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Five Frogs on a Log: A CEO's Field Guide to Accelerating the Transition in Mergers, Acquisitions And Gut Wrenching Change Hardcover – December 30, 1998


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Five Frogs on a Log: A CEO's Field Guide to Accelerating the Transition in Mergers,  Acquisitions And Gut Wrenching Change + Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 193 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 edition (December 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088730981X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887309816
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Five Frogs on a Log is a practical and easy-to-absorb manual for corporate leaders facing those intense periods of total transformation that seem--for better or for worse--to define today's business world. Written by Mark L. Feldman and Michael F. Spratt, both partners and managing directors of PricewaterhouseCoooper's global M&A consulting division, the book aims to help managers through the "jolts, curves, and emotional potholes" that inevitably accompany such large-scale restructuring. "The high-priced bankers and lawyers exit with the close," they write, "leaving management to confront the challenge of producing results that justify the price, the added risk, and/or the significant disruption to current operations. To complicate matters, they face what amounts to a new company and a set of unexpected demands that can easily divert them from capturing the value that drove the deal." With help from insightful illustrations and quotations from those who have been there, Feldman and Spratt build upon their basic theory--that speed is of the essence in corporate upheavals of this type--by offering pragmatic solutions for the myriad problems that invariably arise. --Howard Rothman

From Booklist

Last summer the merger of Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse created the world's largest professional services firm. Feldman and Spratt are both directors and partners in this new firm's mergers and acquisitions consulting business. Their insights, therefore, come not only from their professional expertise but also from firsthand experience. The authors argue that most mergers and acquisitions fail because those responsible are not decisive enough and do not act fast enough to integrate what had previously been separate and distinct entities. Just as important, they do not focus on activities that create shareholder value. In their practice, Feldman and Spratt utilize a trademarked technique called "The Accelerated Transition." Here they rely on colorful characters, such as the five frogs, and folksy stories to lay out the principles behind the technique. Underneath the homespun veneer, though, lie tactics that may seem ruthless and wisdom that is anything but conventional. David Rouse

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Customer Reviews

This is the best and enjoyable book I have ever read on the subject.
Donald H. Sabathier
What I found in this book is actually an entertaining and deeply insightful guide to merger and acquisition integration strategy.
Bryan Schueler (shoo@black-hole.com)
This is an easy read and is a very valuable resource including the dos and don'ts.
Douglas Gabel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Congratulations on writing the very best Merger/Acquisition book on the market! My entire management team is truly impressed.
Because of recent (and at this time, confidential) activities planned for our Company, and with little experience in the acquisition/merger process, I have been searching for (and read) many books on the same topic. I found your book at the suggestion of Barns and Noble's web site (top of their best seller list).
Your book is a no-nonsense practical approach that to-date has been an invaluable reference for our management team. Of the 9 books I've either read each page (as well as a dozen others I've just skimmed that are not worth reading), yours is by far the very best. In particular, the section on "culture" (what it REALLY is and what actions are necessary), on transition teams, on executive comp. for the transition (yes, I am a Frederick Herzberg and Alfie Kohn fan, but with this type of major change, the carrot-and -stick lives!), the danger of 260 priorities (we're probably at 262 but now understand how to back-off), and perhaps most "world class" is the communications chapter (we just spent about $10m on a communications consultant who should read your book!)
I would be remiss not to point our one small error: Page 62, first full paragraph, I believe you meant to reference the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), not the "Warren Act." This is a common error we Human Resources people see due to dictating machines and listening to tapes.
Please let me know if you have had any follow-up publications, especially if you have more detailed advice on organizational design. Thanks for making our jobs easier and making us "look good" by simply taking your advice.
Jim Gray, Vice President - Human Resources, Asten, Inc.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Charles Harris on February 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The two keys to successful M&A are 1)knowing the right things to do and 2)doing them. Five Frogs clearly provides a list of the former. In a lighthearted way, it shares many anecdotes and tales that have nothing to do with business but are analagous to M&A to help establish a proper mindset, which is critical if one is to succeed in integration. But it falls short (and I think intentionally)because its goal is to make you want to hire the author to fill in the blanks. So in essence, it's an entertaining 200 page brochure.Unfortunately, if you're actually looking for the meat and potatoes, it's not in this book but between the covers of "Winning at Mergers & Acquisitions" by Clemente and Greenspan and "Joining Forces" by Marks and Mirvis. Those books, especially the first which has twice the information, can effectively act as your M&A bible providing strategy, due diligence, cultural and integration guidance. That is my preferred fieldguide to accelerating the transition.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Mike Spratt, co-author of this book, was a consultant at my former company until it was acquired in 1998. During the seven months between the acquisition announcement and the deal's consummation, Mike provided me, as a middle level manager, with all of the advice that this book contains(it had not been published at the time). Believe me, he was absolutely correct about nearly every facet of the situation, especially about how the value of the deal degrades every day between the deal's announcement and the acquistion's closure. Well-tuned organizations, which are being acquired, become unraveled during this period, as every employee wonders what will happen to him/her after the acquisition. One must, as a manager, come to terms with one's own emotions during this time. Equally important, everyone else will be on edge, or 'in the grip of the inferior function,' as Myer-Briggs practitioners might say. To be rational in this tempest of emotion, to be results-oriented in this quagmire of confusion, and to be calm in this sea of confusion are critical traits to possess. Only a few individuals will exhibit them consistently.
The message in this book is very valid. For acquiring companies which are business process-oriented, versus results-oriented, any or all of the Seven Deadly Sins can be and will be committed as a matter of habit.
Although I have not been in contact with Mike since the acquisition in February, 1998, it is clear to me that he and his co-author have done sound work in this area. For those of you, like me, who are data-driven and results-oriented, this book may appear to be light reading. However, human nature and behavior is not an exact science, no matter what the situation might be. This book provides real insights into how those behaviors affect acquisitions. Such information is vital, whether you are a part of the acquiring team or part of the company being acquired.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Schueler (shoo@black-hole.com) on October 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I had expected to get a dry, formulaic tome on standard business practices from a couple of long-time PWC executives. What I found in this book is actually an entertaining and deeply insightful guide to merger and acquisition integration strategy. I also found it to have actionable recommendations, and would urge anyone working on a merger or acquisition to READ THIS FIRST!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've purchased over 50 copies of this book. Before our first acquisition attempt, I bought this book for the entire executive team. We used it as a field manual. It was great. It gave us solid guidance and confidence while we were sorting out union accommodations and shareholder approvals. But, when union demands became difficult we remembered the authors saying that deal momentum often results in closing bad deals. This is because CEOs generally don't want to walk away from the high investment of time and resources they have already put into deal completion. The authors compellingly asserted that with the odds generally against acquisition success, if you can't do a deal on your terms, don't do it. After much debate we decided the authors had a point. We walked away from the deal. Looking back, this advice alone saved our company.
Our second acquisition was completed. But the two management teams began to argue immediately. We set up transition teams and made certain everyone had a copy of "Five Frogs". This book became our bible for accelerating the integration of the companies. The guidelines on post-deal priorities, reorganization and communication helped break through every impasse. We followed their advice to the letter and we've been growing profitably ever since. We are still following the book's advice and I'm still giving copies of the book to new colleagues and other CEOs. If you're going to merge two companies, do what we did. Buy this book for every member of the management team and insist that they read it. You'll be glad you did.
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