how things are moving along in the five-year timeline to complete the transition.

To make sure any mergers and acquisitions go as smoothly as possible and adhere to business laws in Canada, a lawyer's acumen may be crucial. Having a lawyer on team from the get-go -- from decision-making to sealing the deal -- may help to alleviate the stress associated with two or more companies joining forces. Mergers and acquisitions aren't always the easiest business processes to go through and legal advice may smooth out any rough edges of the process. 

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