My employer has been bought out. Now what?


#1

So, last Thursday I found out that my employer, Trust Company of America, has reached an agreement to be acquired by E*Trade. TCA is, by far, the smaller fish. I’ve never been with a company that’s been bought out before, and I’m not entirely sure what to expect. I was curious if anyone else here has been with a company that has been acquired by a larger rival. Does anyone here have any thoughts to share?


#2

Wow! Is it exciting or unsettling?


#3

Hi @dougcollins I’ve been part of a UX specialist company that was acquired by a large global consultancy. It was exciting and challenging. The main thing was the culture differences - we were a small relaxed company, and we had moved into a much more corporate environment.
Just have to look out for your people - keep them feeling safe and valued throughout what can be a very unsettling period.
Feel free to msg me if you want to chat more.


#4

Well, @HAWK, it’s a bit of both. ETRADE is a much larger company, with an established product and some really talented and interesting design professionals. TCA fills a niche that ETRADE currently doesn’t serve, so it appears to be an opportunity for both companies to get something out of the exchange. I certainly could learn a lot, and I’m excited about being a contributor to a major player in our industry.

On the other hand, there’s just so much dang uncertainty right now. While it’s been presented as “everything is business as usual until the sale closes,” no one really knows what to expect. While a few of us have been through buyouts before, most of the company has not.

@ruth - I could see a lot of those same challenges here. TCA has about 300 employees in one office here in Denver. E*TRADE has about 3,500 employees in offices all around the US and in the Phillipines. There are problems of culture, to be sure, that will need to be addressed.


#5

I was at Penguin Books (Pearson) when they mega-merged with Random House (Bertelsmann).

It was an exciting and hopeful period, lots of waiting and tension and whole company announcements and rumours and careful discussions with department heads while we all tried to keep focussed on work and somehow plan ahead with projects when we didn’t know the future.

It was amusing to have our larger competitor become part of the family, and meet counterparts on the other side to compare notes. Great opportunities for learning and adjusting, although there were also a lot of redundancies too. :hushed:

It was mostly handled pretty well. Some fantastic things along with some shocking ones—pretty charged kind of atmosphere, and it lasted for a very long time while things were worked out.


#6

I can completely understand your feelings, you must be feeling anxious and confused at the same time. Mostly these mergers result in small companies getting absorbed by the larger organizations and adjusting to the cultural difference. There’s always a lot in store for the big enterprise here, they get the talent and skills of the in-house teams. They also welcome the innovative culture of agencies. These acquisitions bring a lot of stability to the business of the smaller firms, but a lot of risk to the redundant employees. Look for signals from the seniors and management, they might be able to guide better.

Recently a friend’s company got acquired, (a small startup). Everyone got the pink slips. They struggled in the beginning, but eventually, everyone got a job and are doing much better now. Hope my answer helps.


#7

I’ve had that happen to me 5 times so far. From startups to Fortune 5…Every company that is not vulnerable to being taken over or acquired – in one form or another. So what follows is a combination of advice and expectations.

Immediately copy everything you’ve done.- both digital and paper - and take it home. Actually, you should make a practice of this. You can be the most valuable employee in the world and find yourself being walked to the door for no particular reason. Make sure your resume is up to date (my father used to say that the first thing you do on a new job is update your resume). Call your network and let people know your current, uncertain, status.
This is your disaster planning. Keep in mind that you should do it immediately so you don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen; you’re prepared.

Remember – and there is actual research to back this up – from the day they announce that there will be no layoffs, there is a maximum of 6 months before the first round of layoffs. Assume from day 1 that you will be layed of, but be prepared; don’t worry, and go on.

Relax. If you want to, you can do early job hunting. It’s always a good idea to get yourself on the market before the first round of layoffs. Everything is going to be just fine.