Contrary to their considerable growth in terms of number and value, the operations of mergers and acquisitions reveals, for more than one operation out of two, a failure from the economic and organizational point of view (McKinsey 2000; Mercer Consulting 2001, 2003). The insufficiency of the reasons presented to explain the failures of mergers and acquisitions were largely recognized. The strategic complementarity, although necessary, is not sufficient to carry out expected synergies of such an operation. The human, cultural and informational aspects from now on are used more and more to explain the results (Schweiger & Walsh 1990). It is established today that a great part of the failures is explained by integration difficulties of the methods, management processes and information systems. Thus, the integration stage, once acquisition or merger has been officialised, is the genuine key of success of the operation (Haspelagh and Jemison 1991).
[...] These changes related to four projects combining both organizational and technical aspects: The creation of an independent IT department: the main objectives of this department were to better control the costs of IT changes and to ensure a more coherent evolution with IS. Carrefour equipped all its subsidiary companies with independent structures of services. The CSIF (Carrefour Systeme d'Information de France) was created in order to associate the cultures and policies of the new entity. Finally, EDS (an external IT specialized company) was in charge of the communication between all the stores in the world. [...]
[...] During the 80's, Carrefour is still growing internationally with the opening of new stores in Argentina and Taiwan. In the early nineties, Carrefour takes over the French hypermarket chains “Euromarché” and “Montlaur”. The first “Contient” hypermarket is opened in Greece. Carrefour continues its impressive international strategy in Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Korea, Singapore and Poland. Promodes acquires the convenience store chain “Felix Potin”. In 1999, Carrefour and Promodes announced their merger to become the world's second largest retailer and the first in Europe. [...]
[...] In 1999, Carrefour meets difficulties in convincing its shareholding, negotiations with suppliers are not at their best, and the French group is under the pressure of Ahold and Wal-Mart which are rapidly expanding on the European market by buying parts of many retailers. Moreover, Carrefour cannot extend its position only with hypermarkets (because of laws and/or saturation). On the other side, Promodes, which failed in taking over the Casino group in 1997, has to consider an alliance because of the aggressive growth and pressure of foreign retailers. [...]
[...] The new Carrefour The merger of the Carrefour and Continent hypermarkets in France took 5 months through a main company project. About 30,000 employees were in charge of this project; they compared all references in order to determine the best process to adopt for the common system. The merger of the Stock and Champion supermarkets was completed in the last quarter of the year 2000. The result is a mix of both Stock stores and Champion franchises under the unique name of Champion. [...]
[...] First of all, a little introduction of the group history is necessary to better understand the strategic and organizational changes over the years. Then we will describe the organizational changes that have been performed with this merger. In a last part, we are going to discuss about information systems integration within the new group. Presentation of Carrefour In 1959, the company was created by the Fournier and Defforey families. The name comes from the French word “Carrefour” which means crossroads, which refers to its location. [...]
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