The objective: Combining strengths of equals
Daimler-Benz and Chrysler hoped to be able to combine their strengths in order to strengthen their position amid the car industry's economically challenging times. As a result, in 1998, the two businesses decided to merge. But not even ten years later, Daimler-Benz sold all of its Chrysler division stock again. The aspiration to overtake General Motors and Ford as the third-largest automaker in the world was dashed. Particularly challenging is the merging of several corporate cultures in so-called "mergers of equals," such as the one in question. The organizational culture of the acquiring company is not imposed on the acquired counterpart because it is a merger of equals. By doing a “mergers of equals," the idea is to combine the cultures involved, to integrate them and generate a new shared corporate culture between both companies. It is questionable whether both parties set the wrong goals and took the wrong approach. However, it can be said, that many M&A teams today are smarter and take an effort to set up separated Culture Workstreams that work on cultural matters before, during, and after the deal. Best practice teams even use dedicated playbooks that help them to ask the right questions at the right time.