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Mergers and acquisitions: They can be very harmonious

As mentioned last week, mergers and acquisitions are on the rise. But as many Texas residents know, they aren't exactly easy. People get fired, policies change and all of a sudden, a business just isn't what it used to be. However, there are some successful mergers and acquisitions stories.

For example, a recent article reports that one famous ice cream company, Ben & Jerry's, had a smooth and creamy transition. Specifically, since the company was bought by Unilever, it has not abandoned its organic principles and philosophy. According to one of the co-founders, nobody was let go. This is usually very difficult to accomplish when companies merge to become a bigger force.

A source reports that about a decade ago, sustainability and corporate social responsibility were very new ideas. However, these days, many companies now have these programs as a foundation to their businesses. For example, Unilever launched a program in November 2010, which is supposed cut the environmental impact of its products. Even so, the company aims to double sales in the coming years.

The former head of social responsibility at Northern Foods explains, "I think Ben & Jerry's was a tipping point for Unilever - they learned a lot from the culture and learned that it made business sense." Now, the company is strongly advocating Ben & Jerry's business style. This has inevitably led to some of the company's success.

Now, the co-founder of the ice cream company says that the next step is to bring social responsibility into every part of a business. This way, the original purpose and values of the company is preserved in the process of its union with another company.

Source: BBC News, "Did Ben & Jerry's change Unilever?" Anthony Reuben, May 23, 2012