In 2006, there were 654 completed mergers and acquisitions worldwide with a target company market value above $1 bn, compared with 282 in 2003. To put this in context, there were in total around 2000 listed companies of this size at the beginning of 2006. The M&A boom is across all countries and all industry sectors. Much of the time, the new, larger company that is formed needs a new name. But all too often the crucial decision on the name itself, and the brand identity that is supposed to attach to it, is a consequence of the merger decision, not a part of it, putting brand equity at risk.
Having grown over a period of years through a series of large and small mergers and acquisitions, financial services firm UBS had more than its fair share of experience in this realm. In 2003, in fact, UBS simplified its brand portfolio by introducing a streamlined brand structure in which the UBS name serves as the one-and-only master-brand globally, for all core businesses. However, our own experiences and those of other companies show that even such a clear-cut brand strategy needs continuous reinforcement – especially in the course of acquiring other companies and businesses.