Merger Mania? Asks @ComQi CEO

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

If there’s anyone who knows about the advantages, pitfalls, pros and cons of managing a merger, it’s Ajay Chowdhury, CEO of ComQi, London, who was instrumental in the merger of EnQii – of which he was CEO – and Minicom Digital Signage in May, 2011.

Some of the Exec team never made it back from the team building Segway exercise

“Very few mergers work the way that people going into them think that they will,” says Chowdhury, who will be discussing what led up to ComQi’s successful formation at 9:15 a.m. on Day Two of the Digital Signage Investor Conference Oct. 17-18 in New York. “Only a small proportion go as expected; a few succeed differently than what was planned; and some are outright failures.”

Even the ComQi merger worked differently in some ways than expected, and Chowdhury won’t be reticent to go into both the positives and negatives the companies faced in coming together.

“I’ll be looking at the various tricks and ideas that evidence themselves during mergers,” says Chowdhury. “People must go into a merger with eyes open. I’ll discuss the strategy involved. And, of course, it all comes down to the people. They must all have the same aligned objectives.

“Change makes people nervous, and it’s inevitable that there will be some redundancy in merged firms. Therefore, you have to be very transparent with the staff and show how it will work up front.

“But with a good merger, if you go in with your eyes open, it should be relatively easy. Before the EnQii-Minicom merger, we had our strategy in mind, which helped.”

ComQi has been under the radar for the summer, but has been working in the multichannel sector, involving mobile phones controlling digital signage, and we’re expecting rollouts of new accounts both in U.S. and in Europe announced in the coming weeks.

With consolidation forecast by many experts as the way to help the industry grow, it’s likely that we’ll see many more mergers, small and large, in the future. If that’s the case, this is a session that may help you find the keys to your company’s future.

3 Responses to “Merger Mania? Asks @ComQi CEO”

  1. Cisco Employee Says:

    If the merger is such a resounding success for Comqi, why have they made all the EMEA folk redundant? Yet again the triumph of style over substance. If I was in NYC, I would expect Ajay to be a magician.

  2. Ex EnQii Employee Says:

    Maybe the EMEA staff who have been made redundant were duplicates or not required for the future direction of the business. I am sure ComQi has had it’s challenges and Ajay has dealt with them without the need for a magic wand. No different from any other CEO and casualties are expected.

  3. Carlos Bages Says:

    Would the management of such a venture different if both parts used to be from US? Now all the Comqi board is North American culture and then managed in the right way. That said, EMEA deserves to get someone from Europe who is familiar to work with Saxon and latin culture (main cultural streams in Europe) as well as the Emirates one.
    To know about DOOH is key but if you have not a front office aware of sales & marketing habits it’ll induce some difficulties.
    Anyway, best practice seems to be populated in Comqi and it’s nice from Ajay to share it. Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes (Voltaire).

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