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The 100 Day Plan – A Key To Success

100 days to transform your target?
The 100 day plan is a much vaunted phrase commonly referred to by business leaders, politicians and, increasingly, those in the mergers & acquisition community. The features of a 100 day plan can be somewhat nebulous to those not experienced in their implementation in a transactional context, yet it should be, and is simple.
The plan should capture all the initiatives and actions of a management team in the first 100 days following either a corporate acquisition or private equity backed Management Buy Out (‘MBO’). The 100 day plan should focus the mind of the management team, foster accountability to the owners (whether they are new or existing) and ensure that the window of opportunity to add value immediately post acquisition is not lost. All grand sounding, however, what does a typical 100 day plan look like and what are the key factors to ensure it is not just a box ticking exercise?
Segmentation of the 100 day plan
It is possible to separate a 100 day plan into three elements, each having differing levels of priority and focus during the initial 100 days post completion, namely;
• Immediate actions to protect value. These are typically those identified pre-deal and are often transaction orientated, for instance amending VAT registrations, employee communications, press releases, short term cash flow forecasting to name a few;
• Addressing ‘house-keeping’ issues and ‘quick wins’ identified during financial, commercial and legal due diligence; and
• Discrete projects to be completed within 100 days that clearly add value and implement the Business Plan agreed at completion.
Inherently, the scale, number of actions, initiatives and focus of resources in each area often depends on a range of factors, for example whether it is a trade deal versus MBO , corporate versus private vendor etc.
Some best practice when 100 day planning
Each 100 day plan is different, yet there are a number of points to consider which can ensure the momentum of the deal is carried forward post acquisition generating maximum value for the acquirer or management team.
• Start planning early before the deal completes, prioritise initiatives and be realistic about what the management team can achieve in addition to their ‘day job’. The volume and exhausting nature of doing a deal means the 100 day plan is often sidelined by many management teams
• Sponsorship of the 100 day plan by the senior management team is crucial. Delegation of project ownership to a junior project manager means it is likely to lack the visibility, sense of urgency or importance it requires.
• Regular reporting of progress to the Board and any third party investors is fundamental to ensuring that management are accountable for the actions and priorities immediately post acquisition.
• As a manager it is important to extract as much information and input from your advisers as possible (before they disappear on holiday when the deal is done!) The advantages of their perspective is twofold – firstly, they will be close to the detail of the due diligence reports and the issues these have raised. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they will have a different sense of perspective on the key deal issues to be addressed post deal.
Adhere to these principals, use common sense, and start planning pre-deal with your senior management team. This means your target should be well positioned to achieve its Business Plan in its first year.
By: Richard Sanders, Partner, Catalyst Corporate Finance

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