Ensuring a Smooth Buy-Out Transition

Buy-outs can happen for dozens of reasons. Perhaps a CEO is retiring and wants to put the company in new hands. Maybe a company is approaching bankruptcy and a parent company swoops in to salvage the remains. Regardless, a buy-out is a high-stress transition for any company of any size—even that 10-person tech start-up. While the best way to ensure a smooth buy-out is to understand the acquiring company, there are other strategies for transition success. Here are our top tips.


  1. Know the acquiring company’s values. If you play a key role at your company, try to get some facetime with the new CEO. Do your homework to see if this person’s personal and company values align with yours. Whether you had a role in the acquisition process does not, at this point, matter—you need to invest time in understanding the people and company with whom you will be working.


  1. Transparency is key. A buy-out can mean a lot of things, and not all of them are bad. Still, employees may have dozens of initial questions about their future within the company. It’s an unsettling time regardless of the buy-out circumstances. The best way to put everyone at ease is to remain as transparent about the process as possible. If you’re in the position to do so, set up regular meetings to communicate new information.


  1. Consistently check in. People on both sides of the acquisition will continue to have questions after the deal is signed and job offers are dispersed. It’s now always clear how much involvement will be necessary to maintain the original company versus the acquiring company. It’s important to make your expectations clear by meeting with both the original and new teams.