Case Study

ISS acquisition strategy (A): 2000

13 pages
April 2012
Reference: IMD-3-2282

This case is about driving a serial acquisition strategy – a 10 year journey for ISS, one of the largest integrated facilities services companies in the world. Through its 600 acquisitions over 10 years, the company transformed from being a Nordic cleaning company to a global powerhouse in integrated facilities services offering what the company calls ‘the full house’ of services including: cleaning, catering, security, office support and landscape services. Case (A) describes the early days of how to set up the organization for such an enormous task. The participants are left with the question of ‘how to go about it’ especially given that the normal approach has been to leave the responsibility of search, due diligence, and negotiations typically to a central M&A team. However, given the sheer numbers that would have to be examined — at least 6000 – the task becomes quickly overwhelming.

Learning Objective

Overall the learning objectives are threefold: 1) Determining the nature and organization scope of acquisition programs; 2) Recognizing the different approaches to acquisition integration depending on the strategic overlap with the existing business and need for cultural autonomy; 3) Recognizing when to stop acquisition programs as they can quickly take a life of their own.

Mergers and Acquisitions, Acquisition Integration
Field Research
© 2012
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